It’s that time of the year again when we’re all starting to get ready for the summer holidays. Healthy eating is not typically one of the first things we think about when going on holiday. Instead, we tend to remember it when we get back home and we realise our clothes don’t quite fit the way they once did!
Going on holiday is usually associated with eating whatever we want without thinking about it and worry about dieting when we get back home. On holiday we are away from our regular daily routine, and tend to eat and drink more than we do back at home. Getting away is important for our mental wellbeing, but most holidays take us away from some of our healthy habits.
To avoid packing on the pounds there are several things you can do throughout your trip to make healthier choices and still have a great holiday.
On the Flight
A lot of flights nowadays don’t provide any complimentary drinks, snacks, or meals. Instead, you can buy something either before boarding the flight or onboard. Rather than buying something onboard, take time to either bring snacks and food from home or see what is available at the airport. Planning ahead will allow you to have healthier snacks for your trip, instead of resorting to biscuits and crisps at the last minute. Most airport restaurants will often have nice salads or wraps that you can bring onboard with you. Fruits, mixed nuts, cereal bars and pretzels are also great travel snacks.
Travelling and being out in the sun more than your body is used to can dehydrate you. Make sure you bring water everywhere you go to stay hydrated. Typically you need around 1.5-2 litres of water per day, but if you find yourself in the sun and sweating more than usual, make sure you’re drinking more than that. Don’t wait until you’re feeling thirsty to have some water, at that point you are already slightly dehydrated. Keep in mind that when you’re drinking alcohol, especially in the sun, don’t forget to have some water along with your drink.
Eat When You Are Hungry
One of the main reasons we tend to gain weight during our holidays is that when we are away from home we don’t pay attention to what or how much we are eating. We stop listening to those hunger cues and get in the “I’m on holiday” mode and eat and drink anything in sight. There is usually food and drink all around us when on holiday, and this is when we end up eating even when we are not hungry. Starting the day, just like any other day, with a healthy breakfast is key.
For breakfast, whether it is offered where you are staying or you are making it yourself, choosing healthier foods like whole grain cereals and breads, fresh fruits, eggs, low fat dairy products like cheese and yoghurt, and fresh fruit juices are good options. Try to avoid the pastries, sausages, bacon and other high fat foods that might be available. Starting the day off with a good breakfast will give you a good amount of energy for the day, and ensure that at least one of your meals is healthy.
Aim to have 5-6 small meals a day. Your daily meal plan should include your three main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and include healthy snacks in between each meal and one after dinner if needed. Keep healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, low fat yoghurts, pretzels, cereal bars, low fat cheese and cream crackers in your room that they are readily available when needed.
Try to eat every 3 to 4 hours. If you find yourself eating more often than that, you are most likely eating more than you need to be. Don’t skip meals as you’ll probably end up overeating at the next meal or snacking on unhealthy snacks between meals. Try and go for lighter foods like salads and sandwiches with some fruit for lunch, and get out of the habit of ordering chips with everything. You can always have this back home.
A Few Points to Consider
• Travelling doesn’t have to mean unhealthy eating. The key is to fill up on healthy foods when you can and make smart dining choices throughout your trip (see Making Healthy Choices When Eating Out).
• Limit yourself to one “treat” per day, and choose healthier options at all other times. This way you don’t need to pass up on those yummy treats that you can’t get back home, but you are still watching what you eat.
• Watch out for those liquid calories! Alcohol can be one of the biggest contributors of calories while on holiday.
• Do some research before travelling on what types of restaurants are available in the area so you can make some healthier choices of where to eat once you are there.
• Stay active! If you are going on a beach holiday, try out some water sports or go for walks along the beach. Wherever you’re going, make it a point to walk more, go hiking, or rent bikes if available.
But most of all, make it fun!