Have you ever gone on a vacation and came back with ‘excess baggage’ and a couple of pounds heavier? We definitely want the ‘post-holiday glow’ but not the ‘post-holiday grow’! Although part of the highlight in taking a vacation is to indulge in some decadent eats that the destination got to offer, we still want to stay healthy for most part of the trip without the fear of breaking the bathroom scale back home. As I always say, choose your calories wisely. Splurge smart and spend the rest of your trip eating wisely so you won’t overindulge and be ridden with dieter’s remorse and guilt that threaten to mar the memories of the whole vacation. If you are all packed and ready to go, here are 5 great tips on how not to tip the scales while travelling.
Tip #1: Start the vacation on the right foot
One of the surest way to sabotage yourself begins on the plane ride itself. Pre packed in-flight meals aren’t exactly the tastiest nor the healthiest grub. Often we eat because we are served and let’s face it, what else is there to look forward to on a long haul flight? To start your vacation on the right foot, try to eat your normal meal at your normal timing before boarding— especially so if you are taking the red eye flight. Will yourself to say no to food out of your normal meal times but if you have to, at least stay away from the artificially sweetened pudding and cupboard tasting cheesecake. Keep yourself well hydrated with fresh water and don’t go overboard with the complimentary booze. Too much alcohol not only cloud your senses upon arrival but tend to result in water retention and puffy eyes with less than stellar holiday pictures guaranteed. If you are on a road trip, you and your mates will invariably snack on the journey. Make sure you pack healthy options such as fruits, unsalted roasted nuts or air popped popcorn so that you won’t be tempted by fast food joints and aisles of chips at stopovers and gas stations.
Tip #2: Don’t skip your breakfast
An important part of staying healthy while travelling is not to forget a hearty breakfast. Don’t start your day off on an empty stomach. Sit down and have a proper breakfast while you plan or go through the final details for the itinerary of that day. There are probably tons to do on your wish-list so fuel up before you head out. “Skipping breakfast can slow down your metabolism and make you feel sluggish throughout the day,” warns Dr. Chua Han Boon, senior medical consultant with The Sloane Clinic, a sports enthusiast himself with a keen interest in weight management and healthy living. “Start off with a healthy meal and it will give you a much needed energy boost to power you through the busy day!”
Tip #3: Scan the menu for healthy options
Before you step out, google the make sure you research on the area you are heading to. Plan out where you going to have a meal stop so you are not left making hasty decisions on what to eat while your tummy starts protesting. Most cafeterias, brasseries and restaurants offer a few healthy alternatives like salad and wraps with lean protein. Customise your food by skipping out on extra gravy and ask for dressing on the side. Instead of frizzy drinks, order sparkling water with a slice of lemon to cool you down on the hot summer days. Local fresh fruits make good dessert options and won’t pack up on empty calories. While planning for places to eat, you can also plan out good places to exercise if you plan on working out while you are gone. Don’t limit yourself to the hotel’s facilities. Take of jog in the park or along a scenic route or visit the local gym. You never know when and where you will meet your destiny!
#4: Travel with meal replacement drinks
Due to cross over time zones and jetlag, you might find your tummy rumbling at odd hours, making you more likely to snack although it’s not a habit of yours back home. Instead of reaching for some seemingly innocent but calorie laden cookies, make sure you travel with some easy to mix replacement drinks. OPTIFAST is a specially prepared meal replacement drink that contains high-quality, complete nutrition but in pre-portioned and calorie-controlled servings. All you have to do is mix it with water (chilled or warm according to your preference) and drink this to stave off the hunger pangs or in place of your regular meals if you just had, or are anticipating some heavy wining and dining!
#5: Don’t fall for the Alcohol trap
Another key to staying healthy while travelling is to watch and limit your alcohol intake. It is easy to go overboard when you don’t have work commitments to hold you back on a holiday. Enjoying a few drinks here and there isn’t going to hurt anyone, but in order to stay healthy, steer clear of high-sugar cocktails that provide hundreds of calorie surplus. Instead, opt for a glass of wine, a flute of champagne or drinks mixed with soda. These are lighter, more chic and just as enjoyable!
Although eating healthy is essential for a healthy lifestyle, don’t beat yourself up if you let loose and end up with a spot of over-indulgence. You have taken time off to have fun and experience life so go out there and do it! There are plenty of ways to wine and dine while staying on track and just remember to do everything in moderation. Bon vacances!
* Selected as Editor’s Choice Jul 2013*