Best odds holiday eating

Best odds holiday eating

Sampling new foods is one of the best things about travelling. Our health editor and nutrition expert Patsy Westcott shares her tips on healthy eating abroad.

If there’s one reason to head for the airport this summer foreign food is the biggie in my book. However, while the Diet Police are definitely unwelcome on holiday, wise food and drink choices can avoid you getting ill or run down and boost energy so you enjoy that summer break to the max and don’t return home with an expanded waistline!

Here’s how:

1. Be prepared

Before setting off check local specialties and ingredients online so you can make healthy menu choices. If you’re self-catering why not download a few recipes to take with you or buy a local cookbook when you get there?
Top tip Don’t forget to check the Foreign Office website in good time for up-to-date travel health advice and jabs

2. Choose your destination carefully

The countries of the Med, Japan and Scandinavia are all big on fresh veg, fruit and yummy fish dishes. However portion sizes can vary across the globe so be wary of very large portions.
Top tip Ask for meat or fish to be grilled rather than fried and order extra veg instead of chips.

3. Vegetarian?

It’s easier than it was back in the day when cheese omelette was about all on offer. But the definition of what counts as meat can be loose in foreign climes. I’ll never forget finding a shard of bone in a dish of baby artichokes, peas, lemon and dill in Crete, despite the waiter’s protestations that it was vegetarian.
Top tip Gen up veggie vocab in different languages. Visit for useful phrases.

4. Enjoy yourself – in moderation

Watching your weight? Research shows that year-round consistency is key rather than blowing the diet for the duration of your break and being strict when you return home.
Top tip Sharing one meal between two, asking for a half portion, choosing a starter instead of a main course and having a light breakfast and lunch if you anticipate a big evening meal will enable you to sample foreign delights without going overboard.

5. Spend and save

Everything’s a balance in life and the same can be said when it comes to food intake. You can sometimes view it like a bank account. Gone into the red on the food front? Help yourself back into the black by upping the exercise. It’s always easier and more fun to be active in sunny climes.
Top tip After an indulgent lunch take a long beach walk, play beach games or a power hike.

6. Watch what you drink

You might be on holiday but safer drinking guidelines still apply – no more than the government’s recommended 14 units a week spread over three or more days.
Top tip Remember to stay hydrated when travelling by air and especially if you are in hot climates . Sip slowly and drink plenty of bottled water.

7. Avoid tummy upsets

Thanks to microwaves it’s less common than it once was to be served meals lukewarm – the temperature favoured by the bugs that cause food poisoning. However, it still pays to be careful, especially if you’re going off the beaten track.

Top tip Here’s the drill: eat food piping hot, choose bottled water, avoid ice, steer clear of buffets and beware salads, shellfish and uncooked food if there’s any doubt whatsoever about water safety or food hygiene. For an at-a-glance look at where it’s safe to drink tap water visit

Bon voyage – and bon appétit!

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