We all love a holiday but very often we come home feeling bloated and out of shape. The irony is that we often need a holiday after a holiday to detox and rejuvenate without the temptations of the food we don’t normally eat and the drinks we don’t normally drink. However, there is a way of finding a balance – enjoying your holiday and feeling like you’ve relaxed and let your hair down without totally obliterating your diet. Here are some tips:
- Make breakfast a non-negotiable healthy choice so you’re starting the day on the right foot. Eggs often make a protein packed and filling start to the day (ideally poached, boiled, scrambled or even a vegetable packed omelette) and if you’re having your eggs with toast then opt for wholemeal or wholegrain varieties rather than white bread or pastries.
- A note on fresh juices though as they tend to be a bit of a holiday habit, keep it to one small glass and skip the refills. Juice is healthy in small quantities but it’s also high in sugar.
- You may also want to try Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. The Greek yogurt gives you a protein boost to help you feel fuller for longer. If there are any nuts or seeds on offer you can always try topping it with these too for extra protein and an added crunch. Watch out for honey and dried fruit though, there should be enough sweetness from the fresh fruit that you shouldn’t need any extra sweetener added on top.
- Many hotels offer a buffet breakfast, but you can also pre-order your breakfast the night before. This will help you avoid making any poor decisions when faced with a buffet as well as stopping you from overindulging.
- If you’re having a sharing-style meal with friends or family then make sure you order a few dishes you know you can have guilt-free. If you leave it totally to others then you have no control over what has been ordered and most often, it’s not stuff you’d consider healthy. Given you’re on holiday, having a little of what you like is also important so sharing plates mean you get to tuck into a little bit of everything. Prioritise the healthy stuff over the not-so-healthy stuff though!
- When you’re on holiday you have no excuse to eat in a hurry, you don’t have any meetings to get to! The best meals are those which are enjoyed and savored with family and friends so take your time at mealtimes. Be mindful about chewing your food and taking a pause between bites.
- Avoid the bread basket – if you’re out for a meal then why not load up on your actual meal rather than the bread before the meal? Although delicious, restaurant breads are just empty calories, plus, who can resist spreading on lashings of butter or smothering it in plenty of olive oil?
- Focus filling up on a decent protein (animal or plant) and vegetables. The other add-ons (the naughtier stuff), like chips, should be a side rather than the main focus of the meal ensuring you load up on the healthy stuff first.
- Try to avoid heading out for meals feeling ravenously hungry, you’ll only order the wrong things or eat more than what you actually need. Have a small snack before you go out to stave off hunger e.g. a handful of nuts, a little bit of cheese or a piece of fruit.
- Don’t drink all your calories – Sundowners and rosé-fuelled lunches… sound familiar? Well, booze has got to be one of the biggest diet de-railers out there. So, what can you do to keep the waistline in check? Try a gin or vodka with soda and lots of fresh lime as it tends to be a low calorie favourite, or, dilute white wine or rose down with sparkling water to make a spritzer. It’s best to avoid sugary fruit juice cocktails (yes mocktails too) as they’ll inevitably include lots of sugar.
- Avoid having alcohol on an empty stomach – alcohol increases your appetite as it effects your blood sugar levels and it also makes you less inhibited so you’re less likely to have the willpower and control over what you eat.
- Remember to stay hydrated. We often forget about drinking enough water on holiday, but with the extra alcohol intake it’s even more important to ensure you’re staying well hydrated. Sometimes we even think we’re hungry when we’re just thirsty so see if a glass of water quenches your thirst as well as your appetite before launching into a meal or snack.
- Even though you’re on holiday you don’t need to give up on all your good habits. Getting up and going for a walk first thing in the morning before breakfast sets you up for the day and if your hotel has a gym then try to do just a 20 minute workout. You’ll feel so much better for it!
- Your holiday starts at the airport. Instead of relying on the on-board snacks and meals, try finding a healthy option at the airport to keep you sustained through your flight. This is especially useful for any short-haul flights given the snack options on board a flight all tend to be loaded with salt or sugar.
- If you’re going to an unknown destination and have no idea what they’ll have on the menu, be sure to pack some snacks for yourself so you know you have a back-up. They’re also great to pack in your beach bag should you get into a sticky spot or for walks and hikes.