How to Eat Healthy While on Holiday

The holiday season is upon us and many may be planning trips away over the Christmas/New Year season. It's easy to start dreaming of all the food and drink 'must haves' in the holiday location and forget about maintaining good eating habits. I will be going away to Taiwan and Hong Kong and I am already searching up all the famous food stalls and restaurants I will be visiting! A day or two of this may be harmless  but mindlessly eating my way through Taiwan and Hong Kong can mean coming back 5kg heavier! With the summer weather in Australia, I can imagine how coming back heavier from a holiday may not be ideal for most! Here at 6 tips on how to keep on top of weight gain during a holiday:

1. Plan!  
Plan your food and exercise like you would the locations you're visiting! Although many elements will be out of your control there will always be things you can plan for. For example if you are going on a tour ask the travel agency for the list of hotels and restaurants you'll be visiting. This way you can see if the hotels have a gym or a swimming pool and what the specialties are at the restaurants. If you're planning your own holiday make sure to factor in when and where you are eating so you don't end up starving on one leg of the trip and overeating when you find the nearest store selling food. Setting some rules during the planning stage is important as you'll most likely be blinded by all the delicious food when you're there. This can be simple things like "I will always take the stairs when possible" or "I will only have dessert every second day rather than every meal of every day." 

2. Share your food to portion control
If you're like me, I will search high and low for where to eat the best local food. In fact I have gone through all the night markets I am visiting in Taiwan and taken screen shots of blog posts featuring stores I want to visit so I won't forget which foods I must try! The problem though is most foods may be quite energy dense! If you're travelling with others this is the time to share. Sharing is caring! Like I've mentioned before, I think we eat food not just for the nutrients but also for enjoyment and there's no greater enjoyment than being able to share good tasting food with others! 

3. Only have what you can't get at home 
When I'm on holiday I choose my food based on this mantra. For example if the place is known for their fresh seafood, it's probably unnecessary to have a side of chips and soft drink with my fish.  

 Egg tarts at KFC in Fu Zhou count as food we can't get here =P! 

Peking duck in Beijing! 

4. Stick to water most of the time 
Liquid kilojoules is something I normally restrict even when not on holiday. It's so easy to consume a meal's worth of kilojoules in one beverage without feeling even the slightest bit full. I will choose water 90% of the time and the remaining 10% will be for drinks I can't get in Australia or celebrations involving alcohol ;)    

5. Exercise as much as possible. 
I probably get in more exercise when I'm on holiday than when I'm at home... This is because I make an effort to walk everywhere. I believe walking or cycling through a city is a better experience than being stuck in a car or bus. I've made hiking, swimming, snorkeling, cycling and jogging part of my plans. I prefer to do my exercises outside but if there's really no way to do those things a hotel swimming pool or gym does the trick too. I'm also quite a fast walker (or so I'm told) and tend to walk at a pace where my heart rate is elevated. I'd like to thank all those years rushing for the train to school and uni! 


These stairs were a killer but the view at the top was amazing!

That's my cousin! We climbed all the way to the top of that tower in this pic! It was -12 degrees in Beijing that day but we braved it to climb a tiny section of the great wall! 

6. Eat your veggies
5 serves of veggies! No exceptions! I try and stick with this even when I'm away as it is a simple thing to do. As I'll be having buffet breakfast every morning I'll be squeezing in my veggie serves first thing in the morning! Mmmmmm roast mushrooms....

Also sticking to the plate model of half a plate full of veggies, 1/4 protein source and 1/4 carbohydrate source is also another way to ensure you're eating a balanced diet. 

Bonus 7! 
Don't feel guilty. A holiday is meant to be enjoyed and I think for most, eating a bit extra is the norm. Despite planning, many factors can still be out of your control. Many people will find themselves putting on a kilo or two during the festive season and this is OK to acknowledge and move on. If your new years resolution is to lose 5kg yet your holiday made you put on 2kg it's easy to feel discouraged, feel it's unachievable and ditch weight loss altogether. But DON'T! Strength is when you persevere despite the set backs!    

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season! I'll be back with lots of photos of yummy food from Taiwan and Hong Kong soon!

Ultimate Meat Dish: Chicken and Chorizo Paella

So I promised a meatier dish and here it is!

Chicken and Chorizo Paella.

This has got to be my favourite one pan dish. It's super fragrant, delicious, full of vegetables and loved by everyone.

I have to say it probably isn't the most authentic paella but if you want to impress, this is an easy dish to win anyone over. Except my parents; they're not paprika fans....

I recently made it at my birthday party and it was enjoyed both fresh from the pan and reheated at 1am in the morning! 

When I say this is a 30minute dish.... it may be pushing it a bit. You know how Jamie Oliver has those 15min and 30min meals where you're suppose to have done half the prep? Well this is that kind of 30min dish

Don't be scared off by the long ingredients list, they're all simple things you can keep in your pantry or use for other things. 

30 Minute Chicken and Chorizo Paella
Adapted from: Healthy Delicious 
Serves: 6

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 link chorizo, cut into 2cm slices
  • Half dozen prawns (reserve the heads)
  • 1 onion,diced
  • 1 medium sized carrot, diced
  • 1 capsicum, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 and 1/2 cups arborio rice (Or if you can find the authentic bomba rice)
  • 3 cups reduced salt chicken stock
  • 1 tomato diced or half a can diced tomato
  • 1 generous pinch saffron threads
  • Handful mushrooms chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Set a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Toss the chicken with the olive oil and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through – about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the sausage, onion, capsicum, and garlic to the pan. Cook until sausage has browned and vegetables have softened – about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, stock, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrot and saffron. Throw in the prawn heads too.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has absorbed and the rice is soft. Stir in the cooked chicken and prawns. 
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper (It doesn't really need salt in my opinion!). Let stand for another minute or two before serving.

I've added some wilted spinach leaves into the last one and used scallops instead of prawns. Adding the prawn heads to the dish really gives it a great seafood flavour but I guess scallops are a little bit more no fuss!

I think the great thing about this dish is how much vegetables you can put in it while still being able to satisfy meat hungry individuals. I used mostly vegetables that are firmer so they can keep their shape after cooking. After cooking for 20mins the vegetables soaked up all that meaty chorizo taste so my siblings didn't even blink an eye at the mushrooms (their least favourite vegetable!).

You can see from my photos that the things I've added can vary. Other vegetables that could be added include peas, pumpkin, corn, cauliflower, beans and rocket. This dish can handle anything your fridge has or doesnt have. I do feel the essentials are paprika, saffron, arborio rice, onion, garlic and stock. Everything else you can vary so whether you like your seafood, chicken or snails (apparently in an authentic paella!) paella it's up to you!    

What's your favourite one pan dish?

Birthday Cakes Part 2!

I was going to post a recipe tonight but seeing as it's Wednesday, the most unmotivating day of the week (to me), I think we need to look at cake pictures.

In my family, we celebrate a birthday each month from August onwards and I use it as an excuse to make something more decadent. I take off my dietitian hat and choose a cake based on how pretty it looks. I know... so superficial... but we eat with our eyes as well as our mouth!

This year for my sister's birthday I made her a big white cake. You might remember last year I made her a Strawberry and Cream Cake.

This cake has a lot of frosting.... You can see a few flecks of crumbs from the cake because I just refused to put on any more extra icing! I must say I cheat a bit and used store bought frosting as I was exhausted after doing the layers! The best part of the cake though was inside....

It's a Rainbow Cake! 

I used the Martha Stewart recipe (minus the ridiculous amount of frosting) and this cake took me HOURS! I only had one lone cake tin so had to bake each individual layer separately.

It was worth it though. Seeing the faces of my family in amazement at the colours! This is by no means the best rainbow cake ever, in fact if you google rainbow cake you'll find a trove of amazingly decorated rainbow cake and this 28 layer one.... but I was so proud of it!

To be honest the cake tasted like an average sponge cake so tastewise it wasn't anything spectacular however the colours made everyone feel like they were eating a rainbow!

The second big birthday cake I made was for a dear friend who loved pink and wanted both vanilla and chocolate flvoured cake! I was really into trying to make an ombre cake and only semi succeeded. I was in a mad panic the night before after having to rebake a layer then wrecking the home made frosting! I had a small tub of store bought frosting left and quickly made a crumb coat before refrigerating. By the morning I was in a mad dash to buy more frosting, get to my friend's house and frost the whole cake as well! This is the end result:

Pink Ombre Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

Oh yeh I forgot my icing pens so just used the piping bag... As you can see it's not quite the perfect ombre effect but I didn't want to add more frosting to the cake and my time was running out! Luckily the birthday girl loved the cake (or so she tells me)!

The inside:

Recipe here.

The third (and fourth) cake I made this year was a

Chiffon Cake

This is an orange chiffon cake I made but for my mum, dad and aunty I made the pandan version. I LOVE chiffon cake! They are super light, fluffy, soft and did I mention fluffy? The problem though is because they feel so light I can probably eat the whole cake by myself without a problem... If I squished the cake down it'll probably fit into the palm of my hands!

The has to be my standout cake. My dad told me I should just make 2 every time because we went through this so quickly! Best. Cake. Ever.

And I think we should end with the best cake ever. 

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The information presented on this blog acts as general nutrition advice and is not tailored to meet individual needs. It should not be used as a replacement for any medical advice you have recieved from medical practitioners. Please discuss any concerns for your health with your doctor or Accredited Practicing Dietitian before starting a new dietary or exercise regime as they can give more personalised recommendations.

I make every effort to ensure information on Nutrition with Wendy is correct and up to date however nutrition is an evolving field and discrepancies can arise. If the information here appears incorrect or out of date please let me know and I will do my best to update my posts.