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Eating properly at an all-inclusive

Published on January 22, 2020 at 1:00 / Updated on June 7, 2022 at 15:22

Winter in Québec often brings intense cold, gloomy weather and heavy snow. It’s the perfect cocktail of weather to encourage us to flee the province to an all-inclusive resort to enjoy the beach, the sun and the delicious piña coladas. Staying at an all-inclusive also means all-you-can-eat buffets, cocktails and snack bars that are often open 24 hours a day. How do you maintain good habits and a balanced diet during these getaways? Here are some quick tips to help you stay on track.

Eat a balanced diet at the all-inclusive

The first step in balancing your diet at an all-inclusive is to be aware of all the temptations around you. It makes it easier to maintain a balanced diet by taking the necessary precautions. First of all, limit excessive alcohol consumption. Despite the fact that sipping cocktails at 10 a.m. seems tempting, beginning with a mimosa and stopping at the bars along the beach, why not reserve them for the end of the afternoon. Instead, start your day with sparkling water flavoured with fruit and/or fresh herbs. The on-site servers are always happy to prepare whatever makes you happy. In addition, it will help you stay well hydrated, which is especially important considering the intense heat in most southern countries.

Choose a breakfast to start your day right

In order to get your day started off right and to prevent cravings that may arise later in the day, it’s important to eat a balanced and sustaining breakfast. To do this, choose fresh and appetizing fruit to fill part of your plate, as these are full of water and fibre. It’s also essential to ensure you get enough proteins. Rather than opting for bacon, which is often very popular in buffets, go for a vegetable omelet, cottage cheese or even a tropical fruit parfait.

Making wise choices at a buffet

During dinner, two options are often available: the buffet or the à la carte restaurants. When possible, choose à la carte restaurants rather than the buffet to reduce the excessive consumption that is often associated with all-you-can-eat buffets. Several studies have shown that the variety and number of items in a buffet can influence increased food intake. But you can still make informed choices at the buffets. To begin with, before helping yourself to a plate, take a tour of the buffet to see the foods that are available and, subsequently, choose what seems the most appetizing rather than taking a little bit of everything in the process. It will also help keep you from overfilling your plate. It’s good to begin with small portions, and if you’re still feeling hungry, then go and help yourself again. Staying tuned for hunger and fullness signals is the best and most effective way to avoid overindulging. Signals typically take up to 20 minutes to travel to the brain, so it’s important to take your time and question your real hunger before filling your plate a second time. Also, in case of early satiety, don’t hesitate to leave food on the plate. Another tip to avoid overeating for lunch or dinner is to eat snacks throughout the day. So, in case of cravings, it is advisable to have a snack to prevent the signs associated with intense hunger, like gurgling, a hollow feeling in your stomach, blurred vision, hypoglycemia, etc. Waiting for these signs to appear causes overeating and impulsivity, often leading to poor choices and junk foods. 

Pleasure foods

It shouldn’t be forgotten that pleasure foods are part of a healthy and balanced diet and that they don’t necessarily need to be excluded from your plate all of the time. For example, fried foods, which are often the star of buffets, can have their place on your plate from time to time. Here’s a little tip: avoid making a plate of only brown or beige foods and look for colours! If several choices seem appealing to you, try one a day rather than tasting a bite of each which, in the end, often equates to larger amounts consumed. Finally, opt for fruit-based desserts rather than cakes or pastries.

How do you prevent gastrointestinal problems in all-inclusive hotels?

Tourista, also called traveler's diarrhea, commonly occurs in uninformed travelers. Consumption of contaminated food and drinking water in the area visited are the two most well-known types of transmission. Several bacteria can be at the origin of these contaminations. Luckily, certain measures can be effective ways to prevent these minor inconveniences.

  • According to a group of experts, probiotics, which are living microorganisms, could be used before departure as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of traveller's diarrhea. 
  • Make sure the ice cubes are made from purified water, and use a thermos bottle to keep your juices or cocktails cold. Avoid tap water and opt for sealed bottles of natural spring water instead.
  • Choose well-cooked meats to avoid any risk of bacterial contamination that could occur.
  • When possible, choose fruits that have a peel to prevent them from coming into contact with contaminated water.
  • Find out about the ways the salads and/or raw vegetables were prepared. 

In conclusion, trips to all-inclusive resorts can sometimes lead to overeating as well as intestinal problems. Fortunately, by being aware of the contents of your plate, you’ll very likely experience an unforgettable trip!

Familiprix in collaboration with Hubert Cormier

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