Vacations can be a time to indulge, but for those who want to eat healthier they are also a great time to make the most of fresh fruit, vegetables and salads. Trying new local dishes will also give you a chance to load your plate with foods that are both nutritious and tasty, and may even provide some recipe inspiration for when you return home to make your diet more varied.
Here we round up some of the nutritious foods to enjoy while away, and how you can use your vacation to set some healthy habits for when you return home.
Chef Christophe Moret, from the double Michelin-starred L’Abeille restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris, France, is a fan of eating seasonal produce, not only for more nutrients but also to enjoy vegetables that are packed with flavour. Ratatouille vegetables are a great summer choice in Moret’s native France, with bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and zucchinis all in season. However, Moret points out that “it all depends where you are,” so try to stick to what’s in season where you are visiting.
Dalton Wong, trainer to Hollywood star Jennifer Lawrence, founder of TwentyTwo Training, and co-author of The Feel Good Plan, agrees: “Make the most of the seasonal food and the extra variety that you have, and eat the things that you couldn’t enjoy during the winter months. They also have more nutrients than something that has been shipped over in a container.”
Taste the rainbow
Wong also advises eating a rainbow of colours by piling your plate with a range of fruits and vegetables – even easier in summer thanks to the abundance of refreshing fruits and light salads. Brightly coloured fruits and veggies indicate a high level of antioxidants and the more colours you eat, the more nutrients you get. This can be even easier when away from home on vacation, as you are surrounded with new fresh foods in local markets and on restaurant menus, so try any exotic colourful fruits that you see and enjoy new tastes as well as a great health boost.
Fill up on fish
If you’re by a coast for your vacation, chances are there will be plenty of freshly caught fish and seafood on the menu. As well as being a great opportunity to try some local produce and new dishes, fish and seafood are also packed with vitamins and minerals. Seafood contains high levels of nutrients such as selenium and zinc, with fish and seafood also rich in omega 3. Celebrity trainer David Kirsch also stresses the importance of protein for good health, with fish one of his favourite sources. Tucking into more seafood dishes while away may also convince you to swap meat for fish one or two nights a week when back home.
Take time for breakfast
Many people skip breakfast when at home, often due to busy schedules and rushed mornings getting in the way. But on vacation you have more time to relax, so follow both Wong and Kirsch’s advice and sit down to enjoy a nutritious breakfast. Make the most of your hotel buffet and load your plate with fresh fruits, whole-fat, protein-packed yogurt, nutritious eggs, antioxidant-rich coffee and tea, and fresh, not processed, juice. Although once back home you won’t have the same amount of time, getting into good breakfast habits now might encourage you to take a bit more time in the morning for yourself once you’re back.