By: Cloe Matheson
Vacationing sometime soon? You probably look forward to tasting the local delicacies on offer. But while you should definitely enjoy the cuisine of the culture you visit, a too laissez-faire attitude to eating out can lead to avoidable weight gain.
Luckily, it’s entirely possible to enjoy food abroad while still maintaining a healthy figure. How can you do this? Follow our easy tips and tricks to keep yourself accountable.
JOIN A WALKING FOOD TOUR
Combine your passions for food and exercise by booking a walking food tour in the city or region of your travel. Enjoy tapas and local artisanal foods, see the sights and burn calories – so you can consume more. From wine-tasting trips to brunch-dedicated outings, there’ll be a food tour to suit anyone. When traveling it is great to try new foods.
PRACTICE THE ART OF MODERATION
Moderation: we hear it all the time, but it’s worth reiterating – especially if you’re a real foodie who is unwilling to give up treats. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to!
If you commit to an 80/20 ratio where the majority of your diet is made of unprocessed fruit, vegetables, and protein, then the other 20% is yours to splurge while abroad. Wine, cheese, waffles – whatever’s been on your gastronomic bucket list for ages, you can still check off.
And don’t confine yourself to thinking of “healthy” food as only salad leaves and quinoa, either. Once you arrive and get past the common outlets of fatty, processed food provided for convenience, you’ll likely find a national cuisine that celebrates local produce and wholesome eats. Thus, committing to eating healthy can go hand-in-hand with discovering the true culture of the country that you’re visiting.
You may already have planned to walk your way through your globetrotting, but how can you keep up with targeted, muscle-specific exercises if you can’t visit a gym? For situations like these, it pays to have exercises up your sleeve that only require minimal equipment (if any equipment at all). Along with walking or hiking, consider basing your travel around activities which will exercise your cardiovascular system– try hiking to a picturesque mountain lookout, cycling around a nearby lake or reserve, or skiing if you’re lucky to be near the snow.
If you are usually a gym bunny and want to maintain your strength, don’t worry: there are many ways to keep up your exercise routine from the comfort of your hotel room. Make use of the equipment you have on hand: 2-litre water bottles make for great makeshift dumbbells for your triceps curls! Also, consider bringing a lightweight mobility and strength band to assist with everything from resistance push-ups to glute kickbacks.
PREP BEFOREHAND, AND HAVE A RECOVERY PLAN FOR AFTER
The worst-case scenario is that you can’t help going a little overboard with food and drink while abroad. If this happens, don’t beat yourself up: we all expect to gain a pound or two after a week of consuming culinary delights. The key is to plan around this eventuality. Tip: you can plan your travel by using an app.
Increasing your fitness and refining your diet before leaving will literally allow you more wiggle-room to fit in extra calories. Upon return, getting back into your normal, healthy routine will ensure that your great holiday memories remain firmly in your mind, not around your thighs. By getting your mindset away from the “holidays are an excuse to go crazy” attitude, you will truly begin to enter and maintain sustainable, healthy food habits – whether you’re at home or abroad.