Weighing In: Healthy Eating and Spring Break

Each week, our own fitness fanatics Leah Polakoff and Caitlyn Kronket will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.

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Sayonara, State College! Spring break is finally here. If you’re lucky, this means an awesome vacation to an exotic destination with your best buds.

But with the beach also comes tons of unfamiliar (and most likely fattening) foods. You don’t want to damage your health with a whole week of bad eating, do you? This week’s Weighing In is a spring break special, and we’ve got you covered on the healthiest foods to choose from, no matter where your destination might be. Besides, nobody likes bikini-belly-bloat anyway.

While on vacation, you don’t want to deprive yourself of tasty foods. Just simply make them healthier! We’ve picked three of the top spring break destinations. Here’s what to chow down on if you’re traveling to…


Between overstuffed burritos and deep fried tacos, Mexican food can be pretty detrimental to your diet. When eating out, stay away from foods smothered in sour cream, cheese or meats that are high in fat, like beef. According to Livestrong.com, even refried beans are sometimes cooked in fats such as lard. So those nachos you were eyeing up? Probably not the best idea.

Instead of ordering the nachos that are covered in cheese, ground beef, sour cream and jalapenos, try plain tortilla chips with fresh salsa. Salsa is a great way to add some spice to a dish, but without all the fat. It’s usually made with tons of vegetables and fresh ingredients and barely has any calories.

And as with any meal, portion control is vital. So when making an overstuffed burrito, you’re bound to be left feeling, well, overstuffed. Instead of crushing an entire Chipotle sized burrito, make your own! Use a small, whole wheat tortilla and fill it with salsa and brown rice. Load up the inside with tons of fresh veggies, low-fat cheese and grilled chicken.

As for dessert, you may be eyeing up that spicy chocolate cake, but a margarita fruit cocktail will hit the sweet spot. Grab your girls and soak fruit in some tequila for a healthy, spring break themed treat.

Punta Cana

Food in the Dominican Republic is known to include lots of fruit– coconuts, bananas, pineapples and mangos. But, how healthy is fruit if it’s deep fried and rolled in sugar? When eating a dish that has fruit in it, be sure to ask how it’s prepared. Lots of food in Punta Cana sounds healthy, but the labels are deceiving. Double check with your server before you order to find out exactly what’s on your plate.

A popular Dominican meal, La Bandera Dominicana, is a bean stew that is made up of noodles or rice, beans and a type of meat. When ordering this dish, ask for a smaller portion of rice and for your beans and meat to be roasted or stewed, not fried. Frying is the number one way to cook food in Punta Cana, but keep in mind that frying equals fat.

When you’re lying on the beach, chances are you’re going to want a fruity drink in your hand. Instead of a daiquiri, try a Punta Cana favorite, the Mama Juana. A delicacy in the Dominican, this drink is for brave souls only. The Mama Juana has a combination of herbs, roots, rum and sometimes seafood. It may not sound that appetizing, but the drink is known to cure different diseases and help arthritis pain. Drink up and let your aches be gone!


Now I’m sure you know exactly what kinds of food you’ll be seeing in Miami this week- lots of burgers, French fries, pizza and then probably some more French fries. While it might be convenient to grab a quick burger on your way to the beach, try planning your meals beforehand. Make a quick food store run the day you arrive in Miami and stock up on healthy food for the week. Whole wheat bread, low-sodium lunch meat, apples and pretzels are all great options to pack in a cooler for a day at the beach. Besides, all of that junk food is going to be way more expensive.

If you must buy your meals, be smart about what you order. Stay away from fried, creamy dishes and stick to grilled foods loaded with vegetables.  But, remember that you are on vacation. If French fries are your absolute favorite food, order them but share them with a friend.

And while you’re in Miami, be sure to make a trip down to Washington Avenue. From the Fernandez Fruit Market to Pita Pit, this street is a hit for healthy foods. Eating at some of these places will ensure that you rock your bikini with confidence.

Photo by Brittany Trappe


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