How can you enjoy the summer holidays and feel refreshed when they’re over? Create a healthy routine with these healthy holiday tips… 

It’s not impossible to have fun and stay healthy over the holidays – it just takes a little planning.

Maintaining a routine is important, especially for children. School time usually ensures a high level of routine and while holiday time provides ideal opportunities for quality family time – routines are often forgotten.

“While being spontaneous is all part of the fun, keeping active and maintaining a regular and balanced diet during the holidays should be kept where possible and can even help ease the transition back into school at the end of the holidays”,  says Naazneen Sali-Ameen, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Manager at Nestlé South Africa.

Healthy holiday tips

To keep you on track, here are Sali-Ameen’s top three healthy holiday tips:

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1. Keep moving and have fun

Not only is regular exercise great for overall health, but children who are physically fit and active sleep better and are also more equipped to handle physical and emotional challenges. 

During school, children are able to play outside and participate in sporting activities. Continue this healthy habit by asking each family member to write down the physical activities that they would like to do during the holidays – perhaps it’s playing soccer, cycling, hiking or learning how to hula hoop.

Draw up a calendar, plot in the activities over three weeks and stick the sheet on the fridge for everyone to see.

This will give your children something to look forward to. It’s also a great way to bond and to experience something different over the holiday period.

2. Pre-pack smart snacks 

Whatever fun activity your family decides to get up to, make sure that you are prepared for hungry tummies by pre-packing some great snacking options. The right foods will help give you and your family sustained energy to enjoy your day of adventurous activities.

Here are a few on-the-go snacking suggestions:

  • Zip-lock bags for bite-sized fresh fruit and vegetables like grapes, baby carrots, snap peas, apple slices with peanut butter, cereal bits, or unsalted nuts with raisins
  • Bananas, naartjies and oranges are easy to grab on the go and are packed with nutrients
  • Unflavoured and unsalted (or low-salt) popcorn
  • Unsalted nut trail mix
  • Dried fruit, fruit rolls, fruit bars
  • Biltong (ostrich or game)

Remember, for adults, if you include more snacks during the day reduce your meal size. On an average day, you shouldn’t be eating extra kilojoules, just spreading it out more evenly across the day.

Related: How to eat healthy over the holidays 

3. Eat balanced meals

After a day of non-stop activity, it can be easy to flop down on a couch and replace your usual healthy family meals with something convenient but less nutritious.

These holidays try and keep your meals balanced and serve them at your usual mealtimes, to avoid overeating.

A balanced lunch or dinner should include these five key ingredients:

  • Complex starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes or pasta. Use brown, wholegrain or seeded bread or rolls.
  • Nutrient-rich plant proteins like bean, peas, lentils or chick peas, or lean animal proteins such as tuna/pilchards, boiled eggs, beef, chicken or even leftover mince or stew can make great sandwich fillers.
  • Dairy such as yoghurt, cheese, milk or maas.
  • Vegetables such as carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes are fantastic for children and they are easily included into a delicious whole-wheat wrap or sandwich.
  • Water to keep your family hydrated. As children often prefer flavoured drinks, try adding a slice of fresh fruit like apple, orange, lemon, strawberry, a sprig of mint or other herb, or even cucumber.

 Related: Pay attention to your gut health over the holidays

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.