By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
Whether you're self-catering, eating out in local
restaurants or on an all-inclusive package where all your
meals are catered for, use your holiday to try new foods that
you haven’t tasted before.
You might discover a whole new list
of ingredients to experiment with when you get home. Don’t
worry either if you can’t work out the precise calorie content
of all your meals, either – if you're only on holiday for a
couple of weeks and choose sensibly most of the time, you
won’t do too much damage. But to give you a helping hand,
follow these guidelines.
- Roughly plan your days, including when and where you’re
likely to eat. If you’re planning a long, leisurely lunch,
then aim to have a smaller dinner. Or if you’re going to try
the ‘eat-all-you-can-eat’ Mediterranean buffet for dinner,
only have a light lunch. Don’t skip meals though, otherwise
you’ll end up eating more than you normally would when you’re
finally faced with food.
- Wherever and however you’re eating, aim to stick to the
same healthy eating rules you follow at home. That means
avoiding fried food, filling up on fresh fruit and vegetables,
basing your meals on bread, potatoes, rice or pasta and
keeping fatty and sugary foods to a minimum.
- Although many countries don’t have the healthy options
available in the UK such as low-fat spread and skimmed milk,
it’s always worth asking, especially in the larger hotels.
- Skip the bread that often comes at the start of a meal.
And if you can’t resist, make sure you have it without butter
- Nibble on olives rather than peanuts – they only have 3
calories each, compared to peanuts which have 150 calories per
small handful. If the olives come in oil, use a serviette to
dab off any excess.
- Steer clear of dishes that come in rich, creamy sauces
or contain pastry. And avoid meals that contain a lot of oil.
Anything that’s described as being pan-fried, deep-fried,
sautéed, flambéed or roasted will have been cooked with oil.
- If you’re staying near the coast, there will probably
be plenty of fish and seafood on the menu, which not only
tastes delicious, but is also reasonably low in calories and
fat providing it’s not fried. Don’t be afraid to try more
unusual fish such as crab, lobster, monkfish, mussels,
oysters, King prawns, langoustines, sardines, swordfish and
- If dishes such as lasagne, moussaka and risotto look
like they’re swimming in oil, use a serviette or piece of
bread to soak up the excess. Just don’t eat the bread if
that’s the only thing available!
- Be careful when you order salads. It may seem like
you're having the healthiest option on the menu, but they may
be drowning in dressing. Don’t be afraid to ask the waiter for
it to come with dressing on the side.
- Remember, you don't have to sample every item on offer,
eat everything on your plate or go for all three courses. For
example, have a starter or dessert, but not both – and vary
your combinations every day so you don’t feel you're missing
out. And if you’re on an all-inclusive holiday, remind
yourself that just because it’s all paid for, it doesn’t mean
you have to pile as much food onto your plate as you can.
- Don’t let ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffets be your diet
slayer! While it’s easy to overindulge, the good news is,
there will nearly always be plenty of healthy options to
choose from. Fill your plate just once and don’t go back for
seconds. The best options are fruit, cereal and bread for
breakfast, grilled fish or chicken with lots of vegetables and
salad for main meals, and fresh fruit available for desserts
- For day’s out, put together your own picnics using
fresh foods from local stores. Stock up on fresh fruit,
tomatoes, bread and a little cheese and ham for a balanced
meal that won’t break the calorie bank.
- Choose desserts carefully – fresh fruit salad,
ice-cream, sorbets and meringue-based puddings are good
choices. But skip the extra serving of cream or ice cream.