Healthy school holidays habits | Townsville Bulletin

ONE of the joys of going on holidays with the family is escaping routine and not having to worry about being a slave to the stove.

However, routine remains our best friend when it comes to maintaining healthy eating patterns. Travelling makes this tough — one minute you have a happy, calm child, the next a cranky, hungry child.

So, what’s the back-up plan and what healthy eating ideas can you use when you’re enjoying time away?


Even as my children grow older, we still make sure we have kitchen facilities to prepare healthy breakfasts and lunches. We tend to find a healthy restaurant for dinner to embrace the holiday fully (and who wants to cook on holidays?), but it makes life so much easier to at least have two familiar meals that are nutritionally balanced. Make a beeline for the nearest grocery shop and stock up on fruits, snacks, cereals, milk, eggs, bread and salads and you will save a heap of money in the process.

media_cameraWellbeing columnist Karla Gilbert. Photo by Richard Gosling


We like to indulge ourselves when travelling by enjoying the local cuisine. Many children will welcome the change, but try to incorporate the colours of the rainbow in your choice of salads and vegetables. Fish and chips every night won’t provide the energy to keep up a holiday pace. Perhaps ask for the fish not to be crumbed, potatoes instead of chips, add a side of salad or vegetables or include a healthy smoothie with an array of fruits and vegetables. This will ensure immune systems stay strong and make it easier to return to your healthy eating patterns at home.


The only normal our children know is the normal they see. Even though you may be travelling, it doesn’t mean that healthy eating goes out the window. Bring some of your own familiarity and values to the table and this will help ease any foreign food anguish.


Airline food can be quite unappealing to the best of us, let alone our fussy children. The simple answer is to pack your own. Throw in some healthy snacks to make life easier when you’re on the road, in the air or stuck in transit.

media_cameraStir fry is a healthy option when eating out.


When eating out here’s what to look for:

Sushi: Generally a good option but be wary of mayo and soy sauce due to the high fat and salt.

Thai/Chinese: Stir-fries are a great option served with steamed rice. Chicken satay sticks, steamed rice paper rolls and salads are also good choices. Avoid pad Thai (which is noodles fried in oil) or creamy curries. Battered meats such as sweet and sour pork and lemon chicken will definitely go straight to your hips.

Burgers: I love a good burger, but it has to be healthy. Choose crumb-free chicken and have the bun made out of lettuce cups. Avoid fried eggs, cheese, bacon and mayonnaise or crumbed patties and you can’t go wrong.

Mexican: Traditionally Mexican is a light, healthy meal served with lots of salad. Unfortunately, as it has been westernised and evolved into a potential minefield. Ask to go lightly on the cheese and sour cream, choose flatbread instead of crunchy tortilla or tacos and fill up on salad and salsa.

Pizza: Ask for a thin base or choose a vegetarian option with added chicken, beef or seafood. Ask to go easy on the cheese (cue strange looks) and stay away from salty meats such as salami.

Champion ironwoman and ocean athlete Karla Gilbert is an accredited nutrition and health coach and certified Level III and IV Fitness Trainer, with certificates in Child Nutrition and Nutrition. She has just released her first ebook, Naked Habits. Read more at