Keeping In Shape on Holiday and Managing Your Nutrition
Holidays are enjoyable and a great way to relax. But it can be stressful trying to eat healthy and manage your weight during this time. However, all is not lost, there are some key tips that you can keep in mind to help you maintain a healthy physique while you are away on holiday.
Maintaining Body Composition on Holiday
Maintaining body composition and health on holiday is exactly the same as when we are at home. But there is just usually more stimuli, social occasions, social pressures, company and alcohol around when we are away which make it harder to stick to our usual habits.
When trying to eat healthy on holiday it is important to manage your portions and fill up on the correct foods. When having a meal, try only stick to having one plate. Fill ½ of this plate with vegetables or fruit, ¼ with healthy carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, rice, bread) and the last ¼ with lean protein (meat, fish, beans, pulses). This guide will help you manage your portions and calories whilst you are away.
Furthermore, manging the sweet treats and desserts can be the hardest part whilst being away. Be realistic, you can enjoy a small dessert everyday but don’t eat something just because it is there. Maybe try have half a serving, share a dessert or avoid it if there isn’t anything you really want. Try to make 80% of your food choices healthy and allow that 20% to be more relaxed, so that you can enjoy these sweet treats.
Hydration is also important whilst on holiday. Drink as much water as you can (especially if you are in the heat) as to avoid dehydration and it will help your body function and digest foods.
It is crucial to know your limits. In terms of both food and alcohol it is important to understand your limits and know the difference between enjoyment and overdoing it. Once you realise you are eating for the sake of it or drinking more than you need, see if you can stop yourself and have a glass of water.
Keep moving and exercising. If you can find a local gym, try use that a couple of times while you are away, do yoga in your room, take a walk by the beach, cycle through the city, take a swim or find a local dance class! Any movement will increase your energy expenditure and help you maintain your body composition. It is also important to know that it is normal to do less exercise whilst you are away, you do not need to be spending 2 hours at the gym every morning, but any movement no matter how long will increase your energy expenditure. The most important thing of all is to still have fun and allow yourself time to relax!
What to do if you Binge on Holiday
We have all fallen victim to the holiday indulgences and eaten or drank more than we probably should have. We are all human and it is normal to enjoy things that aren’t typically in our diet, so if this does happen, it is important to not feel guilty. Instead of dwelling on what has happened it is best to get committed to getting back on track, here are some things you can try;
- Drink lots of water. It is recommended to drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. Try aim for around 10 glasses of water to help make you feel healthy and fresh.
- Herbal teas can also help your digestion and bowel movements after overindulging and help you feel more comfortable.
- Get moving. While it may be tempting to lounge around and dwell on what has happened, it can really help to go and do some light exercise such as a walk or yoga session.
- Move on. Just because you have had one bad meal, snack or drink does not mean your holiday and body composition is ruined. Move on and focus your energy on making a better decision at the next mealtime.
8 Take home Tips for Good Nutrition on Holiday
- Don’t skip meals. People usually skip meals to help them ‘save calories’, however, this will almost always backfire. When you skip a meal and let yourself get that hungry, your body produces more of the hunger hormone (ghrelin) and less of the full hormone (leptin). Therefore, leading to you overeating. It is always better to keep structure with your meals and snacks and snacks to avoid over consuming.
- Eat the rainbow. Think colour when you are picking a meal or plating up. You should aim to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables as these are lower in calories and full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. This will leave you fuller for longer and satisfied at every meal!
- Be smart with drinks. Try avoid drinking your calories while on holiday. Stick to lower calorie options such as water, sugar free cordial and tea. Or for lower calorie alcohols, choose seltzer, white spirits and use soda/tonic water for mixers!
- Eat until your satisfied. There is no need to overconsume and eat until you are absolutely stuffed, this will lead to you consuming an extra couple hundred of calories every meal. Try only eat until you are comfortable and satisfied (this is about 80% full), there is no need to make yourself feel ill and lethargic after a meal. Eat slow and enjoy your food.
- Don’t feel guilty. If you do end up overindulging on food during your holiday it is important to not feel guilty. The best thing you can do is move on. Just because you had one larger meal or one extra snack does not mean you need to keep over indulging for the rest of the day or the holiday. Every meal and snack is an opportunity to make a healthy decision, so just move on after each one and avoid the all or nothing mind set!
- Enjoy the treats. Holidays are about enjoying yourself and relaxing. You can enjoy the odd cultural speciality and treat every now and again. To be healthy and maintain your weight you can enjoy the odd treat where 20% of your food for the day is a little bit unhealthier. This will not ruin your goals or your holiday, just enjoy the treats in moderation!
- Take 10. When you have finished a meal, try and take 10 seconds before you head up for seconds, this can be useful at the all-inclusive hotels! It can take you a while to realise that you are satisfied and full for your meal. So, there is no need to rush up for seconds, give yourself a bit of time, drink some water, have a chat, and then see if you do actually need another portion.
- Be snack savvy. Don’t let yourself get too hungry in-between meals. As explained above this can lead to overeating at another point. Find snacks that contain fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, protein and unsaturated fats e.g. apple slices and peanut butter, sliced turkey and cheese, whole wheat pita and hummus, yogurt and fruit.
What to do When you get Back from you Holiday to Kickstart your Nutrition
Once the holiday has ended and you are back home, you should slowly start trying to get back into your normal routine. You may feel sluggish and achy from your holiday so you need to drink lots of water and prioritise healthy meals. Slowly ease yourself back into exercise and training and make sure to fuel yourself properly. Prioritise your three meals a day and make sure to get a good balance of macronutrients in each. Here are a list of some healthy breakfast ideas to get you started;
- Banana and granola yogurt pot
- Mixed berry overnight oats
- Peanut butter porridge
- Protein pancakes
- Chia seed puddings
- Eggs and spinach on toast
- Avocado, eggs and chorizo on toast
- Baked eggs and beans
- Fruit and muesli
- Breakfast burrito
- Tomato, turkey and pepper omelette
The summer holidays are a great time for us to relax and enjoy life in the sun. To keep on top of your body composition and health while you are away you should keep an eye on your movement, fruit and vegetable intake, lean protein intake and alcohol intake. If things don’t go to plan, remove the guilt and just move on. Be compassionate and patient with yourself – one meal cannot undo everything, the same way one healthy meal won’t achieve your goals.