Following a holiday, eating healthily can become a distant memory. Plan, prep and race your way to a healthy gut with six simple tips
Reclining on a sunbed while a cocktail is brought to you, indulging in a traditional holiday ice cream treat, piling up your plate from the wide-ranging buffet and all without having to move a muscle. A holiday like this is something which many of us will have been lucky enough to enjoy this summer. While this may have been a welcomed rest from cooking and shopping, the change in our diet could mean our gut health has suffered. Following my recent all-inclusive holiday in Bulgaria, this is something I can certainly relate to.
Admiral Travel Insurance has revealed more than three quarters (77%) of holidaymakers think they eat more on holiday with 68% of Brits believing they gain weight after a holiday. Even more shocking — on average, Brits consume an additional 8,750 calories while on holiday which is roughly “an additional 1,250 calories per day, over a seven-day holiday.”
September signals a time for adjusting back to normal routines, but it is also a time to make positive changes. Improving our gut health can be one of these and our diet is key to this. This doesn’t mean you have to follow the latest fad, but simply follow a healthy and balanced diet. Here are few tips to help you get back on track.
And no, I don’t mean alcohol. Chances are that extra cocktail by the pool may have left you a little dehydrated, so it is important to consume lots of water. The adult human body is made up of approximately 60% water, so it essential that we replenish this. And, drinking a glass before a meal can help to make you feel full which means less snacking!
TIP: If you’re not a fan of water, try adding some cucumber and mint to give a little flavour.
Keep a food diary
During a busy day, often the odd afternoon cake temptation can get over-looked. Keeping a note of everything you have eaten on a daily basis can be a helpful way of staying aware of your diet. At the end of each day, record everything you have eaten including snacks and drinks.
Digestive charity Guts UK claim: “Food monitoring can be a useful way to keep track of what and how much you are eating.
“It can help people to identify parts of their diets that could be improved or changed to help them achieve a healthier diet, healthier lifestyle and weight loss if needed.”
Never shop on an empty stomach
We’ve all heard this before, but it’s a good motto to adopt if possible. Ever pushed your trolley round the supermarket as your stomach growls? Everything looks delicious and is calling at you, ready to jump off the shelves into your trolley, but this can be bad for our gut and our wallet. Even if you don’t have time for a proper meal, simply having a nutritious and filling snack, such as a rice cake with peanut butter, will help take your mind off your hunger and allow you to focus on what you actually need. Bonus — it will save you money too!
Plan, plan, plan
It can be nice to visualise a week of delicious healthy meals ahead of you. Identifying what you will eat throughout the week means you will have a clear idea of what to put on your shopping list and you’re less likely to be tempted by naughty treats. Pick half an hour, sit down with a cuppa and list meals which will fit around your budget and lifestyle. We all need a treat from time to time; it’s good for the soul and planning these in is just as vital as the healthy stuff. If you have something to work towards then you’re more likely to stay on track. Saturday night is my treat night and having my favourite chocolate to sink my teeth into at the end of a busy week definitely works for me!
Prep like a pro!
After a long and busy day, the last thing you feel like doing is taking the time and effort to cook a healthy meal — I hear you! This is where batch cooking comes in. Sunday afternoons offer the perfect opportunity to get in the kitchen and get ahead on the weekly evening meals. Once you know your activities for the week, you can cook meals to fit around them, divide them into portions and freeze any you don’t need straight away. All that’s required is a little bit of advance planning. Food Revolution Network claim batch cooking will change your life by leaving you more free time for the things you want to do during the week and you never have to worry about what to eat. It may take a couple of hours out of your weekend, but you’ll thank yourself later.
TIP: Adding lemon juice to a nutritious salad means you can store it in the fridge for longer which is great for weekday lunchtimes.
Be kind to yourself
If you fall off the wagon one day and aren’t quite as healthy as you hoped to be, don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens. The important thing is that you forgive yourself, realise it is a one-off and move on. There are plenty more days when you have been healthy and you need to remember that. This is something I often still struggle with, but we are only human after all.
What are your tips for staying on track? Share them.