Do you usually overindulge on holiday and come home with an expanded waistline?
You’re not alone, believe me.
So Here’s Our Top 5 Diet Travel Tips
If you’re anything like me, when you go traveling your diet goes out the window. I don’t know what it is, but a switch gets flipped where I’m in holiday mode and Hang the Diet! becomes my mantra.
The last thing I want to be worrying about is the calories I’m consuming. I just want to enjoy myself and sample ALL the local cuisine, eating and drinking my way through my holiday. I can rarely say no to complimentary inflight food and drinks, especially as it is becoming a bit of a rarity for many airlines.
Make hay while the sun shines is my usual motto
To make matters worse, my gym and exercise routine also goes completely out the window, with my mindset being ‘Why spend precious holiday time in a gym when I could be out taking in sights and sampling more of the local area I’m visiting?’ – which more often than not includes food – delicious local, ‘not available back home’ food.
Needless to say, the sense of dread when I return home, as I reacquaint myself with the bathroom scales, has become an all too familiar feeling. The last few trips I’ve taken, I’ve made a concerted effort to not completely go on vacation with my battle of the bulge as well.
Guess what, my efforts have paid off and my bathroom scales and me are now the best of friends (more or less ).
Diet Travel Tips 1 – Pack snacks
Plan ahead and pack some healthy snacks so you’re not tempted by all the fast food options at the airport, often made much worse by flight delays. Zip-lock bags are your friend.
My personal favourite snacks to pack include
Almonds, walnuts, cashews
Fresh fruit – apples, mandarins, clementines, bananas (though they bruise and can make quite a mess)
Veggies – snow peas, carrot and celery sticks
Dried fruit – dates, prunes, figs
My favourite dark chocolate
Cheese – (non stinky please) Baby Bel is a good travel cheese
Quinoa, bulgar, rice or whole grain pasta based salad
Turkey and cheese sandwiches on wholemeal bread
Homemade coconut cookies
Mints (for the food breath)
As few empty calorie foods as possible
I’m not a big fan of cereals, breakfast/snack/power/protein bars myself and try to eat as little processed food as I can, so they’re not on my own personal diet travel tips.
Think of others – Don’t bring aboard and munch on stinky foods like strong smelling cheese, fish, Kimchi, hard boiled eggs. Anything that might nauseate and offend fellow passengers. Stay away from oily, drippy foods, pack some napkins and moist toilettes.
Obviously some of these foods are not suitable for traveling by air and taking through security, but you’d be surprised what you can often take through and onto the plane, even hummus and yogurt sometimes (though to be on the safe side I’d have the hummus already in a sandwich or roll (watch that garlic breath).
I never bring too much of any one thing in case they won’t let me bring it through security. I don’t feel so bad then having to throw it in the trash.
I know it’s tempting to eat the plane food, but it’s definitely not the healthiest meal you’ll ever get. You’re much better off leaving half (or all) of it, and getting sustenance from the healthy snacks you’ve brought along, save your splurging for food that’s worth splurging on at your holiday destination.
Extra Tip – Check ahead with the country you’re traveling to as some have very strict rules about the foods you can bring in. Australia is particularly strict about this.
Diet Travel Tips 2 – Hydrate
Often when traveling you can mistake thirst for hunger, eating when really you’re just thirsty. It is very easy to become dehydrated on flights, so drink lots of water.
Try to pace yourself with the free booze as it will dehydrate you even more. Life’s a bitch, and flight hangovers are the worst, I know
Diet Travel Tips 3 – Prepare at least one meal a day yourself
It’s really not that difficult. Look for accommodation that comes with a fridge and find out where your nearest supermarket is, or even better, where the local produce markets are, at your destination.
If you can’t find out before getting there, check with your hotel as they should be able to help. You can save a fortune (depending where you are).
Diet Travel Tips 4 – Dine with the locals
Research where the best restaurants are, the restaurants the locals eat at, not the ones in the touristy areas. You normally don’t have to wander far off the main tourist drag to find the local treasures.
I’ve found the best websites for this are Trip Advisor or Zomato (formerly Urban Spoon and only available right now in India an UAE). I sometimes like to walk by the places I find online just to make sure it’s frequented by the locals (it’s usually not hard to tell).
All that money you save from preparing at least one meal a day yourself, put that towards eating out at better quality places, as the food is usually of better quality (although don’t hold me to that ) but if you’ve done your homework and found out where the locals dine night after night, then you’ll more than likely find I’m right on this. It’s a little bit of time and effort well spent.
Extra Tip – More often than not, seafood is a staple of mine while traveling, as it’s often readily available, much better quality and more affordable than back home. It’s just an added bonus that it’s much healthier for you.
Remember – Depending where you are, be wary of health and safety issues. No one likes getting the dreaded food poisoning, so be particularly cautious with salads and uncooked foods
Diet Travel Tips 5 – Exercise
No diet advice is really complete without mentioning the need for exercise. That doesn’t mean you have to go off and find a gym, follow your normal routine, or spend the same amount of time exercising as you would back home. This is where walking comes into it’s own, and something I naturally do an awful lot more of while traveling than I do back home. Get out there and see those sights on foot.
To really make the most of this, you need to plan ahead a little, especially if you’re holidaying in a hot climate. The last thing you want to be doing is walking round the city or tourist spots at lunch time in the searing heat, the sun burning you to a crisp. Get out there early, just after breakfast – one of the best times of the day anyway, not least because most of the tourists are still in bed. Take in the sights when they’re at their best.
Then do as the locals do in some many places and enjoy that most blissful of experiences, the Siesta. Escape the afternoon heat by locking yourself away in your air conditioned room for a well earned nap. You’re then refreshed and ready to head back out in the cool of the evening, for more sightseeing and enjoying the often stunning sunsets, before tracking down that fabulous local restaurant you’ve read and heard so many good reviews about.
In a lot of cities and tourist places, you will find many outdoor exercise areas for public use and free of charge. Many cities also have outdoor fitness events. Just google something like ‘outdoor exercise areas or events‘, along with whatever city you’re heading to.
If you’ve taken heed of our advice, you’ll have followed a healthy diet and gotten plenty of exercise during the day, So now you afford to splurge a little on dinner without any feelings of guilt or fear of expanding that waistline, avoiding all that tension with the bathroom scales when you get home.
These 5 diet travel tips have worked for me, I’m sure it will work for you too.
Above all else, do not deprive yourself of experiencing one of the sublime elements of traveling – Experiencing the unique food and cuisine of the area you’re visiting
Bon appetite, you’ve earned it and you’re now ready for those Istanbul Beaches..
Our Top 5 Diet Travel Tips – by Nicola Curtis
All Flickr images are licensed under CC BY 2.0
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