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Pack your healthy habits: 5 tips for maintaining balance on holidays

Finding that happy medium when it comes to food choices whilst travelling can be difficult. I'm probably not the only one who's promised themselves that they won't overindulge at every opportunity they get, but there's just nothing better then experiencing new foods on vacation. This often leads to an overconsumption of less nutritious food, resulting in guilt, feeling out of control and not quite ourselves.

With that said, I generally stick to the 80:20 rule whilst away; healthy choices 80% of the time and rewarding myself the remaining 20%. I like to keep in mind that a holiday doesn't last forever, so you have to let your hair down and live a little. Here's my easy 5 tips for creating some balance whilst on vacation:

Image via: Pintrest

1. Don't change your eating habits too much

If you don't eat 3 course meals at home, don't feel obliged to do so when away. If the group you're dining with are, just order a small green salad for entree and a main meal that comprises mostly of protein, good fats and plenty of non starchy veggies. If your're feeling like a little something sweet after dinner make sure it's a dessert that you're going to enjoy or just ask for an extra spoon and share the dessert instead! I've learnt to never feel obliged to order as everyone else is. You'll feel better for it and perhaps opt for a more decadent meal when you feel like it or on a special evening.

2. Stay hydrated

Take a bottle of water in your handbag or backpack to ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day whilst sightseeing. 3pm often hits and you've been so consumed in the day that you've barely had any H20. Water will also keep you feeling energised and full across the day and avoid you ordering that extra crossiant with your afternoon coffee.

3. Pack a snack

If you know you're in for a long ride between destinations or it's going to be a while before you find a healthy food option, just pack a snack! I always find a supermaket at the start of each destination where I can grab a few staples that I'm used to eating or drinking back home . Foods such as nuts, yoghurt, cheese, fresh fruits or veggies are great options that you can throw in your handback and more nutritious that the 'on the go snacks' found at train stations, airports and convenience stores that are normally high in sugar, salt and saturated fat. My rule: If there's more than 5 ingredients in a packaged food, check to ensure it's not loaded with preservatives, additives, colourings, artificial flavours or sweeteners.

4. Keep active, without over doing it

We can't expect to do long, intense training sessions that we may be used to when we're travelling. This doesn't mean we have to give up exercise altogether though! When it comes to packing a suitcase, make sure you pack gym apparel so that given the opportunity you can make use of your accomodation facilities such as a pool or gym. Alternatively, put on your runners or comfiest shoes and walk from sight to sight rather than catching public transport or a taxi. You will see a lot more of the local towns and stumble across hidden gems via the scenic route anyway. This incidental exercise will increase your step count above the recommended 10,000 steps per day in no time.

5. Moderate your alcohol intake

If you don't drink alcohol every night at home, don't feel the urge to do so just because you're on 'holidays'. What people might forget is that 1 glass of wine is approximately 100 - 150 calories and actually more than 1 standard drink. So imagine drinking multiple of these across the day.. the calories will add up very quickly. I'm not suggesting to go without, just be mindfull. If you do decide to have an alcoholic drink, my tips are as follows:

  • Opt for a refreshing soda water with a squeeze of lime at lunchtime and save that glass of wine for later in the day with dinner.

  • Have alcohol free days.

  • Consume 1 drink not 10. You will feel better and thank me for this the next day!

  • Choose soda water as a mixer with your spirit rather than a juice or soft drink. Water is calorie and sugar free!

  • Replace a wine with a 'Skinny Bitch' (Vodka lime soda), which has approximately 80 - 100 calories. Although the calorie content may not differ too much, the soda water will keep you more hydrated.

  • Enjoy a dry wine instead of sweet wine such as a moscato or champange. There is less sugar in a dry wine.

  • Don't be fooled by the 1/2 price cocktails at happy hour. A lot of cocktails are very calorie dense with your classic gin and tonic comprising 150- 200 calories, 285 for an espresso martini and 250 for a frozen strawberry daiquiri.

Happy holidays guys!

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