Healthy holiday eating: quick tips
- When travelling, carry a small container of handwash or hand sanitiser gel to clean your hands before eating.
- If heading overseas, pack some over-the-counter medications for
diarrhoea, such as Imodium (loperamide) or Lomotil (diphenoxylate-atropine), as well as fluid and electrolyte replacement medicine - also called oral rehydration salts - such as Gastrolyte or Hydralyte.
- Indigestion tablets and antacid may also come
in handy for an upset stomach caused by unfamiliar foods.
- Don’t forget to pack any vitamins and mineral supplements that you may be used to taking at home.
- Eating out and changes to your usual routine on holidays can make it easy to gain weight. Try to stick to structured mealtimes and make healthy food choices - e.g. include vegetables and minimise high-calorie, high-fat foods when eating out.
- When in less developed countries, boil water before drinking and avoid ice. Immersion coils can be used to boil water wherever there is access to electricity.
- Avoid brushing your teeth with tap water in overseas countries. If it is unavoidable, use the hot tap, after running it for a minute. Do not swallow the water.
- Water purifiers, iodine-based tablets or chlorine tablets can also be used to make water safer, although the use of iodine water-purifying tablets is not advisable if you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor about any concerns.
- In overseas countries, look for well-known food brands in cans or sealed packs and choose to eat in popular, clean restaurants.
- Be cautious around salad bars and smorgasbords. Don’t eat food from
buffets unless you know that the food is fresh and has been kept either hot (above 60°C) or on ice or refrigerated (below 5°C) and has also been protected from insects such as flies.
- 'Doggy bags' can be dangerous. Always refrigerate food immediately and do not consume if it has been in the open air for more than 4 hours.
- Be cautious when consuming alcoholic beverages in unfamiliar countries -
the alcoholic content may not be specified on the label.
- If your baby is no longer breast feeding, baby formula
prepared from commercial powder and boiled water is the easiest, safest
food source if you are concerned about food safety in overseas
Last Reviewed: 13 January 2010
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2. World Health Organization. Guide on safe food for travellers (last reviewed 8 Jun 2010). http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/consumer/en/travellers_en.pdf (accessed Jan 2011).
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Travelerís diarrhea (last reviewed 27 Jul 2009). In: CDC health information for international travel 2010. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service; 2009. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-2/travelers-diarrhea.aspx (accessed Jan 2011).
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Water disinfection (last reviewed 27 Jul 2009). In: CDC health information for international travel 2010. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service; 2009. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-2/water-disinfection.aspx (accessed Jan 2011).
5. Children's Hospital at Westmead. Preventing holiday weight gain - managing the school holiday period (last reviewed 4 Sep 2008). http://www.chw.edu.au/parents/factsheets/managing_the_school_holiday_period.htm (accessed Jan 2011).