How to be Fit and Healthy on Holiday (part 2)
So let’s talk about the eating part of being fit and healthy on holiday. (Read part 1 – working out on holiday here)
It is so, so important to enjoy yourself on vacation and feel like you can eat what you want when you want. Your health and fitness goals should not mean you miss out on a single experience or miss making a single memory with the ones that you love. There is nothing worse than not feeling present and engaged with your family or friends when every one else is digging a spoon into the chocolate lava cake and you’re still pushing your salad round your plate. That being said, there is a big difference (but a very fine line) between indulging for the enjoyment and the experience and just eating for the sake of ‘being on holiday’.
Here are my top tips for balancing ‘healthy eating’ and ‘treating’ when you travel.
If it’s hot or not – hydrate
Drink water, water, water. If it’s hot, you are more dehydrated just from the heat so drink up, it may have you running back and forth to the bathroom but if you are ‘treating’ yo’self more frequently whether with food or alcohol, water will be your best friend for flushing out your system and beating the bloat.
Say no to Soda
On a similar note, one of the biggest things I have had to re-condition myself into doing, is ordering water at a bar or restaurant. At home I don’t drink anything other than water (or prosecco haha!). Yet when I’m eating out on holiday (especially lunchtimes) if I’m not ordering a cocktail or alcoholic drink, I always feel like I have to order a diet coke or some form of soda. I have no idea why I do this; I never drink fizzy or sugary drinks at home. I don’t even really like them now. (i think, once you stop drinking coke for any length of time, it just tastes like chemicals when you try it again.) But as soon as the waiter says “What can I get you to drink” the words just fall out of my mouth, “I’ll have a diet coke please”….. urggghh, stop. Don’t do it. You are a goddess, who up until now, drank only from the H2O fountain of youth, so don’t let holiday get you hopped up on Coke for no good reason . This year I drank water or I drank alcohol and absolutely nothing in between. It might be worth me pointing out, that if I was drinking cocktails, I probably drank 2 glasses of water at least, to every glass of alcohol. This is because I retain water for up to 10 days after I drink alcohol and nobody but nobody wants water weight, when their main item of clothing that week, is a bikini.
Eat well, so you can eat what’s worthy.
The very best principle I take away with me on holiday, is mindfulness and balance. I take every opportunity I have to eat well (healthily), so that I can take EVERY opportunity I have to eat something AMAZING. This means that if we are just out for lunch at a beach bar, or diner, I would rather choose the healthy option like a salad, a flatbread or a turkey and tomato sub. That way, on the occasions where we go somewhere that has something ‘special’ like the best steak, or a renowned chocolate dessert that I’m never likely to experience again. I can order it and not worry for a second, about my body, my goals, the sugar or the fat. Sure I could have had burger and fries at the beach bar and it would have been great, but I wasn’t missing out on anything. I can get a generic burger and fries anywhere, on any day, home or away.
There were also plenty of occasions during evening meals, where the lean or healthier options were so appealing and unusual that it never felt like a chore or a second rate meal to order them instead of the heavier, creamier, more sugary, entrees. At places like the Cheesecake Factory I had a huge choice of meals from their ‘skinnylicious menu’ and never once felt the need to even peek at the main menu.
Breakfast every day
At home breakfast is my favourite meal and always clean and filling. On previous holidays breakfast would have been a full English. Or if breakfast was not included in our hotel package, most mornings would be on the go foods like muffins or pastries or horror of all horrors – skipping breakfast altogether.
Now when I stay in a hotel for any length of time, I go to the local supermarket on the first day and buy a good quality granola and carton of almond milk (which I keep in the mini bar fridge). Then I can have a quick, healthful, easy breakfast, every single day. I keep my metabolism happy and high, and my hunger pangs at bay, allowing me to make good balanced food choices at my next meal.
This year I didn’t have a bowl for my granola, so I literally made it in a coffee cup every morning and ate it with the baby’s plastic spoon. Whatever works, right! If we did then go out for breakfast later, I’d have it as a second breakfast/brunch (so would order something different, like eggs) and I found, having something nutritious already in my belly stopped me going crazy on the big portions.
Permission to eat pudding.
As you all know by now. I love cake. It’s my favourite thing and I just can’t resist it, whether it is store bought, home made or as a dessert at a restaurant. ‘I’m not someone who (in the name of clean eating) can go out for dinner every single night of the week and only order pudding once. So, instead of just letting myself overindulge 5 nights out of seven just because I’m on holiday’. I make a pact with James, that we will always only order one pudding each night we are out and everyone around the table gets to have a bite. That way, I get to taste everything I want to and never feel like there is a night that I’m ‘not allowed’ to order cake.
(On another sharing note: If I’m eating somewhere where I know the portions are BIG. I prefer not to order Maddie a childrens meal. I will order something I know she will enjoy too and we will share. This works so well for me because as someone who was brought up being told never to leave food on the plate, I’m terrible for continuing to eat even when I’ve had enough just because its there. If I portion off some for Maddie. I can clean my plate without overeating. )
So that’s how I balance healthy eating with ‘treating’ when I’m on holiday.
I don’t restrict anything at all – but I choose well so that I can treat my body well. I hope you take something useful away from this article, even if it just sows the seed that you really can enjoy the best of both worlds on holiday without worry. You CAN indulge your goals AND your taste buds and come home just as fit and healthy as you left.
Read part 1 and my guide to working out on holiday here.