Nutritional therapist Amelia Freer explains how to stick to a healthy diet and lifestyle on your summer holiday.
1. Holidays are great for your health. Most people work hard and experience a lot of stress, so it’s important not to try to do too much on holiday. Sleep as much as you can – get to bed early, lie in and take naps to help your adrenal glands recover and encourage relaxation.
2. Travelling can put a strain on your health and diet. Try to avoid processed and junk food at airports and on the flight. These will give you an immediate sugar rush, followed quickly by an energy slump – when you’ll want to have another sugary snack.
3. Plan what you’ll eat on the journey. Take a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts and seeds for snacks. I like Bounce Balls and Nakd bars, both are natural with no added sugar. I usually pack a salad in a Tubberware box to eat on the flight.
4. Drink plenty of water, especially when flying. All that air-conditioning and the thin air in the sky really dehydrates your body.
5. When on holiday, eat a big healthy breakfast, such as fruit and natural yoghurt followed by eggs or smoked salmon on wholewheat toast. Eat a good lunch plus snacks in the morning and afternoon and try to have a light dinner with no starchy carbohydates (pasta, potatoes or rice).
6. Take advantage of local and seasonal food. If you’re staying by the sea, eat lots of fresh grilled fish. Oily fish – including sardines, fresh tuna, salmon and mackerel – is particularly good as it’s rich in Omega 3, which keeps your skin hydrated and encourages healthy digestion as well as weight loss.
7. If you do plan a boozy night out, eat plenty of protein first and try to alternate glasses of alcohol with water. A couple of glasses of red wine is the best option. Cava has been found to be good for blood sugar management – it releases its sugar slowly into the body. Cocktails are the worst due to all the sweet mixers and sugar in them.
8. Try to eat a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables – oranges, red peppers, green courgettes, yellow sweet corn – to get a wide range of antioxidants.
9. Lying in the sun feels great but you only need 10 minutes of unprotected sunshine to get your daily dose of vitamin D. After that you should use sunblock. As we get older, the collagen in our skin breaks down more rapidly, leading to lines, wrinkles and discolouring.
10. To prevent the breaking down of collagen, eat lots of purple fruits, such as fresh blackberries, blueberries and black grapes. One study showed that eating tomatoes reduces your risk of turning red in the sun so have a glass of tomato juice – though it’s much safer to use sunblock!