Cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts are where diets go to die – their famous buffets seem custom-made to pack on some pounds.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, and in fact, unleashing your inner glutton when you’re traveling can be counterproductive to experiencing your travel adventure to the fullest. As nutritionists will tell you, your body is a machine and food is the fuel, so you need to put good fuel into the engine. And that’s especially true of the first meal of the day, particularly when you’re traveling and your days and nights are filled with activity.
In short, you need to fuel up at the start of each day so that you have the energy to fully enjoy yourself. According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy breakfast consists of complex carbs, fiber and protein. That means you should be eating:
- Whole grains, such as whole grain rolls or bagels, whole-grain cereals or bran muffins.
- Lean protein, such as eggs, lean meat (turkey sausage!) or peanut butter.
- Low-fat dairy, such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt.
- Fruit. Those all-you-can-eat buffets usually have piles and piles of fresh fruit. Feel free to dig in.
As our friends at Expat Health pointed out last week, you don’t want to consume “high glycemic” foods for breakfast – that is a recipe for crashing two or three hours later, right when you’re standing in line at Louvre. Specifically, you want to eat low glycemic foods – maybe a vegetable omelet with whole grain toast. That means avoiding the high glycemic foods that you think you might deserve because you’re on vacation – skip the waffles and crumpets, jams and marmalades, and sugary cereals.
Another helpful hint is to stock your hotel room with healthy alternatives such as bottled water, a jar of peanut butter, fresh fruit and other healthy snacks. You can make yourself a quick breakfast in the room before a day of sightseeing, and/or pack a healthy snack to help you keep your energy up.
You don’t need to be super-strict about your diet when you’re on holiday, and you obviously will want to sample the local fare. But when possible, start your day of healthily and you’ll have a much better chance of still being at your best for the 10 p.m. dinner reservation in Barcelona.