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Don't blow your diet on holiday survival guide

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Let’s face it. Holidays equal bingeing. It’s funny how most people work hard to knock off flab to fit into a swimming costume before going on a beach vacation but think nothing of eating anything and everything on the buffet breakfast at the hotel. This is usually followed by day long nibbling on local delicacies in between sightseeing. Then cocktails at happy hour and a humongous dinner to end the day. It’s not surprising therefore, that most vacationers return with extra rolls around the middle besides the odd souvenir.
What most people don’t realize is that eating just 500 calories more than you need adds on one kilo of extra weight in just a fortnight. So how much is 500 calories worth? Think of a bag of chips, a Big Mac hamburger, a tall glass of chocolate milkshake, a Cheddar cheese laden salad or a plate of macaroni and cheese. It may seem like a small indulgence at the time but all those treats can add up and settle around your middle. With every passing holiday those rolls get larger and before you know it, you are FAT.

So what's the solution?

Does it mean you should be counting calories like an obsessed person while on holiday? Actually all it means is that you need to plan ahead and balance out indulgences with more healthy eating habits so that you come back the size you were when you went on holiday. The thing to watch out for most is hidden liquid calories. They never fill you up and if you choose unwisely, they could be laden with calories. These liquid minefields include Margaritas, Pina Coladas or Long Island Ice Teas, each packing a whopping 300-500 calories per glass. Drink smart by having a wine spritzer (half white wine and half soda), tomato juice with a dash of vodka, Rum and Diet Coke or just a fresh fruit juice cocktail. Also, as a rule, drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink so that you stay full and hydrated.

Foods with hidden fats.

Just like many drinks have hidden calories, many favorite foods are laden with hidden fats. The breakfast table is the biggest culprit with its tempting offerings of fat and carb laden treats, from croissants, crepes and waffles to an array of cheese, eggs and meats. While crepes, waffles and croissants are full of butter and white flour, the meats and cheeses are laden with saturated fat.

So how should one go about eating breakfast?

Start with high protein, high fiber and low fat foods. For instance, try a bran cereal with skimmed milk and a handful of fruit and nuts. Then try a poached or boiled egg followed by lean cuts of meat like turkey and ham and finish off with fresh fruit and cottage cheese. Other good breakfast options include low fat Greek yoghurt with a fresh fruit compote, or whole wheat toast with cottage cheese and tomatoes. I can’t stress enough the reason to start the meal (and day) with a helping of fiber and protein. Protein fills you up, keeps you from getting hungry quickly and keeps blood sugars stable. Fiber has much the same effect. On the other hand simple carbs found in croissants and Danishes make you feel full but only for an hour or two. If you’re still hungry after your healthy breakfast, have a crepe with a drizzle of honey. One little treat is fine on holiday especially if you’re going to walk it off.

Make sensible lunch or dinner choices.

Your options could include grilled or roasted meats or grilled vegetables with a large serving of salad. One of the nicer aspects of holidaying abroad is the variety of tasty salads one can try. Just remember to ask for a balsamic vinaigrette or honey-lemon juice dressing because heavier Blue Cheese or Thousand Island dressings are laden with calories. On hot summer days, chilled gazpachos, pea or cucumber soups, or Unived Fybur, Instant Health Soup, 5g Hi-Fiber are a great way to start a meal, followed by a hearty salad. Stay away from deep fried sea food baskets, French fries and cheesy dips that are laden with calories. Have fresh fruit sorbets or low-fat yogurts for dessert. If you can’t take your eyes off that scrumptious chocolate cake your child has ordered, take a couple of teaspoonful’s and savor every morsel. You’ll be surprised how quickly you feel satiated.

Don't forget to exercise.

Finally, remember to exercise on vacation. Lying on the beach is a great idea but keep moving. Walk or jog in the morning, swim in the hotel pool or just window shop. For all you know, you’ll return even fitter and slimmer than you were before you went on holiday.
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