Holiday excess! Two words we do not like at all. We all usually come home with excess baggage from our holiday. Excess because of the new clothes, gifts for friends and souvenirs. But what about the excess weight around your waistline and butt? This is a usual occurrence after a great vacation where we return heavier than we left due to over-eating and drinking, and not getting enough exercise.
This post relates to our recent 3 weeks in Italy, France and the UK where we managed to return as we departed: fit and healthy. Here are a few hints on how to have a great holiday that could leave you a little lighter in body, enriched in mind, and save you some cash as well.
It Starts Before You Leave
Being healthy and fit is a lifestyle choice. We look for holidays with an element of adventure (Great Wall of China marathon for example) and one where you get to walk a lot and experience the country and its culture. We try to book accommodation with kitchens so we can prepare our own healthy meals and snacks (is usually less expensive too) and we always bring our running shoes and swim goggles just in case.
Your First Challenge- Plane Food/Boat
If you know you have a long journey ahead with bad catering then eat a bigger, more nutritious meal before you leave. Bring healthy snacks along so you will not be tempted to eat the bread, pasta and dessert on the plane. I simply eat the salad, protein and a small piece of the cheese on the flight. If there is a sandwich I do not take it but then enjoy some of the snacks I prepared such as almonds and dried apricots. If the dessert looks particularly good then I will open it and appreciate the smell before putting it away!
The planning also relates to where you stay. We prefer to book through airbnb.com and booking.com so we can get a place for the 4 of us with a kitchen. This turns out to be a lot less expensive as you are not reliant on the local restaurant for your food. We had some of our best breakfasts cooked in our little kitchens with the favorites being Banana Pancakes, Vegetable Omelette, Bacon with Scrambled Eggs and a simple Greek Natural Yoghurt with Dried Figs.
When you have a kitchen in your apartment you tend to get a bigger fridge too. So, if I did not feel like cooking (or time did not permit) then we bought an already Roasted Chicken from the market and combined that with our cucumbers, carrots, Roma tomatoes, spinach leaves and a nice wine.
You cannot beat a nice picnic. The open air, the breeze, the sun, and nature calling out to you make them memorable. Simply get together your previously purchased cheese, dried meats, fruits and vegetables into a basket and head to a sunny place. We did this in the gorgeous Tuscan city of Siena.
This all involves thinking ahead at least 3 meals in advance so that you are not left unprepared and with no choice but to eat the croissant with jam, sandwich or over-price food for tourists. Whilst a croissant is tasty, with the butter and processed flour it is not Primed. There are better alternatives that are more nutritious and tasty if you plan ahead.
Local Markets and Suppliers
We loved visiting and supporting the local markets and food purveyors. They are passionate and usually have great produce. You can often try some of their products before you buy to test for freshness and flavor. We bought some of the best dried meats, pork, avocados, strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes that I have tasted in a long time.
Snacking healthily is very important so that you are not tempted to eat that chocolate bar, packet of chips or drink loaded with sugar and preservatives. We always ensured we had a good supply of almonds, pistachios (we enjoyed a whole packet whilst waiting in line outside Versailles), dried fruits such as prunes and apricots, boiled eggs (we will post soon how to easily boil a perfect egg), as well as iced green tea, iced coffee (no added sugar) and plenty of water.
When dining out it is also quite easy to maintain your Primed Lifestyle. Simply inform the waiter that there is no need for bread to start with, ask for salad instead of the fries, ask to substitute the creamy dressing with a vinaigrette, ask for the burger with no bun and just look for items that incorporate protein and vegetables without the grains, sugars and less dairy.
An added benefit of eating more nutritiously is that you will have more energy to walk around and experience the country you are visiting.
Walking is the most economical mode of transport. This is essential in cities like Paris and London where a taxi is so expensive. We loved walking everywhere around the city and country side as you get to see and appreciate more. You meet the locals, have a chat and laugh, and get fitter too.
It is possible to have a great holiday without packing on the pounds and feeling guilty when you return home. I once spent two weeks in Adelaide and returned home 5 kilos heavier due to the beer, pasta, breads, iced coffee and chocolate that I ate and drank. I enjoyed that food but not the results. That is why I am very happy to maintain my Primed Lifestyle and have not had a beer or any grain products for over 4 months now.
Feel free to contact me at our gmail address if you feel you might need a Lifestyle Coach to help you get started on a healthier lifestyle.