4 Holiday Eating Tips to Maintain Your Progress While You're Away

4 Holiday Eating Tips to Maintain Your Progress While You’re Away

TL;DR

Heading off on holiday doesn’t mean leaving your fitness goals at the airport.

Before you dive into the rum punch or endless buffets, set your intentions based on your current scenario. Whether you’re aiming for long-term health, maintaining post-goal progress, or working towards a specific target, you can enjoy your holiday without derailing your progress.

Stick to your usual meal schedule, prioritise protein and veggies, start your day with lighter meals, and moderate your alcohol intake. These simple strategies let you enjoy your holiday indulgences while keeping your fitness goals on track.

It’s about making conscious choices, not about restriction. Enjoy your holiday, and come back feeling refreshed, not regretful.

Read the full post for more context…

You’ve been waiting for this holiday for ages!

The destination’s been set; the time’s been booked off; you’ve set the itinerary. You’re good to go!

But you’ve just remembered the last time you went on holiday…

The rest was probably fine though…

It’s easy on holiday to completely overindulge, and while it feels good at the time, it can soon lead to disappointment (like the kid in Tenerife a few years ago, who piled his plate high at the buffet only to drop it on the way back to his table. He cried; we tried not to laugh (and failed…)).

If lately you’ve been working hard on improving your fitness and/or body composition, holidays pose a unique challenge: how do you balance having a great time on your “holibobs”, with the commitment to your fat loss goals?

Whether you’re eyeing a specific target, committed to long-term improvements, or maintaining your levels after reaching a goal, I’ve got some tips for how you can do that.

HOLIDAY EATING TIPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR PROGRESS WHILE YOU’RE AWAY

SET YOUR INTENTIONS BEFORE YOU STEP ON THE PLANE

The tips are coming up… but first things first.

Before you pack your bags; jump into the taxi; jump out of the taxi because you’ve forgotten something; pile back in; and head to the airport, decide what your objectives are.

Whilst my general advice is to just enjoy your holiday, knock back as much rum punch, or as many burritos as you like, that’s useless advice if you’re going to stress about what that does to you by the end of the holiday.

By thinking about it beforehand, you can make a conscious choice to either stick to the plan, or to ease off. Neither is wrong, you just need to make an active decision.

So, are you inching closer to a specific goal, like prepping for a sporting competition, getting ready for a wedding outfit, or another trip later in the year?

Or instead, are you  just trying to improve your long-term health and fitness?

Your approach to your holiday nutrition will hinge on this distinction.

  • For Long-term Thinking: Those with a broader view of fitness should embrace the holiday as a well-deserved break. A short pause in your routine can be a nice little reset, and it’s unlikely to derail your long-term progress.
  • Post-Goal Maintenance: If you’ve already hit a particular milestone, the holiday is your playground. Craving another slice of pizza? Go for it but tune into when you’re satisfied to avoid going overboard..
  • For Specific End Goals: If a particular event is on the horizon, balance is key. You can still savour your holiday meals, you just need to make some smarter choices (in which case, the following tips are for you…)

1. STICK TO YOUR USUAL MEAL SCHEDULE WHERE POSSIBLE

Holidays often turn into an all-day face-stuffing fest.

If you’re all inclusive, there’s something on hand whenever you feel peckish. If you’re sight-seeing, there’s always some local cuisine to taste, tempting treats to try.

However, if you’ve made the decision to try and maintain or continue your progress while you’re away, sticking to your usual meal structure can help you keep a lid on the calorie overload. This isn’t about restriction; and you can still enjoy your meals fully. But it will help you stay focused and avoid mindless eating.

So if you have 3 meals and a snack on a normal day at home, try to stick to that while you’re away.

2. PRIORITISE PROTEIN AND VEGETABLES

With carbs often taking centre stage in holiday meals (think pasta in Italy; rice in Asia; fries EVERYWHERE), making a conscious effort to fill most of your plate with protein and vegetables is the way forward.

This will help you feel satisfied, maintain muscle mass, and free up some room for any carb/fat-based snacks you might come across later on.

I’ve had it so many times where I’ll eat a pizza/burger and chips, and then an hour later find a local pastry shop, or come face to face with a tray of delicious bread. Then I feel bad when I (inevitably) eat it, or I feel way too full.

And I get that it’s not always possible to focus on protein and veg. Sometimes you get stuck somewhere, especially when travelling, and the options are limited. In that case you’ll do the best you can.

But when the opportunity is there to hit up some protein and veggies, take it!

3. START THE DAY LIGHT

Beginning your day with a lighter meal gives you the flexibility to indulge later when you’re more likely to encounter unique dining experiences that you won’t want to miss.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be a slap up meal every day; in fact, when I’m away, I like the fact that there’s lots of prepped fruit and yoghurt in the hotel. Sight-seeing after a full English is not the one…

 

4. MODERATE YOUR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

 

Again, if you’ve chosen to just chill on holiday, do what you want where this is concerned (although waking up with a hangover every day probably isn’t a good shout).

But again if you’ve decided to keep on top of things, a day’s worth of cocktails sat by the pool can really add up. Set yourself a cap of 2-3 or 3 drinks max per day, and bear that in mind with the rest of your eating.

(Remember that’s a maximum, not a target!)


WHAT NEXT

Navigating holiday eating doesn’t have to be a source of stress. With a bit of foresight you can fully enjoy your break without feeling like you’ve strayed to far from your targets.

The goal here isn’t to deprive or restrict yourself, but to stay true to your personal health and fitness aspirations. If you find yourself worrying about holiday eating, remember these tips and remind yourself that a few days off won’t define your long-term success—it’s what you do consistently that counts.

Got any holiday eating tips of your own?  Share your experiences in the comments below or reach out for a chat. Let’s keep each other motivated and on track, no matter where we are in the world.

  • – Got any holiday eating tips of your own?
  • – Any stories where you’ve messed this up or struggled with it?
  • – Do you find it easier to eat well on certain types of holiday than others?
  • – Is a cap on alcoholic drinks me being boring and trying to ruin your holiday?

JUMP IN THE COMMENTS AND LET ME KNOW.

Got a question about how to maintain your progress on holiday; eating tips for when you travel; or anything else related to your exercise or nutrition? You can ask that in the comments too…


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About the Author Alvin Nurse

Alvin runs Reboot Fitness Coaching and has been a Fitness Coach since 2010. When not helping awesome people in their 30s rejuvenate their bodies, you'll find him listening to music, chasing a ball, or avoiding runny yolks...

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