My husband and I, in our 50s, are going on a cruise abroad and will stay in hotels for two weeks, and we are looking forward to it, but we fear that with all the food – five meals a day – we will gain a lot of weight. How can we avoid this? T.J., New York City, USA.
Dr. Olga Raz, head of clinical nutrition in the nutrition sciences department of Ariel University in Samaria, Israel, replies:
Most people who go on vacations abroad or in their home countries are certain even before they leave that they will weigh quite a lot more when they return home. Once this is the belief, it’s like a self-fulfilling prophesy. But it doesn’t have to happen.
One can lose weight during a vacation. You don’t have your home refrigerator, full of goodies, available. If you choose to go on a gourmet trip, then you can taste and not overeat. But if the goal is regular tourism – beautiful places, lots of walking, museums, shopping, then the food can become less enticing. There is no doubt that travel entails a number of situations that can break dieters, and the trick is to know how to overcome or overcome them.
This is what I suggest:
Have a taste of everything that looks interesting and that you don’t eat at home. Don’t exaggerate. Balance high-calorie and low-calorie foods. Check the menu carefully and select the least “evil” food. And if you do indulge during your vacation, you can at least walk a few more kilometers.
Think how frustrated you will be when you gain weight and how much you will have to pay the dietician when you return.
Plan your vacation or trip so that the food will not be in the center of things
You don’t have to eat all the food served, even if you are used to doing this at home. The self-satisfaction and pride you will feel because you have managed to control your eating outweigh any other consideration. When you leave excessive food on the plate, it’s a good exercise for setting boundaries.
Try to eat a lot of filling salads but make sure they do not have a lot of fattening oil, croutons or other high-calorie components.
If you are not getting three meals at the hotel, when you arrive there, ask where the nearest supermarket is located. Buy thin slices of whole-wheat bread and what you can spread on it – smoked salmon, non-fat pastrami or even thin slices of yellow cheese. Make a sandwich or two, but if you do not want to make sandwiches, take crackers or rice cakes in case you need to have something to eat. Then it will be easier not to be tempted by ice creams and snacks at every corner.
Finally, if you’ve eaten too much, don’t feel guilty when you come home and weigh yourself. Tomorrow is a new day: Return to your regular and healthful pattern. You will probably lose weight.
We have two teenage sons, aged 18 and 16, who took summer jobs and spent their earnings on buying an electric bike and motorized scooter. We can’t tell them not to use them, as they belong to them. But we worry about their safety on the sidewalks and the streets. What can be done to protect them? And what do I tell them if they suffer injury away from home? Z.T. and A.T., Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Prof. Yehezkel Weissman, director of emergency medicine at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Israel, answers:
At the end of the summer vacation, there is a sharp increase in injuries among children and teenagers caused by riding electric bikes, motorized scooters, skateboards and rollerblades.
It is vital that you make sure your sons wear a proper helmet and knee and elbow protectors every time they go out for a ride. Helmets are the most effective means of preventing head injuries. The helmet should be the right size and fitted to the wearer’s head.
You must insist that they use their new “toys” only in designated places and not on busy roads. In addition, it is recommended to avoid riding at night.
If the rider is injured and suffers from cuts, he must be treated to stop the bleeding and prevent infection and scarring. If the incision is superficial; if it does not bleed; does not involve the face or genitals, and there is no fear of a foreign body in the area, it is possible to avoid stitches.
Press the cut with a bandage to stop bleeding, wash well with soap and water, apply an antiseptic lotion like iodine and cover with a gauze pad. When he returns home, you should check the cut daily for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling or discharge, if necessary, seek medical attention.
Immediately seek medical help if the incision is large, deep and continues to bleed after applying pressure for 10 minutes or it involves the area of the face or genitals. Even cuts caused by contaminated items require a doctor. Consult your doctor about tetanus vaccination. Also, do not remove a foreign body from a wound – sometimes the foreign body itself prevents much bleeding, in this case should be referred to the nearest hospital emergency room.
My six-year-old daughter (I have only one) is starting school very soon. I am very excited but a bit nervous that everything will go well. She will not get school meals, so I wonder what food I should prepare for her to take to school. B.Y., Binyamina, Israel
Dafna Ziv Busani, a dietitian in the nutrition and diet unit who also works at Schneider Children’s Medical Center, recommends:
First of all, breakfast is an important and essential meal for schoolchildren. It improves concentration and enables greater alertness during the school day. For breakfast you can give her a sandwich or a bowl of cereal without sugar and milk. If in a rush, she can take a bag with cut fruit and yogurt to eat on her way. But it is recommended that children get accustomed to breakfast prepared at home instead of buying food outside, as what she buys will probably not be healthful.
It’s a good idea to prepare with the child a “sandwich schedule” for all days of the week, so it won’t get boring and she will know what to expect. Prepare a tuna, egg salad, yellow or white cheese, cottage cheese, peanut butter or other filling most of the days. One day a week you can use jam, chocolate spread or something else that is sweet, but not more than once weekly. With the sandwich, always pack vegetables and fruit. They can be cut and put in a separate box so as not to make the sandwich wet.
Emphasis the importance of your daughter drinking water during the school day, as it is filling, good for the teeth and contributes to the children’s alertness. Teach her to avoid sweet soft drinks, especially cola, as these are the biggest cause of obesity and tooth decay.
If you want an Israeli expert to answer your medical questions, write to Breaking Israel News health and science senior reporter Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at email@example.com with your initials, age, gender and place of residence.