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Nutrition

Diet – what diet?

Enjoy dining out on holiday, without piling on the calories… 

While everyone wants to relax on holiday and enjoy themselves, it doesn't have to be a choice between feast or famine. If you're worried about undoing all your good work after weeks on a bikini diet, then Dr Áine O'Connor at the British Nutrition Foundation has some invaluable tips. We've compiled her advice into three handy sections below.

“Healthy eating and exercise habits can easily slip when on holiday,” she says. “Of course you want to enjoy yourself, but don’t worry, healthy eating is about making the right choices and not depriving yourself of food. There are some simple measures you can take to continue a healthy lifestyle on your holiday and still make the most of your time away. A holiday can also be a great opportunity to be active so you can return home feeling healthy and refreshed.”

Lighter menu options

  • Avoid creamy or buttery dishes, like carbonara, and go for vegetable or tomato-based sauces instead.
  • When choosing side dishes, fill up on salads and vegetables rather than chips. Choose ones that aren’t in butter or creamy sauces or dressings, or ask for the dressing on the side.
  • Choose a starter or a dessert, rather than both.
  • Try to incorporate fruit into your meal, whether it's for breakfast or dessert.
  • If you’ve had a big breakfast, go for a light lunch which should be enough to keep you going until dinner.
  • Drink water (still or sparkling) rather than choosing sugary soft drinks or high-calorie alcoholic drinks.

Better buffet choices

  • Use a small plate and try not to overfill it. You can always go back up for seconds if you are still hungry.
  • Start with the vegetables and salads and fill your plate up with these.
  • You can still sample the wide variety on offer by having small portions of each dish.
  • When choosing dessert, fill most of the plate up with fresh fruit and then small pieces of the more indulgent cakes or puddings.
  • Choose fruit-based desserts.
  • Turn down the cream or ice cream and go for a drizzle of crème fraiche or yoghurt instead.
  • If you fancy a little of something sweet, you could always share your dessert.

Sensible drinking

  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water to limit how much alcohol you have.
  • Drink alcohol with food rather than on its own.
  • Choose beers or lagers that have a lower alcohol content (ABV).
  • Choose the smaller measure or drink wine from a smaller glass. One medium glass of wine (175ml) contains 120 calories.
  • Avoid creamy liqueurs and creamy cocktails.
  • Ask for low-sugar alternatives to mixers, such as diet lemonade and diet cola, or slim-line tonic

Further information

The Department of Health recommends that women should not regularly drink more than two to three units a day and men three to four units a day, with a couple of days' break each week from alcohol.

For more information and advice on diet and nutrition, visit the British Nutrition Foundation website.