Here is a sneak peak of my upcoming Nutrition 101 article in Oasis magazine.
How not to sabotage your healthy eating during summer vacation
The basic concepts of healthy eating are pretty simple. Don’t take in more calories than you expend. Eat a varied diet that includes lots of fresh, whole foods. Limit the amount of foods you consume that have low nutritional quality and/or negative health consequences. When you’re away from the comforts of home we all know it can be a bit more of a challenge to eat this way on a consistent basis. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you don’t sabotage your healthy eating during summer vacation.
A recent study concluded, perhaps unsurprisingly, that eating out at restaurants was associated with increased caloric and fat intakes, as well as lower intakes of micronutrients, especially vitamin C, calcium and iron, while another study suggested a positive relationship between the consumption of food away from home and weight gain. Basically people who eat out frequently are more likely to be obese and have poorer diet quality. As a result it’s probably a good idea to limit your meals at restaurants during your travels this summer.
When you do find yourself in a situation when you need to eat out at a restaurant:
- Don’t eat out when you’re really hungry as you’ll be more likely to overeat
- If provided, use nutrition information and choose lower calorie options
- Be aware of portion sizes – don’t be afraid to share food or take-away leftovers
- Request gravies and dressings on the side and use only a small amount
- Don’t add salt or butter to your food – there’s usually already plenty included
- Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets
Chances are that for at least part of your summer break you’ll be spending time with family members you haven’t seen in a while. This often means family get-togethers with food. Lots of food.
By no means do you need to avoid family gatherings, but you need to be aware of what and how much you’re eating at these functions. Don’t eat just because food is there and when meal time rolls around don’t go in for second helpings. Alcoholic beverages also tend to have a lot more calories than people realize. If you do choose to imbibe, do so in moderation.
Egypt may be fortunate enough to have an abundant amount of fresh produce year round, but chances are the place you’re travelling to isn’t that lucky. Make sure to take advantage by stopping at local markets regularly. These seasonal foods can make great snacks and picnic meals, which means you’ll be less likely to rely on high-calorie restaurant or other convenience foods.
Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you need to throw your healthy eating out the window. Keeping these tips in mind will hopefully allow you to enjoy your time away and return feeling fresh and energized (and the same size as when you left!).