Saturday 25 November 2017

Promotion: How can I stay trim on holidays?

Holidays can be a tricky time if you're watching your weight. Picture posed; Getty Images
Holidays can be a tricky time if you're watching your weight. Picture posed; Getty Images

Dr Evelyn Hannon

I’m going on a winter sun holiday this year. I always put on weight while on holidays which I am finding more and more difficult to lose every year. Any tips to avoid weight gain on holidays?

LowLow nutritionist Dr Evelyn Hannon replies:

If you are watching your weight, holidays can be particularly challenging. However there are lots of ways to avoid holiday weight gain and still have a great holiday. My tips for a healthy holiday include:

Eat in

Self-catering accommodation can be a good choice. It helps avoid the temptation of a large buffet hotel breakfast every morning.

It also means that you have the option of preparing a healthy meal some evenings rather than eating out every night.

Food that has been prepared for us can often contain more fat and calories than we realise.

Find a local supermarket when you arrive and stock up on healthy food such as fresh fruit and vegetables, low fat dairy products, wholegrain cereals and breads and lean meats.

Indulge moderately

It is important to indulge and enjoy ourselves on holidays. Be sure to sample local cuisine and enjoy a few sweet treats, but the key is to indulge in moderation.

For evenings that you eat out, wise menu choices can make all the difference towards avoiding those holiday kilos, including:

- Don’t choose the higher fat or calorie options for all courses! For example, choose a salad or fruit-based starter (such as melon) or grilled salmon as a main course if you are going to have dessert.

- Share starters or desserts

- Ask for salad dressings and sauces to be served on the side.

- Swap creamy pasta dishes for tomato based pasta dishes.

- Watch portion size (choose a smaller size steak or pizza).

- If in doubt about what is contained in a dish on foreign menus, be sure to ask the waiter. Look out for words like ‘Alfredo’ (pasta sauce made with butter, cream and parmesan), ‘Au gratin’ (with cheese, butter or breadcrumbs) or ‘en-croute’ (with pastry).

- As it takes a few minutes for your brain to realise that it is full, remember to eat slowly so that you do not eat more than you need to.


Holidays can be a great opportunity to fit in lots of exercise. Go for long brisk walks on the beach. Walk to some of those ‘must see’ sites or hike to the top of that mountain if possible instead of taking the tourist bus, lift or cable car. Hire a bicycle to explore islands and cities if the option is available.


Remember that alcohol contains calories too! Alternating alcoholic drinks with water, mixing wine with mineral water and choosing sugar-free mixers to mix with shorts will all cut back on those calories.


In a climate like Ireland, we are recommended to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. In hot climates or if you are going on active holiday it is important to drink even more to ensure you stay hydrated.

Thanks to LowLow Nutritionist Dr Evelyn Hannon RPHNutr. For more information on LowLow check out

If you have a question for Dr Evelyn, email

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