As your flight lands, as your car pulls into the drive, the reluctance of being home and back to normality arrives…and the holiday blues kick in. Then add to that the realisation of how many ice creams, pastries, glasses of wine and pints of beer you have consumed and you wish you were still on holiday, and not worrying about how many pounds you may have gained over your week or two away.
With a large majority of us holidaying abroad it means we are often surrounded by new foods, so identifying the healthier choices can be difficult. Whilst being on holiday is naturally a time for indulgence, you can still make some smart choices to ensure you don’t go too far overboard and have that feeling of regret when you get home. Below are some handy hints on making healthier food choices whilst away in some popular European holiday destinations.
Spanish food is full of flare and flavour, here are some healthier suggestions of what to choose while you’re basking in the Spanish sun.
Tortilla Española - aka Spanish Omelette. A thick omelette made with potatoes, traditionally the only filling is potatoes however you can get varieties that include spinach, courgette, peppers, and opt for it to be served with a side salad too.
Gazpacho - a very refreshing, cold tomato soup, made with only fresh tomatoes, garnished with avocado and cucumber and served with fresh bread.
Tapas - these small but delicious dishes can be very energy dense but fortunately there will always be some that are healthier choices. Those including fish or marinated seafood that are not breaded and/or deep-fried are smart choices, or any vegetable based tapas. Just try to avoid too many of those swimming in oil and chorizo.
Paella - one of the most iconic Spanish dishes, a rice based dish that can include chicken, chorizo, fish and seafood. Opt for a seafood variety and be aware of your portion size. Ask for a side of salad to go with it.
The French are world renowned for their bread and their cheese, which can make healthier food choices difficult, however the dishes below can offer a delicious alternative to what seems like a never ending supply of bread and cheese.
Niçoise Salad - this famous French salad never gets old and it is a firm favourite in many French restaurants. It is a combination of tuna, green beans, eggs, tomato, olives, anchovies, rocket and potatoes, so you’ll get at least 2 of your 5 A DAY and plenty of lean protein.
Ratatouille - made even more famous by the popular film, this tomato based vegetable dish is delicious on its own, or coupled with chicken or fish, or as a crepe filling. Red peppers, aubergine and courgette are the usual vegetables within a tomato sauce.
Baguettes - the French are renowned for their bread, more specifically the baguette which originates from France. Whilst typically made with white flour, there are many bakeries and supermarkets within France that are catching onto the rising popularity of wholegrain carbohydrates making wholemeal baguettes readily available for you whilst on holiday. Choosing wholemeal will be a great way to boost your fibre intake whilst on holiday.
The Greeks are known for their Mediterranean style diet, which is typically very nutritious, therefore a holiday in Greece coupled with eating well ‘should’ be a dream.
Greek Salad – typically made of a few simple ingredients; cucumber, onion, tomatoes, green pepper, olives, feta and dressed with dried oregano, red wine vinegar and olive oil. A refreshing salad for lunch, but watch out for large portions that are often served.
Souvlaki – Greek kebabs! Chicken or pork are lean protein options - ditch the fries that will most likely come alongside flatbread and tzatziki, and add salad instead.
Tzatziki - this simple yet stunning dip will feature on numerous restaurant menus throughout Greece and its islands. Made simply from yoghurt, cucumber and mint it compliments, fish, chicken and vegetables and is a great holiday snack to dip some wholemeal bread into.
Horta Vrasta - which translates to boiled leafy greens, it can be a combination of either spinach, endive, chard or chicory making it a nutritious menu choice for your evening restaurant visits. Often served with a squeeze of lemon, horta vrasta will compliment any meal and is a delicious alternative to the typical side dishes of bread or fries.