The Food Files.
When it comes to keeping fit on holiday, your dietary choices have the ability to make or break you. Making smart and cleaner food choices means you can save on unnecessary calories (read: you cut out crap that isn’t worth the cheat in the first place) and keep you feeling healthy and lean long after the holiday is over.
So, how do you achieve this? Have your cake and eat it too by opting for healthier choices where possible.
1. Make your own meals. Not only is this a fantastically cost-effective option, but making your own food on holiday ensures you know exactly what is going into your tummy and you have the executive rights to ensure it is clean and healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you spend your entire holiday trying to whip up a gourmet meal in your kitchenette, however making even one meal a day whilst on holiday can not only save you big bucks, but it can also save your hard-earned waistline.
If you do decide to spend an evening in cooking, opt for something that you can eat again for lunch the next day. This way you get the most out of your healthy meal and you have zero prep time and reduced costs.
Typically Nick and I follow the “One-a-day” Rule meaning that we only splurge on eating out for one meal a day on either lunch or dinner (breakfast is usually included in the hotels we book). Outside of this we pack our own healthy meals to eat with us on the go.
2. Sharing is caring. If you are out and decide that you want to indulge in a treat, go for it but consider sharing it with your travel partner. This not only helps you control your portion size, but it helps you from going overboard on whatever has taken your fancy.
For example, after a hard session at the gym in the morning, by the afternoon we are ready for the hot beach and nothing hits the spot quite like an ice cold beer (yes, we still enjoy one every now and then!) Our stay-lean secret? Order one pint to share. Not only does this mean that the beer stays cold while we drink it, but we can curb our beer cravings without going overboard on heavy beer-belly calories.
Similarly, apply the same logic to dessert. Craving that warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream? Get a portion to share. However, be careful that you do not use this sharing rule as an excuse for poor habits. Sharing 6 beers and an apple pie every day isn’t going to do you any favours. Limit your intake and use your cheat to curb craving.
3. I’ll take mine grilled, please. If you see a dish on the menu that is fried, ask your waiter if you can get it grilled instead. This is such an easy swap to make (you will barely notice a difference) yet it saves you upwards of 100 calories per meal.
Consider this: a fried chicken breast runs an average of 219 calories while it’s grilled counterpart weighs in at a more reasonable 130 calories.
Fried dishes are also heavily laden with saturated (bad) fats and are high in carbs. Do yourself a favour and opt for grilled portions wherever possible.
4. Does that come with rice? You’ve taken the first step in asking for grilled chicken over fried so why not take it one step further. Where meals come with a ‘fried side’ such as french fries, ask if you can switch it for a healthier option such as a portion of rice or a side salad. When choosing the salad, ask for the dressing on the side.
5. Choose wisely. If your hotel choice offers “free breakfast” this is not your hall pass to a smorgasbord. Most places offer healthier options along side not-so-healthy options so be sure to choose wisely.
For example, choose eggs (hardboiled are best, be sure to eat a maximum of one yolk and keep the rest to egg whites only), fruit (such as apples or bananas) or whole grain bread (keep bread to a minimum at one slice max). You can also make your meal go farther by planning in advance and packing oatmeal and green tea bags. Add this to your breakfast for a balanced and delicious meal.
If the voice inside your heads perks up and starts saying “you’re on holiday, enjoy it” remind yourself that you have been enjoying it by taking in the beautiful sights, the active adventures or your one cheat a day. Food will always be there, your health may not.