Apart from a tan and presents for our grandchildren, there are two things most of us want to avoid bringing home after a holiday abroad: an upset stomach and excess baggage around the waist!
Whether you are going to India or Spain, there are a few things you can do to avoid both. These same tips may even help you to come back healthier, whether you’re traveling for months or just a couple of weeks.
Note: Make sure you follow all Covid-19 precautions and/or restrictions in the country you are visiting, as you probably don’t want to bring that home either.
From Salmonella to Campylobacter, the heat exacerbates any bacteria that may be lurking in your food. To stay safe, which is especially important at our age, here are a few tips.
There is always a healthy option on the menu, wherever you go in the world. Many of my suggestions will also improve your health, as well as help you to avoid piling on the pounds. After all, you want to return bronzed, slim and full of energy!
Whether you are self-catering or eating in a hotel, it is very easy to buy local seeds and un-salted nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, to add to your cereal. These also make good traveling snacks too.
Add plenty of locally grown, anti-oxidant rich fruits, such as oranges, mango, papaya and berries. These will help you to build up your immunity, while keeping the weight off. If you add seeds, nuts and fruits to a bowl of “live” yoghurt, you are looking after your health big time.
If you want the full fry up – you are on holiday after all – ask for grilled bacon instead of fried and boiled or poached eggs instead of fried. Add tomatoes and mushrooms and you’re set for the day.
There is usually a baked or poached local fish dish on the menu, served with vegetables and rice or a nutritious salad.
You can also increase your intake of essential fatty acids on holiday by eating fish such as sardines and salmon. If you are lactose intolerant, you might be interested to know that a small portion of sardines contains more calcium than a whole pint of milk!
However, if you’re traveling in less developed countries, you might consider doing what I do when I go to India and stick to vegetarian meals.
I have never been ill after eating rice and dhal with beans and pulses. I also eat salads, if I know the restaurant has washed the vegetables in pure water.
Think of the colors of the rainbow and try to increase your intake of orange, red and yellow fruit and vegetables as much as you can. Foods such as yellow peppers, carrots and apricots are packed full of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is thought to reduce the risk of cancer, while improving eye health. Green leafy salads (washed well) will give you a big boost in minerals such as magnesium and calcium.
Read more about which fruit and vegetables to eat for health and weight loss on my blog.
Sugars and starchy carbs are major factors when it comes to aging, inflammatory conditions and weight gain. However, we all want to enjoy our holidays, so pick the healthiest option you can find on the menu, most, but not all of the time. You are on holiday after all!
Local cheeses, made from goat’s or sheep’s milk, are always lower in fat than cow’s cheese or a bowl of ice-cream. And, while we’re on the subject of ice-cream, avoid buying it from a street vendor… my mother nearly died after eating one that she bought in Spain in the 60s.
When it comes to alcohol, I try and stick to the lower sugar options such as Cava, Prosecco, Champagne and Spritzers. If you like spirits, Campari, dry vermouth and tequila are all lower in sugar and calories than a beer or a pina colada!
Finally, if you have delicate digestion, try drinking a pint of body-temperature pure water before sitting down to a big meal. This will really help give your digestion a fighting chance.
What do you do to eat healthy food while you are on holiday? Please join the conversation.
Tags Healthy Eating