While it’s true that consistent nutrition and exercise is important, it’s likely that other commitments like holidays may take precedence at times. With that being said, here are some tips to help with your food choices and nutrition so you can stay on track but also enjoy yourself.
1. You may not be able to be 110% perfect with your nutrition and this is okay. This can sometimes be hard to come to terms with, especially if you’re used to being consistent at home and in a good routine. While travelling, it can be almost impossible to be eating the same as you would at home due to many factors like potential variances in foods, availability of cooking facilities and even language barriers.
2. If you've been in a ‘fat loss’ or ‘weight loss’ phase, it might actually be a good time to have a break and going back to ‘maintenance calories’. Basically, when trying to lose body fat or weight, it’s important to be in a mild calorie deficit to be able to do this. This can be done via eating less or increasing energy expenditure such as physical activity or planned exercise. Generally, a combination of the two is common for eliciting results. However, being in a calorie deficit for a long time (~over 2-3 months) can put stress on your body. Therefore, holidays can be a perfect time to be eating a little bit more and giving your metabolism a ‘break’. You may only be eating an extra meal per day, but it may be enough to bring your calories closer to ‘maintenance’, which can be beneficial to hormones such as ghrelin as well as potentially reducing ‘stress hormones’ such as cortisol. This may give you the opportunity to also explore new foods and taste.
3. Plan the rest of your day around social events. If you know you’re going for a certain meal with your family or friends then it may be beneficial to plan the rest of your day around it. For example, if you’re going out for dinner and you want to be able to enjoy a few glasses of wine and dessert, you might reduce your portions at breakfast and lunch so you can have the ‘flexibility’ to enjoy what you like. Whether this is reducing your whole portion size slightly or even skipping the entrée or dessert.
4. In many restaurants there are complimentary snacks on offer before you order. In many European countries, a breadbasket with balsamic vinegar and olive oil is offered; where as countries like India offer papadums. Giving this a miss can be one way to reduce your overall intake for the day which can be important especially as you’re enticed by different flavours and foods when travelling.
4. Aim to have a serve of protein with your main meals. Protein is not only for ‘bodybuilders’ and it does serve many functions separate to purely building muscle. Protein is a very satiating macronutrient; meaning it keeps you full. Common protein sources include eggs, chicken, beef, lentils, tofu and dairy.
5. Check how foods are prepared and don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure. Looking for the words ‘grilled’, ‘baked’ or ‘steamed’ can often have fewer calories than ‘crumbed’, ‘fried’ or ‘deep fried’. These methods often contain more oil, which can be easily avoided if you’re looking for some extra hidden calories to reduce.
6. This does not mean that you shouldn’t or can’t have any. It’s simply pointing out that alcohol has a caloric value even if it doesn’t feel like food. A regular beer or wine could be around 100-200 calories while cocktails could be up to double. If you’re looking for lower calorie drinks, clear spirits are often a better choice such as vodka, lime and soda or a gin and tonic.
If you’re consistent with eating well and training 80% of the time, then a holiday away should be something to be enjoyed and not feared. For more healthy eating tips, be sure to visit our blog.