How to eat right when you're travelling or on holiday.
When we’re trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, holidays and travelling can really put us to the test. Our routines and good habits are broken, we are immersed in different cultures and climates and are often surrounded by a variety of not so healthy food (and drink) choices.
Sometimes you can justify being a little 'naughty' when you’re travelling. However, this gets dangerous if you’re either travelling for a long time or if frequent travel is a part of your life.
At the airport
The first obstacle you will face is the airport. It can be tempting to kill time at the airport with a drink at the bar or food at the food court. Our advice is to take things to do at the airport, so that food doesn’t become your only method of occupying yourself. Music, crosswords, or reading a book are all good options. Or to feel really great, try writing and sending a few old fashioned postcards or letters while you wait. If you know you will need something to eat, plan ahead and take a muesli bar and some fruit, and don’t forget the water.
One last tip- pop a herbal tea bag in your handbag and at the airport order a hot water and add the tea bag (instant healthy hot drink, and cheap).
On the flight
Most airlines have vegetarian, vegan and low-fat options available on flights. However, to ensure these are available, you may want to ring the airline beforehand. Most airlines are more than happy to accommodate your dietary requests. The other option is to take your own healthy snacks on board. Just make sure you leave them on the plane when you leave, if travelling internationally to avoid any unnecessary disruptions with Customs!
On long haul flights you need to be well prepared. As soon as you board, adjust your watch to the time at your destination. Try to keep a regular meal pattern, with at least one glass of water an hour (you may need to request this from the airline staff). Alcohol and caffeinated drinks will add to dehydration, so avoid these where possible - you’ll be thankful later. To keep the blood pumping, it is important to stay mobile. Aim to take a short walk around the plane regularly and while seated any small movements such as wiggling your toes or doing some calf raises are beneficial.
The secret to beating jetlag: on arrival try to adjust your sleeping and waking, to the appropriate times for your current location (this will be on your cleverly pre-adjusted watch).
At your destination
Now that you’ve arrived at your destination, you need to do a little planning to help you maintain your great efforts so far. These are some simple tips for healthy eating on holiday:
- If possible find a local supermarket or general store and do a small food shop. You will want to include some breakfast supplies, fruit and vege, some healthy snacks and maybe even a few easy meals. This means you will not only have some control over what you are eating but you also don’t have to go out and buy every meal, saving you money.
- Maintain a regular meal pattern as much as possible.
- Start each day with a healthy low fat, high fibre breakfast.
- Keep some healthy snacks with you when you’re out and about. They will keep your energy levels up and prevent you from needing to purchase less desirable choices. For snacking ideas click here.
- Get active as much as possible. Adding a relaxing morning or evening walk to your holiday routine is a great way to do this - especially if you find you have trouble sleeping! If your accommodation has a pool or gym, make the most of these facilities.
Unfortunately, one of the most unfortunate side effects of travelling, can be the effect it can have on your bowels. Your bowels are a creature of habit and travelling often results in different foods and drinks, changes in activity and a disturbed sleep pattern. Not to mention a lack of quality, comfortable toileting facilities in some places. Our tips for dealing with this difficult issue:
- Keep hydrated. Water, water, water. We can’t emphasise this enough but remember to use purified water, if the quality in your destination is questionable.
- Keep active (movement stimulates the bowels)
- Keep up the fibre (dried and fresh fruit and vegetables are great for this)
- Don’t put it off. Usually, the longer you avoid going to the toilet the worse the problem becomes. Go to the toilet when you get the opportunity and try and relax. To avoid being 'caught short', always make sure you have some tissues with you.
- Be conscious of food safety. Look out for hygiene signs in restaurants. If you are suspect about the hygiene go somewhere else. Avoid foods (especially meat, chicken, fish and dairy) that look like they have been sitting at room temperature for some time or have been undercooked. Make sure you food is piping hot or chilled.
- Wash your hands regularly or use a hand sanitiser. When you are travelling you can come into contact all all sorts of things you mightn't back home.