I traveled to the Crescent City last week, a place known for its bountiful liquor licenses and heavy Creole cuisine. My time in New Orleans definitely got me thinking about the small things we can do on vacation to help defend our waistlines from, in my case, the beignets (pronounced ben-yays), crawfish etoufees and slow gin fizzes that I’m just not willing to pass up.

Walk It Off

The French Quarter – New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood – is 13 blocks long and six blocks deep, with Bourbon Street stretching on for nearly a mile. With live entertainment and great shopping, opting to walk in lieu of a taxi is really a no-brainer. Daily runs outside also gave me the opportunity to see the city outside of the Quarter while burning off the extra calories.

Portion Control

As a tourist in NOLA, your day probably starts with some café au lait and beignets (donuts, essentially), followed by any number of saucy, cream-based Cajun dishes for lunch and dinner, plus one (or several!) of New Orleans’ signature cocktails. Even for the biggest appetites, it’s a heavy menu to consume for seven days straight. As with most things, moderation is key. Do NOT do what your mother told you – instead, leave leftovers or order smaller plates.

Stay Hydrated (with H2O, not Brandy Milk Punch)

Everyone knows that drinking plenty of water is an important part of any weight loss plan, as it helps take the place of liquid calories and limit food portions. I made an effort to drink more water before each meal and in between cocktails, which kept me from overeating.

Joie de Vivre

In short, it is possible to enjoy your vacation without packing on pounds – it just takes a few small sacrifices to do so. As New Orleanians say, “laissez les bons temps rouler” – let the good times roll!