My sister and I in Varadero, Cuba
The Beach Body Gourmet was inspired by my first all-inclusive beach vacation. In May, I met up with my sister in Varadero, Cuba and have a small confession about the pre-trip jitters. I’m embarrassed to admit this because my frame is boyish and my lifestyle is healthy; there are few reasons to fret over weight. At first, I couldn’t stop imagining the beautiful beaches but it wasn’t long before the body insecurities started kicking in and the beach body anxiety overtook the excitement of the trip.
To pull myself out of the temporary lapse in self-esteem and judgement, I started exercising more regularly, dedicating at least 3 to 4 days to exercise instead of the 1 – 2 days. I also started making lighter meals leading up to the trip. I went to Cuba with a lean body and a bit of a swagger, feeling strong and healthy.
Hello from the pristine beaches of Cuba!
However, I learned that body shape has little effect on a vacation, it is the sensory memories that shape your trip – the sounds of the lapping ocean and the rustle of palm trees, the warmth of the sun on your back, the taste of minty mojitos on your lips. Outside your hotel room was sun-drenched beaches, crystal clear waters and silky sand; the day trip to Havana was vibrant and bustling; and the jeep excursion, with its off roading, snorkeling, and natural deep water cave, was an exciting day of many new experiences. I can’t wait to go back!
Beep beep! Havana, Cuba cruising.
One downside of Cuba resort living was the constant buffets and lack of fresh veggies. I was booked for eight days, and by the fourth, I was already craving lighter meals and fresh salads. Upon my return to Calgary, I dove into the light recipe trove again. As a result, I created Beach Body Gourmet, a collection of healthy and easy recipes.
Before I publish the series, I wanted to share some personal insight on the topic of healthy eating and some tips on how you can achieve and maintain a healthy weight. They won’t defend you from all bouts of body insecurity but they will help you achieve a healthier lifestyle, which in turn, will help those bouts pass quickly. These are the 5 key healthy eating principles that I live by.
5 Principles of Healthier Eating
1) My #1 tip: know your food groups and your portions.
As an average adult, you need about 6 – 8 servings of grain products a day. Did you know that ½ cup of cooked pasta, about the size of half your fist, is 1 serving of grains? The amount of pasta served at your favourite restaurant averages at about 6 servings, almost your full daily grains intake!
Fruits and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, but did you know that they play a crucial role in portion control? If you aim to have veggies take up half the plate at lunch and dinner, that means you have less room for the more decadent but unhealthy items.
Check out Canada Food Guide – What is a portion?