You have packed your bags for that much needed vacation - your tickets are printed out, your hotels confirmed and you have made copious notes in your guidebook. All you're waiting for is to get there and start enjoying your holiday. No doubt a large part of your trip will revolve around sampling local food and bingeing on those elaborate buffet breakfasts. However, spare a thought on what you eat so that you don't pile on too many holiday pounds. Here's some helpful tips on how to keep the weight down on your holiday:

Plan Ahead

Always carry a small bag with healthy snacks such as dry fruits, granola, trail mix, popcorn, apples and other hardy fruits that can withstand travel. This becomes all the more important if you're on a road trip; having snacks at hand will reduce the temptation of stopping at every roadside dhaba or café!

Control Yourself

Portion control becomes even more important when you are on a holiday as you might find it tempting to try everything on offer. Instead sample a bit of all that takes your fancy, without going overboard. Moderation is the key. Remember that many restaurant dishes can easily serve two people. So order fewer dishes and share your meals. Limit the number of treats to one a day. If you know you're going to have the tiramisu for dessert, skip the shrimp cocktail appetizer. Most importantly, listen to your body's signals - eat when you're hungry (not because a café's display window looks delectable) and stop eating when you're nearly full.

Eat Local

Find out where the local markets are situated. You will find this information in your guidebook or on the Internet or by just asking around when you get to your destination. A rule of thumb I use is the lesser the distance food has travelled, the more likely it will have a higher nutritional content. So buy fruits that are in season at your holiday destination instead of picking up packaged fruit juices from the supermarket.

Freshly baked bread from a bakery is usually better than the pre-packed sandwich you might find at a fast food restaurant. Choose local cheese and meats and you can put together your own sandwich at half the cost what you might pay for a meal at McDonald's. Also, steer clear of chain restaurants and pick a small joint favoured by the locals - chances are the food will be better and you will be sampling native delicacies instead of the same old (and calorific) burger and chips that you can very well eat in your own city.

Stay Active

We are not suggesting you hit the hotel gym every evening, though a short jog on the treadmill never hurts anyone! Walk as much as possible; you're in a new place and the best way to explore it well is on foot. Include fun activities such as hiking and camping in your itinerary. Many cities offer cycling tours of the major attractions and quirky neighbourhoods so take advantage of that - you will not only get a good workout but also meet interesting people along the way. You may also want to try out workouts that can be done in a hotel room.

Above all, don't stress yourself - a bit of mindful eating and a spot of activity are all you need to enjoy yourself and come back without excess weight. So go ahead and have a great holiday. Bon voyage and bon appetit!

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