'Healthy' and 'Holiday' aren't words that deserve to sit alongside one another. Holidays are for eating copious amounts of ice cream, cocktails, wine, foreign crisps and chocolate, and all the delicious foods on offer once you reach your destination. However, there are those of us who do wish to be able to eat a healthy diet whilst away, in order to balance out any indulgent moments. It sounds impossible, but it's totally doable if you can blur out the pastries on offer at the breakfast buffet, or the ice cream parlours on every corner. My recent holiday to Portugal proved to me just how easy it is to still live a 70/30 or 80/20 lifestyle.
THE BREAKFAST BUFFET
Most hotels will offer a breakfast of some sort, and more often than not it'll either be from a menu or will be a breakfast buffet. It's typical to find a standard English cooked breakfast station, cereals, pastries, and fresh fruit. I'm not really one for wanting to have some lunch whilst on holiday, usually because the heat often acts as an appetite suppressant/no one wants a food baby whilst lying by the pool. Stick to the protein rich - eggs, bacon or sausages is always a winning combination. A side of fresh fruit - watermelon, strawberries, kiwi and pineapple galore, t'was. Divine. Don't forget a big gulping of water too to stay hydrated under the sun.
Just stay away from those mini donuts and mini pain au chocolat's (ok, so I caved on the penultimate day - so worth it). These will satisfy your taste buds but come 11am, you'll be craving something else sweet and the vicious cycle begins.
THE MINI BAR
Fortunately for me, the only thing in our fridge was a much needed big bottle of water. Lots of hotels choose to stock your fridge full of Toblerone's, crisps, biscuits, beer, Coke and all sorts of over-priced, over-processed foods. The thing to remember, if you've found yourself in a situation like that, is the price tag. €4 for a teeny Toblerone, when you'll be paying a Euro or two more for a gigantic one in Duty Free? Don't let that happen.
Although, as I mentioned, the heat can often leave you lacking an appetite, though it's always worth having something between breakfast and dinner. A 3pm Linner is often ideal. I was able to get a freshly made tuna or chicken salad filled with roasted peppers, tomatoes, olives and all sorts, and get this to take away if needed. Light, yet filling and full of nutrients that would definitely keep me going until dinner. If you're making your own lunch, stock up on salad ingredients and throw in some hard boiled eggs or a can of tuna to bulk it out a little. Fresh fruits and vegetables are seriously affordable abroad so make good use of it!
The best thing about being abroad is the fact that almost everywhere you go, you can get freshly prepared meals that, despite filling you up, are totally unprocessed and won't leave you feeling groggy for the rest of the evening. Freshly caught fish, local meats, seasonal vegetables and salads - everything is fresh and 'clean', therefore exactly what your body needs. Although a burger or pizza may look really tempting, if your aim is to stay pretty healthy whilst away, limit yourself to those sorts of meals to a handful of times during your stay. In Portugal, fish was on my n=menu almost every night. It was often served with salad and some (slightly over boiled) vegetables, which alongside my huge fillet or whole fish, would be seriously filling. If it is served with fries, ask for salad instead. These restaurants are very accommodating.
GET YOUR ICE CREAM
Spending a week or two in the sun practically begs for you to cool down with several ice creams. This was my main indulgence of my holiday, with just a scoop or two some nights as an after dinner treat. Stick to having a little cup rather than a cone, which just adds excess calories and sugar. Most places will offer a pretty large scoop when you ask for just one scoop, which will more than satisfy your sweet tooth.
Most importantly, try out the different parlours or work out which is the most popular so you can find which does the best quality and best flavours. If you're going to indulge properly, you only want the best...
OUT AND ABOUT
If you're heading out for the day, keep some snacks on hand in your bag if possible. Little grocery stores often have huge fresh fruit stalls, likewise local markets. The fruit is incredibly affordable so it's worth stocking up. I adore the huge juicy peaches and nectarines, wedges of watermelon and sweet, fresh berries. The fibre is going to keep you full, and offer you tonnes of vitamins and other nutrients too to keep you energised.
What's a holiday without drinking the local area dry of their wine? There's nothing better than enjoying a crisp glass of white wine with your meal on a warm evening. Make sure you ask for a bottle of still water alongside it, so after every glass of wine or cocktail, you have a big glass of water to gulp down just to restore those lost electrolytes and re-hydrate. Plus, you won't feel so rough in the morning.
Do you try to stay relatively healthy on holiday, or are you a "screw it, pass me all the pizza and ice cream" sort of person? What do you do to stay healthy on holiday? Are you off on holiday this year or have you returned from somewhere sunny? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!