The time of year where we’re all jetting off on summer holidays is fast approaching and for a lot of us, that will mean facing the all-inclusive buffet three times a day, every day for a week, if not more, which as fun as that sounds, if you’re on a diet, it can be a struggle!
All inclusive holidays usually serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner in the form of an ‘all you can eat’ buffet for you to take your pick of hot dishes, cooked meats and fish, carbs, salad and veg, desserts and more. So, it really is down to you what and how much you eat but when it’s all in front of you, where do you start?
You don’t want to ruin all the hard work you did in the run-up to your holiday by binging at the buffet, but you can still enjoy every meal of the day without feeling restricted, you just have to choose wisely and portion control properly and that’s what we’re going to help you with today.
The Breakfast Buffet
You walk through the doors of the restaurant and the first thing that hits you is the smell of bacon, sausages, toast and all those other greasy cooked breakfast foods that as unhealthy as they are, taste delicious. But remember they’re likely to make you feel bloated and sluggish, which isn’t how you want to feel on holiday, so keeping these foods to a minimum is a good idea to keep you looking and feeling your best on the beach!
There’s always plenty of fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereals to choose from at most all-inclusive buffets, so filling a bowl with some yoghurt (low fat if that’s an option!) some fruit of your choice and a sprinkling of some cereal or nuts for a little crunch is the perfect way to kick start the day.
The Lunch Buffet
A lot of the time you find yourself not wanting lunch on holiday because of the heat, but that could lead to snacking on unhealthy treats throughout the afternoon, so it’s better to opt for a small, light lunch to keep you full and away from the ice creams.
Cooked meats and fish are usually readily available at lunchtime at all-inclusive buffets and there’s usually a pretty extensive salad bar too, so it’s relatively easy to throw together a filling and tasty salad that is fresh and light on your stomach so you feel well energised, but not bloated, for the afternoon ahead.
Try and opt for meats such as chicken, turkey or pork if it’s on offer or non-battered fishes. There’s also sometimes cold meats and cheeses for you to choose from which can work as an alternative if freshly cooked proteins aren’t available.
If you fancy something sweet, yoghurt and fruit is usually available for dessert at lunchtime or if you want to treat yourself to something a little higher in calories, enjoy in moderation – you’re on holiday after all.
The Dinner Buffet
Following the meal plan we’ve laid out above, you’ve had plenty of protein and probably already eaten your 5 a day which leaves you a little more freedom to enjoy foods such as carbs and sugars at dinner time.
Still look to make the majority of your plate meat or fish and vegetables or salad but opting for potatoes, rice or pasta in a relevant portion doesn’t have to be avoided and can definitely be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.
The pre-made dishes such as curries, stews can sometimes be a great healthy option, but the calorie, salt, fat and sugar contents are usually unknown. So, if you’re really being strict, sticking to foods you roughly know the nutritional information of is probably best but if you want to try something, you just watch your portion and enjoy in moderation!
If you’ve stuck to this meal plan all day then it’s definitely time for a sweet treat, so if you want to head to the dessert counter and grab yourself some ice cream or one of the desserts they have made up then do so! Don’t forget that you’re on holiday to enjoy yourself so letting go of your usual at-home diet a little is nothing to worry about.
Drinking on Holiday
It often isn’t the ‘all you can eat’ food that is the issue on holiday but the ‘all you can drink bar’ and if you’re watching your weight while you’re away then being careful with your drinks order is important.
A lot of us like a tipple on holiday and you shouldn’t stop yourself all together because you’re there to relax and have fun but you can make good choices with your drinks to avoid gaining excessive amounts of weight on holiday.
Spirits with diet mixers are generally your best best for keeping the calories down on alcohol, so make sure you specify to the bartender you want diet coke or lemonade with your drink, as well as slimline tonic if you’re going for a G&T.
Lager and wine are relatively high in calories and there’s not a lot that you can do to change that apart from drinking in smaller quantities.
Cocktails are usually very high in sugar due to the full-sugar mixers and syrups used and again, this can’t really be changed, so if you’re being extra conscious of your calorie intake, keeping cocktails to a minimum might be your best option. But if you’re trying to make healthy choices when and where possible then you may not feel you need to worry about this as much.
The key thing with drinking on holiday is to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause weight gain in itself as you find yourself reaching for food when you’re actually thirsty and it also slows down your metabolism but above all, you become dehydrated quicker and more dramatically in hotter temperatures. So, if you’re lying in the sun, always have a bottle of water with you and continue to drink that, even when drinking alcohol!
So, just because you’re being faced with an ‘all you can eat’ buffet, doesn’t mean you have to ruin all your hard work in trying to lose weight. You just need to think about your choices, control your portions and enjoy everything in moderation!
Do you have any top tips for eating well on holiday? Let us know!