“Life is about balance. You want to come back looking better than when you left, not worse,” says nutritional therapist Angelique Panagos. Here’s what you need to do to stay on track.
Pack some healthy snacks for the road
Fill a Tupperware with food to graze on: “Pack some raw almonds, brazil nuts and macadamia nuts – all are high in good fats, calcium, and potassium. Apples are great as they’re easy to travel with and robust; unlike a banana, they won’t get squashed in your bag,” says Panagos.
If you’re traveling and need a main meal, make something filling and easy to eat with your hands, such as a sliced chicken breast and cherry tomatoes.
Balance out the excess of calories
According to Panagos, you should try and have some form of protein (eggs, chicken, fish, or pulses) and a portion of vegetables with every meal to make sure you’re getting plenty of fiber.
“Make sure you’re also eating plenty of good fats (such as avocado and nuts) and that you’re being sensible when it comes to alcohol,” she adds.
Don’t let your meal times go haywire
There’s no such thing as set meal times on holiday.
“This is where your beach or travel bag helps in terms of food supplies. If you make a conscious effort to take some healthy snacks with you when you head out then you’ll be more inclined to eat them. Again, fruit and raw nuts are great; and if there’s a supermarket nearby, stock up on some crudités and hummus,” says Panagos.
Turn your pre-meal snacks into nourishing bites
“It’s the fried food and the bread you want to avoid. Instead, have some olives, sun-dried tomatoes or some grilled calamari,” explains Panagos.
The nutritionist also recommends you snack smart: If you’re in the sun, eat skin-nourishing foods that are high in antioxidants such as tomatoes, peppers and berries. And if you want to help your bowels along (and have a flat stomach), nibble on fiber-rich foods such as green vegetables.
Counteract the excess of alcohol
All alcohol is high in calories and sugar; but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a glass or two: “Stick to two alcoholic drinks a day. If you’re having vodka, mix it with sparkling water and fresh lime to keep the calories down. Drink wine from a small glass, not a large one. Same thing goes for beer – order half pints. And don’t forget to have a glass of water after every drink,” says Panagos.
Slow down, but keep moving
“You may not have access to a gym or a proper workout space, so pack your trainers, a skipping rope and resistance bands,” says personal trainer Jarod Chapman.
“Use the bands to do some bicep curls or shoulder presses in your bedroom by hooking them onto the leg of your bed. You can also do some crunches: lie on your back and bend your knees; bring your feet off the floor and lift your knees up toward the ceiling. Slowly roll the lower back off the floor. Bring your back down again, keeping your feet in tabletop position – aim for 20 reps each time.
"Go for a run, a cycle or do some laps in the sea first thing in the morning to kick-start the metabolism and burn fat – you’re less likely to want to socialize or grab a drink at 8am than at 8pm. You can also find a bench to do some push-ups or dips. Finally, get your friends or family together and organize a game of Frisbee, football or beach volleyball – it’s a great way of sneaking in some all-important cardiovascular exercise.”