All year long, we look forward to those two weeks — going to the beach with the family, lying on a sun lounger with a favorite book…and stuffing our shoes at the buffet.
A holiday is an opportunity to let your hair down, relax and indulge. But we all know that three-course breakfasts, endless bagels, daily ice cream treats and an earlier than ever wine hour can take their toll on our waistlines.
So what if you don’t want to come home with an excessive body burden? We asked Harley Street nutritionist Kim Pearson, who specializes in weight loss and weight maintenance, how to enjoy a fabulous break, tuck into some tempting treats and feel just as good on the flight home as you did on departure.
Harley Street nutritionist Kim Pearson (pictured), who specializes in weight loss and maintenance, advises taking a fabulous break and tucking into some tempting treats.
A holiday is an opportunity to let your hair down, relax and indulge. But we all know that daily ice cream treats can take a toll on our waistline
Here are her top tips to help you avoid getting that dreaded half-stone holiday. . .
SELL FOOD ON THE PLANE
“My in-flight meal on a low-cost airline was delicious,” said no one. Unless you’re lucky enough to be traveling first class, airline catering probably won’t taste any better than the little plastic tray it’s on.
Being at altitude while flying affects our ability to taste sweet and salty foods, meaning that airline meals often contain higher amounts of salt and sugar than food on the ground, making them very unhealthy.
I always advise my clients to stop and consider, “Is it really worth it?” before eating something that is not nutritionally optimal.
Honestly, are you going to get any enjoyment out of that salty, soggy lasagna and rock hard roll?
If it’s a short flight, you may not need to eat at all.
If it’s a longer flight then I suggest popping into Pret, Itsu or Boots at the airport to grab something tastier and healthier – a salad, some unroasted nuts or even a bar of dark (minimum 70 per cent cocoa) chocolate.
Instead, focus on that first, blissful glass of chilled wine or bubbly you’ll enjoy when you reach your destination.
BEWARE OF THE BREAKFAST BUFFET
Stretching the length of the dining room and groaning with everything from waffles and pastries to sausage and bacon, going overboard at the hotel’s breakfast buffet is easy.
If your will is not great, why bother? If room service is on offer, it might be worth having breakfast in your room and ordering just one meal to avoid the temptation of making multiple trips to the buffet.
And definitely try to avoid it if you’re hungover – you’ll probably overeat, your blood sugar will shoot through the roof, and a few hours later you’ll be grouchy and reaching for that danish you put in your pocket. .
Kim says if room service is on offer, it might be worth having breakfast in your room and ordering just one meal
If you go to the cafeteria, make sure you start with protein—like an omelette. This will fill you up and stop overindulging.
If you start your breakfast with refined carbs like toast or fruit juice, your blood sugar will spike, making your body less efficient at burning fat – so save a plate of fruit for the end of your meal if you need it at all. .
There’s no need for a three-course breakfast – remember you have a fortnight to try all the different options. A good tip is to save indulgent food – like waffles and pancakes – for the last morning. It will be a great last breakfast and you won’t be able to repeat it the next day!
MAKE YOUR ICE CREAM EXTRA CREAM
Who wouldn’t enjoy a delicious ice cream on vacation? But if you’re someone who always opts for sorbet instead, then think again—it’s not the healthier option you’d imagine.
Sorbet is pure sugar. If you want ice cream, get the right kind that will contain fat and some protein to slow down the release of sugar.
Have it in a cup, not a cone, and if you choose one really delicious flavor, you won’t need to add any extras like sugary sprinkles and syrups.
Include it in a walk – your muscles will use the sugar for immediate energy instead of storing it as fat.
POP THE BUBBLE
Kim advises that Brut Nature is the driest Champagne you can get, followed by Extra Brut – the drier the lower the sugar content.
It goes without saying that most of us drink more alcohol than usual on holiday. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to stick to sparkling water, but I do recommend setting a date to drink it. For example, some of my clients decide not to have their first drink until 5pm.
Breaks abroad are special occasions, so why not celebrate with champagne or crisp dry white wine? Any wine that is classified as “dry” must have a maximum of five grams of sugar per liter, which means less than a teaspoon per bottle.
Brut Nature is the driest Champagne you can get, followed by Extra Brut – the drier the lower the sugar content.
And if you’re right-handed, try this trick: order a glass of water, and if you’re right-handed, put water on the right side and alcohol on the left. It will slow down your drinking as you will naturally reach for a glass of water more often.
Kim says, “Sorbet is pure sugar. If you want ice cream, have the right one that will contain fat and some protein to slow down the release of sugar…”
REJECT THE PIECES TO AVOID THE SNACK ATTACK
When was the last time you ate a crispy one? How about one, a salted peanut? One lousy pretzel? That doesn’t happen, does it?
If you’re staying in a smart hotel or visiting a fancy bar, you might get a tray of crisps when you order a drink.
Once they’re there in front of you, chances are you’ll just mindlessly dig into the over-salted snacks and not even register that you’re eating them.
So do yourself a favor and ask your waiter to take the tray away.
On the other hand, if olives are on the menu, help yourself! They’re high in good fats but don’t have the high factor of crisps or salted nuts, meaning you won’t be eating dozens of them.
DAILY PLEASURE TREATMENT OF TASTE ALARMS
No one wants to feel deprived on vacation, but no one wants to come home a size bigger either.
Giving yourself a daily treat is something you might want to try. The simple act of choosing something and giving yourself permission to enjoy it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the goodness without guilt.
Often, when we indulge in an unplanned treat, it can lead to feelings of guilt followed by a “to hell with it” attitude – and before you know it, you’re eating too many of the wrong things with abandon.
Commit to something you’ll love – enjoy every bite and stop eating as soon as you start to feel full. Avoid eating to the point where you are ready to be kicked out of the restaurant.
FIND A FRIENDSHIP WITH YOUR BARTENDER
If your vacation plan is sipping cocktails by the pool, then it’s a good idea to make friends with the bartender.
“Mixologists love a challenge and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to enjoy a refreshing cocktail that isn’t loaded with sugar,” says Kim
Some classic cocktails, like a pina colada, can contain more sugar and fat than a slice of chocolate cake. Instead, ask your bartender if they can make something without sugar, juice, or syrup.
Once my holiday hotel bartender hollowed out a coconut, mixed some of the flesh with coconut water and added a shot of Malibu and Bacardi. It was so delicious they added it to the menu.
Mixologists love a challenge, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to enjoy a refreshing cocktail that isn’t loaded with sugar.
TAKE CONTROL ALL-INCLUSIVE
If you’re going on an all-inclusive vacation or cruise where food and drink are part of the package, then the temptation is to “get your money’s worth” by eating and drinking everything in sight.
Before heading blindly to a restaurant, study the menu in advance, choose what you will eat and stick to it. This will save you from feeling overwhelmed by the selection.
Before you grab a snack or drink, pause to see if you’re really hungry or just eating out of habit. Mindlessly grazing isn’t nearly as enjoyable as enjoying food when your body needs it.
Kim says, “Don’t jump on the scale as soon as you get back. Flying can cause us to retain water, which means you may be carrying water weight rather than fat…”
Instead of thinking, ‘I paid a premium, so I’ll eat everything’, think: ‘I paid a premium, so I’ll ask the chef to make something just for me’.
When you order from the menu, you’ll feel like a VIP and get something tasty and healthy – like steak and salad – made just for you.
DON’T BRING HOME BAD HABITS
The holidays are over — but don’t be tempted to stay in vacation mode. We often come home to an empty fridge and order takeout or have wine with every meal.
Draw a line in the sand and settle for a day when you go back to eating and drinking normally. If you arrive home on Friday, end these holiday habits on Monday.
WAIT A WEEK BEFORE CONSIDERING
Don’t jump on the scale as soon as you get back. Flying can cause us to retain water, meaning you may be carrying water weight rather than fat. Many of us also suffer from holiday constipation, often due to dehydration.
Instead, wait five to seven days for more accurate data.