For many, the best part of a vacation is to experience delicious meals and soak in the local flavours. However, all this gluttony can impact your health and show up on your waistline. Here are some easy tips to keep in mind while eating out during your vacation. We spoke to Dr Manoj Kuteri, wellness director at Atmantan Wellness Centre at Mulshi, near Pune, Maharashtra, and he says meal planning is the key.
1) Carry your own snacks. Avoid the temptation of snacking at airports as you are more likely to pick up unhealthy options such as pizza, burgers, cookies or chips. Carry trail mixes, home-made granola, popcorn, chopped raw vegetables with hummus and fruits like apple, plums and pears.
2) Find a supermarket or a farmer’s market as soon as you reach your destination. Pick up some fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds that can serve as snacks or a breakfast alternative during your stay.
3) Fill up on healthy foods at the breakfast or lunch buffet, especially if you are staying at a resort. Focus on getting plenty of fresh fruits, salads and greens, and whole grains such as oatmeal on your plate. Then, if you are forced to eat some lesser healthy meals throughout the day, you will have at least eaten plenty of produce and fibre at one or two meals.
4) Choose sit-down restaurants instead of fast food establishments during your travels. This might take extra time, but you will have a better opportunity to ask your server how food items are prepared and add special requests for healthier meals, such as dressings on the side, grilled or broiled instead of fried, and substituting vegetables and salads for fried side dishes.
6) Select fatty fish such as salmon, grilled chicken, fresh salads, broth-based soups and wraps or sandwiches without sauces as your entrées, instead of deep-fried foods with heavy cream sauces.
7) Share your meals around the table. Serving sizes at standard restaurants can easily feed two people. If you have a party of four, consider selecting only two to three entrées and sharing them. Even if the food can’t be classified as healthy, eating less is better than enjoying the whole thing yourself.
8) Choose your splurges wisely, but do allow for some splurges — it is, after all, a vacation. Consider your favourite things and enjoy them, but pass on the things you can easily find at home. For example, you can have a sauce-filled cheesy roll at home, but that gourmet tiramisu or top-shelf martini can be harder to come by.