As I sit writing this I can hear seagulls overhead because I am beside the seaside. A little working staycation and a much-needed change of scene now we can finally travel.
Being away has been great but I’ve found some of my healthy habits have slipped – as happens to us all on holiday. And while there is nothing wrong with some indulgences and taking it easy while away, I don’t want to simply let it all go. So I’ve got a few tips which I apply to keep me healthy on holiday and I thought I would share these with you too in case you’re venturing near or far for a break this summer.
1. Add a side of salad or vegetable to your meal
When we’re away we may eat out more or choose more convenience food because that’s what’s available or because we don’t want to cook and we may eat out more (where possible these days!) and that’s fine. But to boost the nutritional value of your meal, add a side of veg or a mixed salad. This will ensure you keep your intake of vitamins, minerals and fibre high while away.
Yes, holidays are about taking it easy but 20-30 mins of movement every day can make a big difference in how you feel physically and mentally. So whether it’s a walk along the beach or in the countryside, a few laps of the pool or something more vigorous like a bike ride, run or a session in a gym, try to make exercise part of your holiday routine. I’m walking even more while away than I do at home which is great as it also helps balance out those cakes and ice creams!
3. Stay hydrated
It’s all too easy to go for sugary drinks and alcohol while on holiday and forget about staying hydrated. It’s especially important on warm and sunny days as you lose more fluid through sweating. Make sure you drink at least 2L of bottled water (if you’re outside the UK) while you’re away to keep your digestion functioning optimally and prevent heatstroke/dehydration.
4. Limit alcohol
Again when you’re away the temptation is to have a drink with lunch and keep drinking until bedtime! Pace your alcohol intake, try not to drink excessively during the day and perhaps even have some alcohol free days.
5. Start with a healthy breakfast
It can be tempting to skip breakfast in favour of a lie-in while on holiday but this is likely to lead to you eating more later the day. Get up and start your day with a healthy breakfast. If you’re self-catering buy some fresh fruit and natural yoghurt (I like to add some crumbled oatcakes that I bring from home) or whip up some eggs. If you’re in a hotel go for the egg or fruit options and avoid a pastry binge.
6. Get your beauty sleep
Lack of sleep can make it harder to make healthy choices the next day and it can increase your risk of feeling run down even after your holiday. So whether it’s sticking to regular sleep/wake times or adding in a little mid-afternoon siesta to top up, try to make sure you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
7. Top up your vitamin D
A sunshine holiday is a perfect opportunity to boost your vitamin D levels. Many people in the UK are deficient in this vitamin which is essential for a healthy immune system, bones and teeth. Learn more about Vitamin D in this post. Sunshine provides our body with the active form of vitamin D, but to top up your levels you must spend some time in the sun without any sunblock/sunscreen on…yes this goes against everything we’ve been taught but spending even 10-30 mins (depending on your skin tone and how easily you burn) in the sun without any protection is actually good for you. When you do put on lotion choose a chemical-free, natural sun lotion like Tropic to avoid adding unnecessary toxins to your body.
8. Take a probiotic
Whenever I travel (abroad or in the UK) I add in a probiotic into my supplement routine to keep my gut and immune system strong. Our gut contains 70% of our immune system and is easily disrupted by a change in diet, climate, water intake and even flying (the recycled air in a plane can disrupt the microbes). So to try taking a probiotic supplement to help to prevent any issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea or general illnesses – which can make you feel less than your best while away. There are a number of brands widely available in health food shops or ask a professional for a recommendation.
9. Don’t punish yourself
Holidays are a great time to recharge your batteries, unwind, relax and yes indulge in a few less nutritious treats a little more regularly. Don’t feel bad and don’t let negative thoughts creep into your mind. If you do have an ice cream or too many glasses of wine or don’t do any exercise beyond walking from your bed to the beach and back again, don’t beat yourself up about it. I don’t believe in food or exercise guilt and I think less healthy foods have less of an impact physically if we don’t think negatively about them. Savour those treats but remember it doesn’t have to be a complete blow out just because you’re on holiday. Try one or two of the tips above to make your holiday even a little bit healthier.