Eating healthily on holiday can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. When you’re constantly moving from place to place where you don’t know any of the local eateries, and when you’re trying to keep your expenditure to a minimum, it can be hard work to also pick out the healthiest options. Add that to the fact that you’re normally in the mood to indulge yourself with pizza, ice cream and alcohol when you’re on holiday and you have a situation where it’s hard to make health the priority.
Staying in an all inclusive hotel however is a completely different story. Now you’re going to be eating primarily from a single source and you’re going to have it right at your fingertips whenever you get puckish. You’ll have a smorgasbord of foods and drinks to choose from and you’ll be able to eat as much as you could possibly want of those foods.
The Pros and Cons of All Inclusive (From a Health Perspective)
In some ways, this makes it much easier to select healthy meals throughout your stay. You’re not going to have to find a restaurant every time you want something to eat for instance and that means you won’t struggle to find somewhere that offers a healthy option.
And there should be plenty of healthy options at your hotel. Even if there’s a lot of chips and a lot of cake, you’ll probably find that there’s also a fresh fruit section, a fair amount of vegetables and various other options that aren’t covered in fat. In theory, you could eat a very healthy diet while staying at one of these restaurants.
The drawback though, is the fact that you’re going to be tempted by such a selection of unhealthy foods. These will include piles of chips, waffles, all manner of deserts and of course: lots and lots of alcohol. When you can have as much of it as you want and you’re feeling hungry from all that heat, it’s going to be hard to turn down those more exciting options in favor of… more salad.
Remember too, that your restaurant is going to be catering to very large numbers which means they’re going to be cooking food in large numbers. This is dangerous because it often means large fat fryers and other strategies that could compromise the healthiness of the ingredients.
The very real danger then, is that you completely pig out and go mad with huge piles of oily food and large amounts of free alcohol every evening, thereby completely ruining whatever diet you’d been attempting to stick to prior to your trip.
How to Survive All Inclusive
How well you survive all this temptation is really likely to come down to the strategy that you employ. There are various ways you can improve your chances of surviving an all inclusive while sticking to a healthy diet. Here are some of them…
Stock Up on Protein: Eating lots of protein is a great strategy because it will fill you up with tasty food without putting on quite so many calories. Protein is more likely to be stored as muscle than as fat, it takes a long time to get digested and it even burns calories as it gets digested. Ultimately, this means that eating more protein will make you less likely to eat large amounts of other foods while being much better for you in terms of body composition.
For bodybuilders by the way, there could hardly be a better opportunity to eat as much protein as possible without getting a gigantic bill.
Eat Vegetables: Similarly, you should also look at stocking up on vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower etc. These are nutrient-dense foods which as such will be more satisfying and more filling while also providing your body with plenty of the micronutrients that help to support overall health (things like bone strength, skin and energy levels).
Have a Cheat Day: With all that temptation on offer, you’d have to have a truly iron will to completely avoid tucking in. As is the case when eating any diet then, it’s a good idea to have at least one ‘cheat day’. This is one day a week during which you allow yourself to go mad and eat as much of the ‘bad stuff’ as you want. This prevents you from ‘missing out’ on any of the more enjoyable food so you don’t get too tempted. Furthermore, you’ll likely find that if you eat enough on your cheat days… you don’t actually have that much appetite on the days following anyway.
Eat More for Breakfast: Another way to suppress your appetite would be to eat bigger breakfasts. Get up late and eat lots of eggs for breakfast and you should find that you don’t have quite the same appetite for pizza by the pool a few hours later.
Go for the More Interesting Foods: When you’re on holiday, it’s always more fun and more interesting to try the local cuisine rather than sticking only to what you know. Often the least healthy options at an all inclusive restaurant will be things like chips, pizza and burgers. If you recognize this as an opportunity to eat a little differently, you’ll find that you automatically begin eating more healthily as a result.
Go Easy on the Alcohol: Perhaps the biggest risk in terms of calories and weight gain for most people staying in an all inclusive hotel will be the alcohol. If you take to drinking large quantities every night, then you’ll be taking in a lot of calories while at the same time reducing your ability to absorb protein.
To reduce the number of calories you take in as alcohol, try to stick mostly to straight spirits (soda drinks are also a big culprit) and stay away from beer and especially wine which are higher in calories.
Stay Active: An all inclusive hotel will normally provide gym facilities as well as a pool and probably numerous classes. If you do want to have an extra cheat day here or there, then the obvious solution is just to make sure you burn some of those extra calories off with extra activity in the gym.
In fact, the combination of endless protein and free gym access mean you could very easily pack on a lot of muscle during your stay in an all inclusive and you’ll find that in doing so you naturally burn a lot of fat too.