How to eat healthy on holiday, stay fit when travelling and even lose weight while away from home? This year I’ve gotten into the summer a bit stressed, overwhelmed, and not in my best shape ever.
Moreover – probably because of my age, but above all because of me being an over-indulging foodie – the 1-3 kilograms of weight that I used to naturally lose during the spring are still at 60% firmly anchored to my waist – and also to my hips!
For this reason, I decided to dedicate this blog post to a topic of great interest to many of us: how to eat healthy and keep fit while travelling or when we are on holiday? And how can we even lose a few pounds, with the help of rest, iodine (if you’re going on a beach vacation) and more outdoor activity?
In any case, staying in shape or regaining our summer body on holiday is not that difficult. There are always healthy and delicious options everywhere we go, and there are several ways to make these options even more attractive!
In fact, we have several allies when it comes to eat healthy on holiday and keep fit:
- a more relaxed lifestyle, which helps to normalize stress hormone levels
- more time for ourselves, so that we can exercise more
- more hours of outdoor life that we can fill with healthier and more dynamic activities
- for those who go to on a beach vacation, iodine in the air
- sometimes, a lighter diet (I regularly loose a few pounds when I travel to destinations like Thailand or Bali, where the cuisine is delicious, by the way!)
But let’s see what the good rules are that we can practice everywhere to eat healthy (and maybe even lose weight!) on holiday and while travelling. So that we can get back in great shape, tanned and toned, from our well-deserved holidays!
1 Reduce temptations to a minimum
Avoid high-calorie meals on the plane, full mini-bars, and all-inclusive hotels with buffets at all hours, if you can. Eating outside the hotel is definitely chic, and not only this: it is an interesting and pleasant way to discover new countries and new cultures! If you really can’t avoid all that, to eat healthy even on holiday, some good options available everywhere are Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, high-fibre cereals and any source of lean protein, which will keep you full for long periods of time.
2 Eat only three bites of your treat
Holidays are made to be enjoyed, which means that you not only can, but you should absolutely indulge! The key is to do it in moderation. There’s nothing wrong with indulging a little every day, just keep an eye on your portions. Privation is no fun on holiday.
Therefore, try the “tree bites rule”: three bites of anything – no matter how nutritious – will certainly not sabotage your usual healthy eating. And you will feel satisfied if you take the time to enjoy every single bite of your delicious treat. Not sure you can stop after three bites? Order a mixed salad as a side dish, it will distract and gratify you!
3 Watch out for snacks
Most meals and snacks on planes or at all-inclusive hotel buffets are junk food, with a long list of artificial ingredients in them. If you can, try to organize your own snacks for healthy eating on holiday. Fruits and especially almonds and other dried fruits, in small quantities, dampen hunger for hours and help you to arrive without a hint of hunger at the next healthy meal.
It doesn’t surprise that small bags of dried fruit are now on sale everywhere: airports, car parks, small supermarkets, convenience stores in service stations. Alternatively, bring your own snacks from home, for example using these!
4 Drink enough water
Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, lack of energy and hunger, which can put a brake on your journey and cause you to eat unhealthy foods.
Therefore, avoid dehydration by keeping a bottle of water with you at all times, especially during flights, car and train journeys, during sightseeing or on the beach. I have been consciously renouncing to plastic bottles for years and use one of these bottles, which is also very nice to keep in your bag!
5 Avoid eating until the last bite if portions are big
On holiday, especially in some countries such as the U.S., most meals consumed in a restaurant will probably have portions even two to three times larger than what you are used to eating at home. Therefore, study the offer well, try some restaurants and then get used to ordering portions to be shared (a habit that is also very well tolerated abroad – much more than here!)
6 Chewing gum!
Personally I don’t love chewing gum at all and I didn’t even eat it as a child, but sometimes it can be really useful! For example on an airplane, where chewing gum can avoid annoying ear pains on takeoff or landing, because it helps your eusatchian tubes.
Perhaps more importantly, it can help to suppress your appetite until you are comfortably seated in front of a healthy and balanced meal!
7 Eat foods with high fiber content
Tourist often tend to use packaged carbohydrates as a source of fast food, whereas what they really need is fibre. For travelers, eating foods high in fiber has a number of benefits, because it helps digestion and prevents the typical constipation that comes from changing environment. It also slows down the absorption of sugars and regulates the sense of hunger.
8 Be more active
Dopo lunghi periodi di relax in spiaggia o in aereo, è assolutamente fondamentale fare un po’ di stretching. Un’altra cosa molto utile da ricordare: in vacanza, le scale sono amiche! Evitate gli ascensori e usate le scale per un po’ di attività cardio dopo un pasto o quando state rientrando nella vostra stanza d’albergo, per esempio.
More generally, take advantage of every possible source of physical activity: visit the various places of interest on foot, swim in the pool and in the sea, climb towards some interesting fortress or castle. Everything can be useful and effective when it comes to prevent weight gain.
9 Discover new places through their cuisine
With the great possibility of eating out in a new location, it would be a shame to eat fast food or choose the first place you can find on your road when you are hungry. Searching for and exploring the best restaurants of the place you are visiting will not only improve your holiday experience, but will also help you keep fit and prolong your feeling of well-being.
With a little research, even online, you can find the healthiest options near the sites you plan to visit and plan your menu choices in advance if you want. Once you have a general plan on where and when you’ll stop for your meals, you’ll be able to indulge yourself with the local cuisine, which will definitely offer you many tasty, but also healthy options!
10 Don’t skip meals
Not skipping meals is key to maintaining a healthy weight, whether you are on vacation or on a trip. This healthy habit requires special attention, however, when you are away from your usual routine. Respecting your usual meal times gives you the energy you need to enjoy every day of your holiday to the fullest. Try not to spend more than four or five hours without eating.
11 Improve your immune defenses with probiotics
Before, during and after your trip, give your body some extra immune support by choosing foods rich in probiotics! Choose yoghurt or other fermented foods. Good probiotic bacteria can help you keep your stomach health under control, which is particularly important when eating unusually rich meals or trying new and exotic foods. It’s also a healthy habit to keep on vacation, especially if you’ve chosen a tropical destination. It may also be useful to bring some supplement with you like these.
A few years ago probiotics literally saved me after eating chicken in Burma that was obviously not well cooked and contracting a horrible bacterium called Campylobacter (fortunately, nothing too devastating, but still very annoying). Once home, the doctor was amazed that I was able to heal so quickly without antibiotics.
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