Ahead of the HBC Bake Off we chatted to one of our official sponsors, to find out how chia seeds can help promote a healthy holiday season. In this article, leading London nutritionist Lily Soutter shares her top tips on how to reset and recharge your batteries when travelling.
Summer holiday season has arrived, as many of us prepare to pack up and head off in search of adventure, from the English coastline to European city breaks and beyond.
“Travelling and holidays can be a haven of relief from our fast-paced lifestyles. But not all travel is as relaxing as it might first seem. With time zone changes, jet lag and constant eating out – travel may take its toll on our energy, skin health, and even our waistlines.”
So, whether you are travelling for work, holidays or a special occasion, these 10 simple tips will help make your trip a breeze.
1. Don’t forget high quality snacks
Let’s face it, travelling can be exhausting. Early morning flights and broken sleep on a plane can leave us feeling groggy and craving quick fix foods. In fact, research has shown that when we have less than 7-8 hours sleep, our appetite stimulant hormone (ghrelin) increases and our appetite suppressant hormone (leptin) decreases.
What’s more research has shown that we tend to consume 330 more calories when sleep deprived and are 30-40% more likely to choose quick-fix sweet foods, white refined carbohydrates and salty snacks. (Ref. 1)
This physiological response to a lack of sleep primes us to grab any quick-fix foods that we otherwise may have forgone. Preparing blood sugar snacks ahead of time is key to keeping hunger at bay and energy levels stable. Think fibre and protein rich snack bars, nuts, seeds, yoghurt and even fresh fruit.
2. Do your research
When travelling, regular mealtimes often go out the window, leaving us open to grabbing whatever we can find. Researching local supermarkets ahead of time means that you can pick up bottled water and healthy snacks ready for the days ahead.
Look for: yoghurt pots, hummus, crudités, fresh fruit, wholegrain crackers, seeds and nuts
3. Use your hotel fridge wisely
Once you’ve picked up your healthy snacks, you can then store them in your hotel mini bar. This can be a great deterrent from the other high salt and sugar laden options often found in mini bars.
4. Love your hotel breakfast
Most of us have heard the saying ‘eat breakfast like a king’, yet one-third of us regularly miss breakfast. Research has shown that breakfast eaters tend to have more balanced diets, are less likely to be overweight and lose weight more successfully if overweight.
Breakfast may also help to reduce unnecessary snacking as well as improve mental performance, concentration and mood.
Hotel buffets are great for a ‘DIY’ breakfasts. Try:
- Eggs, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and wholegrain toast
- Yoghurt with fresh fruit and seeds
5. Eating out
Travel means a rapid change in diet. Our usual routine stops and some may not touch anything green for days. Food is there for enjoyment as much as it’s needed for nourishment, and whilst it’s vital to have a good time on holiday, for some too much eating out can take a toll on their waistline, digestion and even energy.
At restaurants try:
- Asking for an extra portion of vegetables
- Swapping heavy sauces for olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice
- Swapping rich desserts for sorbets and fresh fruit
6. Bring your own fibre
Whilst eating out is fun, restaurants rarely serve enough fibre rich foods such as wholegrains and vegetables, which can leave us with a sluggish digestion. Fibre is essential for regular bowel movements and satiety.
By packing easy to transport fibre rich chia seeds with you, you should have piece of mind that your digestion is unlikely to suffer. Just two Chia Shots contain as much as 6g fibre and will make a tasty snack and nutritious addition to your morning breakfast.
Available here and supermarkets nationwide includ
7. Consider taking probiotics
It’s not only the lack of fibre which can be bothersome to digestion, depending on the country, traveller’s diarrhoea may affect as many as 5-50% and can put a huge dampener on any trip. Interestingly there is more and more research to suggest that taking probiotics during the trip may be a safe and effective preventative tool. (Ref. 2)
8. Get inventive with herbal teas
If you struggle with jet lag, caffeine may seem like your best friend. The problem is that excess caffeine can delay the production of melatonin (Ref. 3), a key hormone involved with the sleep-wake cycle.
Instead try green tea, this has a lower caffeine content, yet is rich in L-theanine, which is thought to help produce feelings of relaxed alertness and clarity. And if you struggle with sleep, try some lavender or chamomile tea which has been researched for their calming and sleep inducing properties.
Cocktails are often associated with travel, but too many of these and you may find yourself over-consuming sugar and even calories.
- For a low calorie and low sugar drink, try a vodka or gin with soda water and a squeeze of lemon or lime.
- Make spritzers
- Alternate each drink with a non-alcoholic beverage
10. Bring your trainers
Whilst lying on the beach for weeks is seriously appealing, this sedentary lifestyle can leave us feeling sluggish and lethargic. Skip the taxi, bring your trainers and go explore! You’ll reach your 10, 000 steps whilst saving money and taking in the sites.
- Burke TM, Markwald RR, McHill AW, et al. Effects of caffeine on the human circadian clock in vivo and in vitro. Science translational medicine. 2015;7(305):305ra146. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.
- McFarland, L. V. (2006). Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 5(2), 97-105.
- Spiegel, K., Tasali, E., Penev, P. & Cauter, E. V. (2004). Brief Communication: Sleep Curtailment in Healthy Young Men Is Associated with Decreased Leptin Levels, Elevated Ghrelin Levels, and Increased Hunger and Appetite. Annals of Internal Medicine, 141 (11), 846.