One thing is for sure – Kiwis like to travel. If you have planned a trip in the coming months, in New Zealand or overseas, then here are some simple ways to ensure that you don’t come back with any excess baggage.
- Whether travelling by plane, ferry or car, pack your own food
Make gluten-free sandwiches, wraps, rice crackers with cheese or hummus, tubs of salad, and veggie sticks; include fruit, nuts, and seeds. Make your own low sugar cereal bars, oat bars or protein bars. You’ll resist the temptation to buy high-fat fast food – and also save a fortune. You will find recipe ideas for snacks at the bottom of this post.
- Stock up on healthy snacks at your destination
Find a local supermarket and pick up a few healthy snacks to keep in the hotel room or apartment.
Avoid packets of chips but instead have unsalted nuts and seeds, apples, fruit, high-fibre crackers, rice crackers, hummus and peanut on hand when you get hungry between meals.
- Plan your days to avoid overeating
If you’re planning a long, leisurely lunch then aim to have a smaller dinner. Or if you’re having the all-you-can-eat buffet in the evening, eat a light lunch. Don’t skip meals, though – you’ll only end up eating more when you do eat.
- Be more choosy at breakfast
Just because you’re on holiday it’s not mandatory to eat sausages and hash browns within half an hour of rolling out of bed. Opt for some protein, like boiled, poached or scrambled eggs or an omelet to fill you up. That will stop any mid-morning cravings.
- Try local exotic fruits
If you are going overseas, go for the things you might not find at home. They’ll feel like a treat because they’re different, while still being super healthy at the same time.
- Pack your own picnic
For days out, stock up on juicy fruit, beefy tomatoes, fresh bread, deli meats, local cheeses, and olives for a meal that won’t break your calorie bank.
- Be careful at the buffet
If you booked an all-inclusive holiday, you might be faced with endless buffets of seductive food, so it’s important to make clever choices. Look at what’s there rather than starting at one end and working your way along.
Decide what you’re eating and ignore the rest. The salad bar is a good starting place but be wise at the salad bar. It may seem you’re having the healthiest option on the menu but they may be drowning in calorific dressing with lots of sugar. Ask for dressing on the side. Or, better still; stick to drizzle a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, other vinegar or lemon juice.
- Choose a side plate
Picking a smaller plate enforces portion control. Use the size of your clenched fist as a measurement for carbohydrates, i.e. rice, potato, and pasta. For protein (fish, eggs etc), use the size of your palm as a measurement.
- Think fresh
Most people spend winter tucking into hearty roast dinners and comfort food. So being away, if it’s a summer holiday or not, is the perfect opportunity to eat fresh and healthy produce.
Don’t be afraid to try more unusual fish such as crab, lobster, monk-fish, mussels, oysters, king prawns, sardines, swordfish etc.
Oily fish – such as sardines, fresh tuna, salmon, and mackerel – are particularly good for you as they are rich in omega-3.
- Eat a variety of colours
Try a variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables – vivid oranges, red peppers, green courgettes, yellow sweetcorn – to get a wide range of antioxidants.
- Go easy on the carbs after 6 pm
Eating late is common on holiday, so ignore the bread basket and, if you want pasta and rice dishes or chips, have them at lunchtime. Instead, base evening meals around protein (grilled meat and fish), vegetables and salads.
- Stay clear of any rich dishes
Avoid anything in creamy sauces or with pastry. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to request grilled, not fried, and to ask for sauces and dressings on the side.
- Think about a shared starter or dessert
Opt for two courses at dinner instead of three – or think about sharing a starter and pudding. Studies show that, while the first mouthful of a dessert tastes yummy, by the third your taste buds will have been desensitized and it simply doesn’t taste as good as it did.
- Be alcohol savvy
The empty calories in alcohol don’t satisfy your appetite and make you more likely to make bad choices.
One trick is to make your drinks last longer by adding soda to wine and soda or low sugar lemonade to lager. Try spirits with low-calorie mixers. You won’t be heading to the bar as often and you’ll drink less. Low alcohol drinks also contain fewer calories.
Alternate alcoholic drinks with water to prevent a hangover. It’s a good way to avoid overdoing it and stay hydrated, while also reducing your calorie intake. Flavour the water with lemon or lime juice.
Steer clear of free pour measures – Many bars and restaurants abroad don’t have standard optic measures for spirits like we do here. They tend to pour straight from the bottle. If this is the case for you, try asking for a small measure.
- Keep moving
While it’s important to rest and rejuvenate, work in a bit of exercise to burn off those calories. Whether it’s a walk along the beach, snorkeling or swimming, aim to do some exercise every day – at least 30 minutes a day.
A great option would be to use the pool. You could dedicate yourself to a few daily laps of the pool, check out the nearest tennis courts or hit the dance floor in the evening.
Even if your summer holiday usually consists of lying on the beach with a book, take a romantic barefoot stroll along the beach each evening or walk to check out the nearest town.
- Sight-see on foot or bike
You’ll get a better feel for your destination than by gazing out of a car or coach window.
Cycling tours are a brilliant way to explore while also getting fresh air and exercise. This limits any weight gain but you’ll also sleep better because you will be feeling more relaxed.
- Finally, don’t deprive yourself
Banning certain food and drink can be counterproductive as it only leads to cravings. Then it’s only a matter of time before you snap and end up bingeing on the very thing you’re trying to cut out. You’ll have guilt feelings to deal with, too. So, if you really want an ice cream, a desert or a cocktail, then enjoy it rather than feel you’re giving in. But make allowances for it when choosing your next meal, snack or drink.
Everything in moderation is the key to staying healthy while being away!