Surviving the holiday kitchen

Surviving the holiday kitchen

Tips to stay in control of your diet when on vacation

By Kari Heron

Published: Fri 8 Jul 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 8 Jul 2016, 2:00 AM

It's summer, and that means you are probably counting the days until you go on leave and escape the heat. However, if you are heading out for an extended holiday this summer, one thing you will have to deal with is not having the convenience and familiarity of your own kitchen.
Last year, I went to Europe for a month and had the luxury of staying solo in my friend's holiday apartment. With fresh fruit markets and grocers in walking distance, and lots of space in the fridge and cupboards, I was able to stock up on my preferred foods easily and had control over what was in the house. It was not surprising that I managed to make healthy balanced meals daily and even surpassed my vacation fitness goals. The critical thing was that I was in complete control - even though the kitchen was a new one for me to cook in. But this year, things are very different.
A visit to my home country, this year, led me to discover that my mother had opened a coffee shop and was doing all the baking at home. Imagine waking up to mornings with freshly brewed Jamaican coffee and lots and lots of artisanal cakes and pastries that transport you back to your childhood. I can honestly say all thoughts of a diet went out the window. Yes, there are lots of fresh vegetables and enough kale, celery, green apples and fresh fruit to make superbly healthy paleo meals, but who wants to cook or fix a meal when you can simply slice some warm banana bread or grab a couple of plantain tarts? Certainly not me. Obviously, staying with family or friends does not make it easy to be in control. But if, like me, you're staying at someone else's house, and want to remain in control of what you eat, here are a few tips to keep things in check, and survive the holiday kitchen.
1. Consider getting up a little earlier than others to prepare your first meal for yourself. That will help you avoid temptation, especially if you're famished and can easily be tempted into eating a lot of carbs.
2. Find a fun fitness activity to do first thing in the morning. Whether it is a walk, jog, run, workout, game of tennis or a swim, find something to do for at least 30-60 minutes, everyday.
3. Try to avoid trigger foods and drinks early in the day. If coffee makes you want cake, have green tea instead.
4. Remember the 3Ps: Prince, Peasant, Pauper. Eat like a prince in the morning - this will fuel you for a more active day (instead of a massive carb crash after a sugary breakfast) - a peasant at lunch - good quality protein, healthy fats and lots of fresh or cooked vegetables;  carbs should be no more than half a cup - dine like a pauper with just a small serving of soup and a large, light salad.
5. Eat dinner before 8pm. Studies have shown that having an early dinner makes you feel lighter and sleep better.
6. f you want to consume caloric beverages, cut back on food to achieve a balanced caloric intake.
7. Shop for healthy snacks and food to supplement the not-so-healthy foods that will be readily available in the kitchen.
8. Keep your foods and snacks in separate containers so you can grab them anytime.

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