A lunchtime buffet spread

How to Navigate the Holiday Buffet When You Have a Sensitive Gut

Is there anything more exciting than the anticipation of a holiday buffet? A spread of colourful, fresh fruit, delicious salads, and a whole feast of carbs and protein to feed your gut bugs! If the buffet leaves you feeling more anxious than excited, read on for Gastroenterology Dietitian Dr Sammie Gill's top tips.

1. Think diversity

Balance your plate with a mix of carbohydrates (e.g. wholegrain bread, potatoes, pasta, rice), protein (e.g. beans, fish, chicken), and colourful vegetables, fruits, and salads.

2. Be adventurous

Holidays are the perfect opportunity to try local cuisines and offer your gut microbiome something new. At the same time, apply caution with raw/undercooked food, and food that has been rinsed in the local water (e.g. salad, fruit).

3. Check the water

If you’re in doubt about the purity of the local water, avoid it and opt for bottled water for drinking. Avoid ice in drinks too.

4. Be aware of your triggers

If you have a sensitive gut and you’re not sure of the ingredients in a certain dish, ask a member of staff. Caffeine and alcohol can also trigger gut symptoms. Alternate tea or coffee, and alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones.

5. Go for the olive oil

If you’re heading to the Mediterranean, olive oil is often on tap. Add to your meals where possible for an extra dose of polyphenols – your gut microbes will thank you.

6. Remember portion sizes

It can be very easy to overload your plate when there is so much choice. Be aware of portion sizes. Here is a handy guide to help. Remember, you can always go back for a little bit more if there is something you particularly enjoy.

Lastly, don't forget to enjoy it. 

Fly over to our holiday hub for more expert tips and tricks.