Anybody who is trying, or has tried to eat healthy in the past I’m sure you agree with me that it becomes a million times harder if you go away for a few days. A mini-break away from home and suddenly your healthy-eating goes out the window. This is largely down to snacking. When away from home, quite often we are full of good-intentions but by the time your lunch menu is put in front of you, you’re too hungry to make sensible choices and will-power goes out the window. Either this or you’ve eaten a million sugary snacks and can’t even fit a decent meal in. This is because snacking becomes so much more difficult when away. Very few high street chains and super markets have healthy snacks! It’s near impossible to walk into Costa or Starbucks for a break from the shops and find a truly healthy snack. Everything is either rammed with sugar or contains around ½ a gram of protein. Seriously I challenge you to find a chain store which serves genuinely healthy snack which contain protein and are also tasty (hummus and carrot sticks don’t count). Too easy? Now I challenge you to find one which doesn’t need a fridge to survive and would last a full day of being bashed around in a handbag during a shopping trip in London, or a weekend in Manchester watching football?
The key to surviving a mini-break is to be prepared. At home I eat 2-3 snacks a day; how can I expect to go away for a weekend and still make sensible choices without my mid-morning protein yogurt or my 4pm energy ball? Quite simply it would be very difficult. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are, when hungry we make poor choices. Suddenly the chicken tikka, ½ and ½, with a side order of nann bread seems a good option simply because your body starts to crave energy from carbs. Those delicious chicken skewers with veg you were going to have suddenly become unappetising, and once you’ve caved on day one the psychological effect of having “broken” your diet leads to a whole weekend of bad choices. Trust me we’ve all been there “well I’ve already ruined it now, where’s the dessert menu, I NEED the sticky toffee pudding with custard” (And if you’ve never done this then you are certainly not human!).
It is possible to be healthy while away from home though, and here are my top tips on how to survive a mini-break:-
- Be prepared – Snacks are your friend. Don’t wait until you get there as it gets very difficult to purchase healthy, tasty snacks at a spa-break or shopping weekend. Good snacks include nuts (weigh them before hand and pack them individually), roasted chickpeas, energy balls, or my banana nut protein flapjacks (don’t worry we will get to them in a minute). These will all keep for a few days without a fridge and are quite durable to keep in your bag.
- Drink plenty of water (especially before food) – I know it can be a pain in the neck, you’re taking pictures of the London Eye and Buckingham palace, and trying to get one that isn’t blurry from you hopping on one leg from needing to pee so badly is a nightmare. But it will help keep hunger pangs at bay. It’s especially handy to drink some water when choosing what to eat. If you can fill up on water before ordering it will help you make good choices, as your stomach is no longer ruling your decisions and it gives the good-intensions you had a chance to pick your meal.
- Don’t let other people sway your decision – Friends and family are bad influences! As much as they love you they are still the ones who will try and convince you that the BBQ ribs are a good idea, and that you just have to have a slice of lemon meringue pie because everyone else is having dessert. Why do they do this? Because they want to feel better about their decisions. Let’s be honest, we feel considerably less guilty about bad food choices when there is somebody else doing the same. So stick by your guns and that little feeling of pride you have at the end of your chicken salad with no dressing will help get you through the rest of the weekend.
- Forgive your self – We are all human and if you do decide to have a cheat meal it’s important that it is just one meal. If you do pick the cheesy lasagne and garlic bread as your treat, don’t order the cheesecake for dessert. And if you do have a bad day of eating don’t let this turn into a whole weekend of it. Just think how much less damage you would have done if you’d stopped at treat number 1.
Now to the flapjacks. These Flapjacks have got me through many a mini-break. As long as they are properly sealed they will keep from 4-5 days no problem (They would probably last a week but they’ve never survived in my house long enough for me to find out!). I put them in zip lock bags in my travel bag for the weekend and simply transfer one to my handbag ready to face the day ahead. A few weeks ago my dad and I went to Manchester for the weekend to watch the Manchester Derby (to all non-football fans it is basically a big-deal in the football world). The same weekend my mother and her friends climbed Snowdon in North Wales. A combination of these 2 trips meant these flapjacks were a must! I had been looking forward to this weekend for ages and didn’t want to spoil it by breaking my clean-eating. I baked a batch of 12 on Thursday night and by Tuesday they were gone (and not a single chip or dessert passed my lips all weekend). They provided plenty of energy to get through the days and their low GI oats meant that I wasn’t reaching dinnertime starving hungry. They also provide a healthy dose of protein and are beautifully sweet (but still refined-sugar free).
By the way the weekend was amazing! I got to spend a fabulous couple of days watching sport with my dad and as an added bonus, some of the South African Rugby team were in the row in front of us!! (I am a huge rugby fan so getting to meet them was amazing! Especially while watching my favourite football team).
(Left) My Dad and I at the game
(Right) With 2 members of the South African Rugby Team who were also nice enough to sign my programme.
I hope these tips will help you survive your next weekend away and that you enjoy these flapjacks as much as I do (by the way they are especially good warm! If you make these while at home, rewarm them in the microwave for a few second and they are extra delicious). Happy Baking!
Banana Nut Protein Flapjacks
Serves: 12-16 Time: 30 minutes Difficulty: Easy
- 300g Porridge Oats (Optional: Gluten-free oats to be gluten free friendly)
- 3 tbsp of chopped mixed nuts
- 2 tbsp of Coconut Oil
- 2 tbsp of Peanut butter (Make sure you chose a low-sugar/ sugar-free option)
- 2 ripe bananas (Mashed)
- 70g Raisins
- 2 Egg Whites
- 75g (2½ scoops) of whey protein (Banana, Vanilla of Flavourless (or a mixture of them))
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°
- Melt the peanut Butter and coconut on a low heat and add to all the other ingredients
- Mix the ingredients together and transfer to a lined baking tin (I use a 23x23cm tin but any tall tin will work).
- Pack the mixture tightly into the baking tin so it’s around 1 inch thick.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden.
- Remove from the tin to cool and cut into bars.
1 Serving –
Calories: 208 Carbs: 25 Fat: 8 Protein: 9 Sugar: 6
(Calculated using my fitness pal)