A healthy approach to your holiday

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Many of us are taking holidays this time of year and, along with the travel, sightseeing and relaxation, the restaurants, picnics and get-togethers with friends and family abound with tasty food temptations. With the exception of those going on spa, cycling or adventure sport holidays, most vacationers are at risk of putting on a few extra pounds. In fact, a UK study found that British holiday-goers gained between 5 and 8 pounds after a two-week trip[i].

There’s no need to panic and cancel your picnic plans. With a little planning and knowledge you can have your cake- or mojito, or ice cream- and eat it too. That’s why in today’s post we take a closer look at certain foods considered “healthy” and those considered “unhealthy”. As with most things, the key is moderation.

Fruit

True, it’s natural sugar, but fruit contains sugar all the same. With our daily sugar consumption already higher than many of us realize, eating too much fruit can take us over our daily limit. More than 5 piece of fruit, especially “sugary” tropical fruits or graps, may do just that. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about your choices, and consume fruit in moderation, choosing fresh fruit over dried or canned options, and limiting fruit juices, which may contain hidden sugars and calories. Finally, if you suffer from acid reflux, consider that tomatoes and citrus fruits can aggravate your symptoms.

Water

While good hydration is fundamental and most people don’t drink enough water, it is possible to drink too much. In general, the colour of your urine is a good gauge: the clearer it is, the more water you are consuming, and you should aim for between 3 and 5 litres per day, never having more than 1 litre per hour.

Salad

Just because something is called a “salad” does not mean it’s actually that healthy. While base of greens may be good for you, it’s often what we add that ends up lowering the nutritional value and raising the calories. Salads weighted down by salad creams, cheese and nuts can be no better than a rich dessert.

Tomato ketchup

This low calorie probably gets a bad reputation because of the company it tends to keep, such as hamburgers, hotdogs and chips. In fact, for men, tomato ketchup and tomato sauce have both been associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and a higher sperm count.

Guacamole

Although this Mexican dip is high in calories, it is high in vitamins and essential fatty acids that have a cholesterol-lowering effect. If the danger with salads are the creams and toppings, with guacamole it’s the reverse: the tortillas chips, sour cream and cheese that normally accompanying this otherwise healthy sauce.

Barbecue

Barbecues are much more than hamburgers. It’s time to get creative and nowadays, more than ever before, menus and supermarkets are making it easier to do so, with turkey, chicken and vegetarian patties readily available and an increasing variety of grilled vegetable recipes making barbecues heart smart and calorie wise.

Indulging

With all of the “good for you/bad for you” information on the internet and beyond, it’s easy to go overboard in our quest for good health and forget that enjoying something “in moderation” still means enjoying it. If you are someone who, still in the middle of your meal, is talking about how fattening or unhealthy it is, chances are you aren’t even enjoying the experience. For most of us, allowing ourselves the occasional small pleasures, and savour every moment.

Wherever you’re from, wherever you’re bound, striking the balance between enjoying yourself and going overboard is the key to a healthy, holiday and a happy return to your day-to-day routine once your suntan has faded.

 

[i] Daily Mail (July 8th 2011) All-you-can-eat America: Average weight gain for Britons holidaying in the USA is 8lb. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk

 

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