Recently Glo and I went on an 8-day vacation in Taiwan with my family.
If there was one thing we definitely had to do in Taiwan, it would be to eat! They are known for their bustling night markets, with lots of street food stalls ready to tempt you with their delicacies.
This is our personal favourite – a huge, juicy, flavorful and really thick piece of fried chicken cutlet coated with thin, crispy batter. Taiwan is famous for their fried chicken cutlets, but those that we’ve tried were pretty disappointing, until THIS.
This photo just doesn’t do it justice.
We had friends who asked us about our eating habits when on vacation. As advocates of health and fitness, do we eat healthy all the time when on holiday?
The simple answer is, we don’t, as you can see from our pursuit of the best fried chicken in Taiwan.
As a foodie, articles like “The Ultimate Tokyo Travel Guide for Food Lovers”, “12 Of The Most Delicious Foods in Paris”, “15 MUST EATS in Bangkok before you die” gets me salivating. (not ashamed!)
But it’s not like we completely let ourselves go either when on vacation. We still try to eat as healthy as we realistically can and we want to share with you 6 tips that we personally use for an enjoyable holiday that will still be kind to your waistline.
Tip #1: Be easier on yourself
The first tip is to simply be easier on yourself. A vacation is where we’re allowed to let our hair down and enjoy ourselves.
Just like how we can forget about work temporarily, knowing that we have to face the piling workload eventually when we return. You can think of healthy eating in a similar way.
It’s ok to stray from your healthy eating or weight loss plans for a while, with the understanding that you MUST get back on track after the trip.
That doesn’t mean that we have a free license to go on an all-out binge, but it’s perfectly ok to indulge a little when you’re on holiday since it’s not something you do very often.
Just make sure you put the rest of the tips into action as well!
Tip #2: Plan ahead and take advantage of meals where you’ll be eating healthier
This is a great way to maintain a fairly balanced diet during your trip.
Meals in Taiwan tend to be carbohydrate-dense, think lots of rice, noodles, flour-based foods, etc. Carbohydrates are not evil, but we often eat too much of it, especially when on vacation.
Our homestay provided a home-cooked buffet-style breakfast, which was possibly the healthiest meal of our day: There was a good variety of food, we could decide how much of each dish we wanted to serve ourselves and oil was also sparingly used in the cooking.
Knowing that we will definitely try many of the local delicacies that are high in carbohydrates, we tried to fill our plate with mainly protein and vegetables, while keeping carbs to a minimum. It’s all about budgeting.
You can do the same and exercise some flexibility when having your meals.
Tip #3: Share the calories
There’s so much (too much!) interesting food in Taiwan that we wanted to try and it helps that we’re travelling together in a group of 6.
If you are travelling in a group, take advantage of that and buy smaller portions, but a greater variety of foods to share so that you can try more, but still eat less – it’s the best of both worlds!
Tip #4: Order fruits and vegetables every chance you get
Statistics tell us that we’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
On vacation, with the local delicacies on display, fruits and vegetables become even less appealing.
Having fruits and most importantly, vegetables, is a must for Glo and I. We order them at every opportunity so we can get at least 2 servings of each a day.
Vegetables in particular are bang-for-buck in the nutritional sense — Low in calories, high in nutrients. There’s just no such thing as eating too much vegetables. Their high fiber content helps us feel full as well and acts as “junk food brakes”.
Plus, not having fruits and vegetables may result in constipation, which can definitely make your vacation less enjoyable.
Tip #5: Eat slowlyyyy
Our bodies take approximately 20 minutes to recognize feelings of fullness.
When we’re on vacation and surrounded by delicious food, a packed itinerary might cause us to gobble everything down and we’ll end up eating more than we need before our body even realizes it.
To avoid this, simply be aware of your eating speed. Eating slowly is proven to help you eat less. If you realize you’re eating too quickly, just pause and chew your food more thoroughly between bites to slow yourself down.
Tip #6: Don’t drink your calories
It’s easy to over-consume liquid calories from sweetened beverages such as soda, milk tea or even juices since they don’t provide the same feelings of satiety that solid food does.
Just imagine drinking a glass of orange juice VS eating 2 whole oranges. You may struggle to finish the whole oranges, but you most probably won’t feel a thing from drinking the orange juice. Yet, 2 whole oranges are usually used to make ONE glass of orange juice.
Of course, we don’t avoid sweetened beverages entirely but plain water is still our main source of hydration and sweetened beverages are typically treated as a dessert and shared among the 6 of us.
Have a bottle of plain water with you at all times and make it your main thirst quencher to avoid exceeding your calorie limit before dinner comes!
Your diet will likely not be perfect during a vacation but don’t throw in the towel and feel guilty about it. Just aim to eat as healthy as your realistically can using our tips and most importantly, make sure to enjoy yourself!
We hope you found these tips useful. Also, do share with us in the comments below if you have any other tips when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet while on vacation!