I’ve dreamed about visiting Santorini, the beautiful Greek island with white and blue-domed residences tucked into the rocky shorelines since moving to the UK. So to explain my happiness and awe as I am sat on our private balcony in Oia over looking the ocean this morning while writing this post would be truly difficult as I feel like I have woken up in a dream.
For many well-intentioned fitness enthusiasts, the prospect of travelling presents many challenges to maintaining a healthy active lifestyle. For the next few days we will look at ways to maintain a healthy day-to-day whilst also enjoying all the perks of being on holiday.
Travel Day Meals
Shaking up your daily routine with long flights, airports queues and jet lag can lead even the most disciplined eaters to make some poor food choices (I myself have been guilty of this in the past). However, we all have the ability to make smarter decisions about what we eat while travelling from point A to point B.
1. Avoid fast food and stock up. Instead of rushing for fast food or a pub meal, seek out healthier alternatives. In the UK, most airports (or train stations leading to airports) have a M&S Simply Food kiosk where you can select a range of fresh fruit, health(ier) salads, lean protein, nuts, seeds and water. When purchasing food, think in advance. If it is a longer flight you are likely to be hungry on the plane and when you arrive. Pick up food for a meal during and post flight so you have healthy options when you are actually hungry and more likely to make poor dietary decisions on the fly (no pun intended). Avoid sandwiches dripping with dressings, heavy pastas loaded with sauces, cheeses and “naughty” meat such as bacon.
2. Choose the RIGHT healthy options. Just because you have opted to shop at M&S doesn’t mean everything you buy is automatically healthier. Look for options that are as close to their natural form as possible. When travelling with my boyfriend Nick, we always opt for lean cooked chicken breast chunks (3 for £6), apples (they are more resilient to travel and have lower natural sugars), mixed seeds and nuts (select the natural options not the roasted and salted. 3-4 serving size bag costs about £1.20), and the M&S Fuller Longer range which offers a good mix between proteins and complex carbs. Avoid “Light Choice” meal selections such as leaf only salads. They may be low in calories, but they are also typically low in everything else too meaning it won’t be long until you are hungry again and looking for a quick meal.
3. Avoid dressings and sauces. I used to think it was impossible to enjoy a salad without loading up on dressing (even if it was only balsamic vinaigrette). Often times, the natural juices and flavours in a meal are more than enough to satiate your palette and give your food flavour. Nowadays, food retailers (such as M&S) make it easier on us by sealing dressings in a small cup to the side so we can add them on purchase. Opt out of adding the dressing to your meals to save on unnecessary calories and salts. In the photo above, you will see that my in flight meal was a salmon and prawn salad with chickpeas, lentils and couscous that came with a lemon vinaigrette dressing. I chose no dressing on my food and it tasted awesome. If you do decide to added a dressing to your food, go for the bare minimum instead of dumping the whole thing on top. Avoid salads with dressings that claim to be “creamy” or include mayonnaise.
4. Stick to water. I used to be a big fan of the pre-flight holiday beer. In other words, the moment I cleared security at the airport, I would make a beeline for the pints as I was, after all, on holiday and figured I should celebrate a little. Only problem? Massive belly bloat was looming. Sticking to water pre, during and post flight will help reduce uncomfortable belly gas and help keep you hydrated. Even shorter, hour long flights have the ability to massively dehydrate you due to the recycled air and adding a pint of beer on top of it will leave your stomach feeling less that great. Instead, if you a craving a celebatory beer, wait until you arrive to your destination and settle in to pick up a cold one. Not only will it be more satisfying, but it will also sit better in your belly. Avoid carbonated drinks of all sort as these will build up as uncomfortable gases in your tummy
5. Save your cheat meals. This tip is probably more my mantra than a tip however it is for this reason why I wanted to share it. When we go on holiday our first thought is “I’m on holiday so I may as well enjoy it” and this thought leads us to (often) make a slew of bad dietary choices. However, when you return and realise you have put on 5kg, lost all that hard earned definition in your body and your stomach is in pain for a week you realise the holiday is officially over. Do yourself some favours by choosing the right cheat meals, not any old cheat meals. Instead of having McDonalds and a pint at the airport, a cheesy heated baguette and bag of crisps on the plane and a massive meal on arrival at your destination, cut the crap (literally) and opt for one cheat a day max instead of making every single meal a smorgasbord overload of sugar, carbs and alcohol. Avoid breads, sugary pre-packaged snacks, crisps, sodas, candy and fast food. If you are going to have a cheat meal, make it count. Don’t just do it because you are on holiday.
I hope you find these tips useful! Safe travels!