After all if you cannot choose what time to get up, what time to go to bed and what to do each day when you are on holidays, when can you? So how do feel about the words healthy and travel?

If you are thinking they may encroach on your fun and sense of freedom I believe otherwise. Being healthy can provide you the foundation for enjoying the fun and freedom you seek, I do not know anybody who wants to be ill on holidays, locked up in their hotel room missing out of the fun. Feeling energised, well rested with an even mood will mean you are more likely to enjoy your holiday.

I believe the principles of quality, fresh, moderation and variety together with staying active are synonymous with healthy eating and living at home and on holidays.

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Here are my key tips on how you can protect the fun and freedom of your holidays.

  1. Optimise gut health before going on holidays. As much as 80% of our immunity resides in our gut. Holidays generally mean we are exposed to different foods and different bugs.  Aim to include pre and probiotic foods in your diet before you go.  Add good quality yoghurt to your daily diet, food containing fibre such as oats great for energy and bowel health, a banana as a snack and garlic and onions containing anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties to your meals. If you know your gut health is not what it should be consider a consult with a health practitioner on how to improve it before you leave.
  2. Eat an antioxidant rich diet before you leave and whilst away. It is true our body naturally produces free radicals however a poor diet and lifestyle will quickly add to this load. Fruit and veg are rich in antioxidants, aim to eat 5 daily serve of veg and 2 serve of fruit. If you are looking for a quick boost whilst away, drink a cup of green each day, you can take your own supply of tea bags so you can have a cup as it suits you.
  3. Prepare to be active. If you are planning an active holiday and know you generally sit on average for more than 4-6hours a day, get up and get moving at least a month before you leave. There is nothing worse than being stiff and fatigued whilst on holidays. Simple strategies include walking before or after work or at lunch, getting off the bus or train 2-3 stops earlier, using that gym membership that may be collecting dust, taking the bike out from the back of the shed at home or chasing the kids around the park on the weekend.
  4. Prepare for possible over-indulgence. Over-indulging on holidays often seems like a good idea at the time however it is not a great feeling to come back with a few extra kilos. Consider investing in 4-6 weeks of healthier eating and living before you go. It should have you feeling more energised, sleeping better with a more even mood and a couple of kilos lighter. And because you will love feeling so good, you may just go a little gentler on the over-indulging whilst you are away.

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Healthy Travel Tips    

  1. Sync in with the time zone.  Reduce the risk of sleepless nights that can lead to frayed tempers by syncing your body clock with the new time zone. Get up and go for a walk in the sun, the exercise and sunshine will assist your body to sync your circadian rhythm with the new time zone.  And if you find you wake a little stiff from sleeping in a new bed try a few gentle body stretches each morning.
  2. Keep an eye on your portion sizes. Food can be an adventure into sight, smell, taste and touch and an important aspect to savour in the culture of a country, so I encourage you to experiment and enjoy the local food. However moderate and align portion sizes to the amount of daily activity you are doing.
  3. If indulging, indulge in healthier foods. Be selective with your meals and if you find the food too good to refuse consider alternating 1-2 days of heavier meals with 1-2 days of lighter meals. Or consider eating a lighter lunch, in warm weather a healthy salad is hard to beat. It is important to enjoy the local food without feeling as if your freedom and fun is under threat.
  4. Invest in a good breakfast, particularly if you are being more active than usual. It will stabilise your blood sugar levels, boost your energy levels and help get you through to lunch feeling calm and centred.
  5. Keep good supplies of healthy and great tasting snacks on hand. Take a shopping trip to the local supermarket. You will get the opportunity to meet locals, experiment with some basic phrases in the local language, find out what locals eat and you may save some money. Consider nuts, seeds, fruit and veg that are easy to chop and take with you (think carrots, celery, capsicum, snow peas and avocado). You can also buy dips such as hummus and tomatoes, lettuce, freshly baked grain or seed bread and possibly a little taste of local produce to make lunch on a day out. And remember buying snacks to take on plane trips means you can avoid the temptation of chips, chocolate and soft drinks that can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable.
  6. Drink water. The body has its own detox mechanisms and systems, it includes the kidneys. If you are eating your 5 serve of daily veg and 2 serve of fruit you generally need 4-5 x 250mLs glasses of water. However if you are not quite hitting your normal fruit and veg intake whilst away, add a little more water particularly if you are in a humid country.  And if you are feeling peckish and it is between meals, try a glass of water first as often we mistake thirst for hunger.
  7. Take the opportunity to get active. When away we generally have more freedom and time in our daily routine so take the opportunity to be more active. If it is a rest and recharge holiday, I still encourage you to engage in some form of activity. It is of course important to listen to your body and dial up and down your activity based on your energy levels and how you feel.
  8. Be aware of bugs. Most gastro bugs are food or water borne and hence found in poorly prepared food or untreated water. To reduce your risk of stomach upset, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea particularly in countries whose hygiene standards are not as good as those at home use only boiled or bottled water, avoid ice drinks and avoid unpasteurised milk and dairy products. And when eating meals avoid fruit and vegetables likely washed in local water and eat properly cooked food whilst still hot.   

To contact Jan McLeod:

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.madforhealth.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MadforHealthJanMcLeod