Simple tips to stay healthy on holiday
Holidays and indulgence often go hand in hand. It can seem almost impossible to stay healthy when we’re away from home and out of our normal routine. Often we tell ourselves we deserve those sweet treats and a break from exercise! And often we do deserve a rest and the occasional indulgence – but when that turns into a couple of weeks of rich foods, bottomless drinks and zero movement, our bodies can pay the price and our health goals can seem further away than ever.
Staying healthy on holiday doesn’t have to be difficult. We can still relax from our normal schedule and with just a few small tricks and tips, we can also maintain a few healthy habits.
When it comes to meals on holiday, a good rule of thumb is to choose colourful wholefoods. When our plates reflect a rainbow of colours, it often means we are achieving all the nutrients our body needs. Plates covered in beige food are usually heavily processed and lacking in nourishing fruits and vegetables. If you’re travelling as a family, it can be a great game for kids to tick off how many colours of the rainbow they’ve managed to eat whilst on your trip!
Go traditional and local
In many countries, the traditional dishes are usually an excellent choice when you want to eat out healthily. Forget ordering another pizza whilst you’re in an exotic country – be adventurous and try their local dish. It will often use aromatic spices and herbs from the region, shown to improve our immune health, and are cooked using traditional methods and foods from the region, rather than being processed and fried.
We often rush about in our day-to-day lives, grabbing food when we can. But research has shown that people who eat while distracted are more prone to overeating because they’re less likely to notice when they feel full. We also bypass the first stage of digestion – chewing – when we wolf down our food, causing digestive issues.
On holiday however, we can take our time over meals, enjoying the social chatter and savouring the delicious food on our plates. Mindful eating allows us to really relish in the joy of eating together, without the distraction of busy lives and providing our body with the optimal conditions for digesting.
Taking a rest on holiday is usually needed, but that doesn’t mean we should stop completely! Time away from our jam-packed home lives can actually be a great way to fit in an exercise or yoga class. Even just a 20-minute session to raise your heart rate before breakfast means you can enjoy the rest of your day so much more. Exercise doesn’t have to mean lifting weights in a gym, consider simply adding some light movement into your day. This could be taking a long walk to see the local sights, a swim at the local pool or a light bicycle ride.
It comes as no surprise that research shows our optimal sleep is usually when we’re away on holiday. Although the first night’s sleep in a new environment is often a little restless, once we embrace the holiday routine, our sleep improves. Note what time you feel tired in the evening and what time you wake naturally in the morning. This is usually a good indicator of how much sleep you personally need. Use this nugget of information when you get home to make sure you get the correct amount of sleep to improve your health and quality of life.