We all want to relax on holiday, but we also want to feel good as well and that’s not just about being healthy but also avoiding stomach upsets. We spoke to Naturopath Sue Davis at Lifehouse Spa, and nutritionist Claire Bryant to find out their tips on how to eat well for overall health and wellbeing on holiday…
Gut health is a big deal at the moment and we hear a lot about taking prebiotics to create a platform for good bacteria to grow. Bimuno however, is all about boosting the immune system. We’ve heard of probiotics, but these are prebiotics, which are particularly good for protecting gut bacteria overseas from the things you’re not used to. You can get it in the form of a supplement, but you can also find it by eating the local yoghurt and honey when you’re on holiday to match gut bacteria thanks to the pollen from the flowers which helps to protect gut bacteria. Our gut bacteria changes overseas so it’s a good way to repopulate it in a gentle way.
“Champagne is better than Prosecco if you’re trying to keep the weight off…”
On all inclusive breaks in particular there’s a tendency to overeat, which to some degree is part of the enjoyment, but having protein will help you to stay full for longer and stop cravings later. Try scrambled or poached eggs rather than hash browns and sausages, and try to have a lighter lunch, perhaps taking advantage of all the lovely fruit and antipasto and tasting plates in local areas.
If you go to a proper Italian restaurant, for example, the pizzas tend to be thin and lovely rather than containing lots of white carbs, while local fruit and veg that’s been sun ripened and is both delicious and really good for you making it an ideal snack. Given the quality of local produce on holiday, it’s a good opportunity to really get the most taste out of them and be healthy at the same time – opt for sorbets over ice cream and have grilled meat and fish instead of fried where possible. When you’re having salad see if you can have the dressing on the side so you can control the amount that’s on it as well.
Obviously when we’re on holiday most of us want to have a little alcohol, but choosing clear spirits over wine can help control the calories and can actually have digestive benefits. For example, in Italy it’s common to have Campari and soda with olives before dinner which stimulates the digestive juices and helps to avoid bloating. Or perhaps try a long vodka, with fresh lime and soda. Happily, Champagne is also better than Prosecco if you’re trying to keep the weight off, and if you’re nibbling on something before dinner, try olives rather than peanuts.
“Go to the gym the day you land at home to stave off holiday blues…”
You have heard of having lemon in warm water in the morning to cleansing of digestive tract, but did you know it also kick starts your digestive enzymes, telling the stomach to get ready for food and helps it to break down food and deliver energy. Similarly, it’s good to smell food in advance of eating it to give your digestive system time to prepare, but anything bitter will stimulate saliva production (containing those digestive enzymes), so olives, a rocket leaf salad as a starter, or Campari and soda as a pre dinner drink will all help to prevent bloating.
Claire says that if you go in knowing you’re going to gain a bit of weight on holiday, then simply keep it in mind when you return home and make a plan to up the exercise a little and be a bit healthier. She says that it’s best if you try to get the extra weight off within a couple of weeks of getting back otherwise you’re more likely to retain it, and one of her top tips (if time allows) is to go to the gym the day you land at home – it helps with holiday blues and to reset into a routine.
As we all know, more often than not when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty and nowhere is that more likely than in the sunshine. Keep your fluids up throughout the day to try to avoid false hunger pangs, and instead of fruit juices try to opt for water – perhaps flavouring it by adding fresh mint, cucumber or basil.
“Eat slowly to give your stomach time to register when it’s full…”
Claire’s final top tip is to be mindful of where you’re going on holiday and what the dietary practices are like. “We were in Utah and I could not believe the portion sizes and the amount of fried food available. The portion sizes were a lot more than we would normally have so we would often end up sharing meals rather than having one each.” Her rule of thumb is that you should have approximately two fist sizes of vegetables or salad, one of carbs and one and a half of protein in a meal. Also, try to eat slowly to give your stomach time to register when it’s full without overeating.
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