Holidays are a time to let loose and pat yourself on the back for working so hard. A self-catered holiday is even more fun as it gives you the freedom to choose when and what to eat. However, things can get a little tricky, especially with the temptation to blow off cooking in favour of eating out.

Holidays disrupt your normal routine, and if you are trying to lose weight, it’s possible to lose track of things. However, you can still ace your self catering holiday on a diet like a boss by following these easy tips. As a bonus, we have included a few choice recipes to keep the healthy diet mojo going.

1.    Invest in Research

You are heading out to new territory away from all your favourite joints and activities. It’s tempting to hit the first restaurant you see, and even more tempting to try out their house specials. Chances are that the meal is loaded with carbs and will hurt your weight loss progress. Holidays can also cause you to splurge, and eating full meals afterwards will only increase your calories. Consider using a calorie counter to keep track of your meals. Take time to do some personal research to figure out where you can find healthy foods and what exactly to order.

Visit the local farmers market to see what healthy options are available. Preparing your meals will give you some degree of control over what you eat. The visit will also give you a chance to add some walking tome to your schedule, thus keeping you active.


2.    Plan Ahead

If you are travelling abroad for your self-catered holiday, pack a stash of veggies. Some European countries do not cater well for vegetarians. Also, if you are on a low-carb diet, the vegetables will help you fill up and prevent you from going overboard with the calories. It is also possible that your favourite foods will not be available or the local cuisine may not favor your diet. Plan, and take essential products with you.

3.    Carry Some Frozen Food

You are going on holiday, and you probably want to rest and have fun as much as possible. Carrying frozen meals will save you a lot of cooking time, and will be good for your budget. A few weeks before heading out, make twice as much food and freeze it. While flying out, pack the meals in an icebox to keep them fresh. The frozen food will ensure that you remain true to your weight loss diet, and in the process, you get to save some money.

4.    Maintain Your Exercise Routine

Vacation time does not equal slacking time. You may be miles away from our local gym, but your fitness regime is still an essential part of your weight loss journey. Something as simple as fast walking or jogging will help you log in some exercise time. You can also take advantage of technology and download a few easy workouts. An exercise tracker can also help you take charge of your fitness routine. Staying active for 15-30 minutes a day will keep the endorphins flowing, and burn any excess calories.

5.    Go Slow on the Alcohol

Alcohol is high in calories. Being on vacation can tempt you to overindulge, but these liquid calories still count. Go easy on beer and fruity drinks as they are the biggest culprits when it comes to liquid calories. If you want to enjoy pure alcohols, take them straight or use a low-calorie mixer. Adding a mixer such as lemonade or soda water will balance out the calories, and you can enjoy a few drinks without piling up too many calories.

6.    Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping meals is not wise even if you are going for your self-catering holiday while on a diet. The whole holiday experience could distract and cause you to forget a meal or two. Skipping meals will not only reduce your energy levels but will also cause you to snack throughout the day. Most snacks are loaded with carbs, and this will add to your weight. Eat a healthy diet to keep your energy up, and avoid snacking.


7.    Have Fun

Vacations are a time to unwind and give your body a much-needed break. Whether you are on a diet or not, make merry while the holiday lasts. Once in a while, have a slice of cake, a bite of chocolate, or go out for a luxurious meal. Find a happy medium, in which you are eating healthily but still enjoying the freedom of a self-catered holiday! Keep a food diary if you need to, but don’t let your weight loss diet keep you from having fun.

Easy Recipes for Your Self-Catering Holiday on a Diet

If you have a self-catered holiday planned and are wondering about what meals to include, here are a few recipes to try. They are all very easy to make, and use cheap but healthy ingredients that are available from the majority of supermarkets! Enjoy.


Porridge with blueberry compote (serves 2)

  • 6 tbsp porridge oats
  • 95ml 0% fat Greek-style yogurt
  • 175g frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)


  1. Put the oats in a non-stick pan with 400ml water and cook over low heat, occasionally stirring for about 2 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and add a third of the yogurt.
  2. Meanwhile, tip the blueberries into a pan with 1 tbsp water and the honey if you’re using it and gently poach until the blueberries have thawed and they are tender, but still holding their shape.
  3. Spoon the porridge into bowls, top with the remaining yogurt and spoon over the blueberries.


Egg and rocket pizzas (serves 2)

  • 2 seeded wraps
  • A little olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 roasted red pepper, from a jar
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 65g pack rocket
  • Half a red onion, very thinly sliced


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Lay the tortillas on two baking sheets, brush sparingly with the oil then bake for 3 mins. Meanwhile, chop the pepper and tomatoes and mix with the tomato purée, seasoning, and herbs. Turn the tortillas over and spread with the tomato mixture, leaving the centre free from any large pieces of pepper or tomato.


  1. Break an egg into the centre then return to the oven for 10 mins or until the egg is just set and the tortilla is crispy around the edges. Serve scattered with the rocket and onion


Lemony prawn pasta (serves 4)

  • 300g short pasta shapes
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 200g large cooked prawns halved
  • 3 tbsp crème fraîche or double cream
  • Juice of half a lemon


  1. Cook the pasta following pack instructions, scooping out a bit of the cooking water as it cooks. Three minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli to the pan and cook for the 3 minutes more. Drain, then tip back into the pan.


  1. Reduce the heat to very low and gently stir through the prawns, crème fraîche, lemon juice, and some seasoning. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water if it looks too thick, and then serve when everything is hot.


Kidney bean curry (serves 2)

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small pack coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly shredded
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can kidney beans, in water
  • Cooked basmati rice, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook slowly, occasionally stirring, until softened and just starting to colour. Add the garlic, ginger and coriander stalks and cook for a further 2 mins, until fragrant.
  2. Add the spices to the pan and cook for another 1 min, by which point everything should smell aromatic. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and kidney beans in their water, and then bring to boil.
  3. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 mins until the curry is nice and thick. Season to taste, and then serve with the basmati rice and the coriander leaves.

Bottom Line

Taking a self-catering holiday on a diet should be fun and easy. The trick is to be conscious of what you eat and to stay active. Take advantage of these healthy tips and recipes to make sure you get as much enjoyment out of your holiday as possible. If your weight loss journey is dragging, it’s possible to get help. At NSC Clinics, we have experts who can help you get started or overcome the weight loss plateau. Book an appointment today by phoning 0800 917 9334 or filling out for a free consultation with our weight loss experts.

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