With the holiday season approaching, I know you’ll be counting down the days until your bags are packed and you’re heading off to sunnier climes. Holidays are a great chance to switch off, reset, and feel prepared to continue with the ups and downs of normal life. Whether you prefer to lie on a beach and work on your golden tan, or spend a week hiking through rural Spain, it’s up to you; everyone’s idea of a holiday is different, and there’s no wrong or right way to spend your time off!
Knowing our readers, however, I’m sure we’ve all got one thing in common; we like to stay healthy on holiday. If you’re anything like me, you overindulge initially, but after a few days you feel lethargic and bloated, and are craving to do some exercise or eat a bowl of fruit rather than a tiramisu. You’ve worked hard to get in shape and stay healthy, and the idea of coming back from holiday with a whole load of work to do is just rather depressing.
Now, I’m not talking about going on a 20 calorie a day detox ‘retreat’, forsaking all alcohol (I mean, come on), or spending your week counting calories. That would just be boring; it’s a holiday after all. Sometimes, however, a few simple things can keep you healthier on holiday and probably make it more enjoyable too. Some may say, you can have your Aperol Spritz and drink it.
After spending a wonderful week on the Amalfi coast in Italy, I tried to balance my pasta and prosecco with a few healthier choices, and thought I’d share them with you. I’m pleased to report that you don’t need to say goodbye to good food and drink to return feeling much the same as when you left!
HERE GOES- HOW TO STAY HEALTHY ON HOLIDAY:
BEWARE OF THE BREAKFAST BUFFET!
So many options, so little space on your plate! From pastries and croissants, to a full fried breakfast, the breakfast buffet often has every option under the Sun. It’s easy to go crazy and want to try everything, I mean, it’s important to check you haven’t forgotten what a Pan au Raisin tastes like, right?! On holiday I usually leave a breakfast buffet having consumed 3000 calories or more, but still feeling unsatisfied. This time round, I decided that probably wasn’t the best way to go. Each day I ate a hearty healthy breakfast, usually consisting of fruit and yogurt, followed by eggs of some description with coffee. This kept me going all morning and didn’t leave me feeling guilty for the loaf of bread and 10 mini pastries that I’d mindlessly scoffed. I’d suggest deciding what you want before you go in and just eat that. There’s nothing off limits after all, but it should stop you mindlessly loading your plate with unwanted foods!
MAKE FOOD CHOICES THAT RESEMBLE WHAT YOU EAT AT HOME
At home I eat pretty similar foods on a daily basis- plenty of fresh fruit and veg, eggs, yoghurt and fish. A few times a week I’ll have pasta or pizza; it goes with being married to an Italian! I eat these foods because I know they make me feel good, so it makes sense to continue eating them while I’m on holiday. I’m not saying to forego the local cuisine, trying new food and exploring restaurants is one of my favourite things to do on holiday, but if you know that certain foods make you feel crappy at home, it’s likely they will on holiday too. In Italy, I was spoiled for choice and it was easy to find food that I loved; the fish there was just incredible! Just like at home, I had pasta when I fancied it; after exploring Pompeii I was absolutely exhausted and insisted we stopped for a plate of spaghetti alle vongole on our way home in the middle of the afternoon. For once it was me eating pasta, and Cristiano eating a salad!
AVOID THE BREAD BASKET
During this holiday I avoided the obligatory bread basket as best as possible. If you’re hungry it’s easy to devour half a loaf of the good stuff before your food even arrives. It’s a complete waste of calories, and in my opinion much better used on a glass of wine instead!
CHOOSE HEALTHIER COCKTAILS
Having an aperitivo is by far one of my favourite holiday activities. There’s nothing better than finishing your day at the beach with a glass of wine, or ice cold beer. In Italy, I always go for an Aperol Spritz. If you haven’t had one, you must! It’s seriously the most refreshing cocktail on a hot day and it’s absolutely my holiday vice.
If you like indulging in a few cheeky cocktails at the end of the day too, go ahead! Sadly, as we all know, not all cocktails are made equal, and some rack up calories far quicker than others. Prosecco and Gin & Tonic are good lower calorie options, and will do less damage than a Pina Colada! Avoid anything with cream, milk or mixers such as Coke. Replacing Coke for diet coke, or opting for slimline tonic will save you hundreds of calories without compromising on taste. Salute!
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE HOTEL FACILITIES
Many hotels offer health and fitness facilities for the guests, which from my experience, people don’t tend to use. Depending on where you’re staying will depend on what facilities are available. A small boutique hotel, may well have none, but a larger resort may offer a host of complimentary facilities for you to use, whether it be a gym, free yoga classes, tennis courts or sea kayaks.
During our stay in Italy we were sure to keep active, and take advantage of what was on offer. From working out with a view of Positano, playing tennis on the hotel court, or borrowing the sea kayaks to go for a paddle, we were on it! All of these activities added a different dimension to our holiday, and made it all the richer. None of them felt like ‘prescribed exercise’ and it was lovely to do something active together in a different setting.
BE AS ACTIVE AS POSSIBLE
If you don’t fancy going to the gym or there’s not one on offer, that’s fine too! There are lots of little things you can do on holiday to keep you active. Just like at home, when you try and be more active by taking the stairs every now and again, or walking home from the work, the same applies on holiday.
Our beach was at he bottom of a cliff, and you could either walk up the steps (getting a fantastic view along the way), or take the lift. Now, I’m not gonna a lie, the majority of the time we got the lift, but if we’d been especially lazy that day we’d take the steps instead.
Similarly, our hotel in Capri offered a shuttle service around the island for free. Again, we mostly took the shuttle to save time, but sometimes we’d opt to walk instead, to get active and help digest our dinner!
Simple things like this can really add up.
SWIM IN THE SEA
Growing up in a seaside town in Italy, my husband loves the sea. I, on the other hand, have always had an aversion to sea water. I think of salt water in my mouth and eyes and plasters floating around in the waves. Perhaps I had some traumatic childhood experience that put me off.
Over the years of being coaxed into the Italian sea, however, it’s gradually growing on me, and this holiday, I absolutely loved my regular dips into the Mediterranean. It was refreshing and energising and I was in and out as much as possible.
One thing I noticed, is just how tiring it can be! 15 minutes battling the waves, and trying to keep your head above water (still hate salt in my eyes) is pretty tiring, and a great way to work up an appetite before lunch!
EXPLORE ON FOOT
Whether it’s a run or a walk, there’s no better way to explore an area than on foot. I always try and run in new places, but this time round it didn’t really happen, and we opted for walking instead.
I absolutely love a good view, and will always try and find the best view a place has to offer! In Capri we took the chairlift (we were short for time, and it was hot!) up to Monte Solaro, the highest point in Capri, which offered stunning views of the island and the surrounding area. We decided to walk back down, with me accidentally taking us on a disused trail that was rather precarious at points! An hour later, we were at the bottom. As well as a little adventure we’d enjoyed more fabulous views, and enjoyed the local flora and fauna around us too.
So, whether you want to go for a long hike along a local trail, or take a more gentle walk around the local area, you’re likely to discover something new, and feel much better for it.
HOW DO YOU STAY HEALTHY AND ACTIVE ON HOLIDAY?
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT BELOW 🙂