The Fit Foodie: Derval O'Rourke has some food tips for you to take on the go

THIS week’s recipes are a little bit exotic sounding but are super delicious nonetheless. In keeping with the exotic theme, I’ve decided to share my top tips for how to stay healthy and happy while away.

The Fit Foodie: Derval O'Rourke has some food tips for you to take on the go

Travelling was something I did frequently during my time as an athlete. I’d fly to races and training camps with very little time between landing and getting stuck in – there were almost 40 return flights a year at my peak.

I still travel quite a bit for work but mainly it’s in Ireland. I travel outside of Ireland once or twice each month.

While travelling

I believe the healthiest way to travel is to bring your own food with you because plane food is generally laden with salt and sugar which won’t leave you feeling your best when you land.

  • Pack foods that hold their texture and won’t get mushy. Make sure to bring foods that will last outside the fridge for a few hours. Pack them in a see through container so you can get them through security.

Ideas include: Nuts and dried fruit, granola bars, carrot sticks and hummus, bananas and nut butter, home-made protein bars or energy balls.

  • Stay hydrated while you travel. To get around the ban on liquids (100mls on planes), bring a plastic water bottle with some lemon and ginger slices in it, and then fill it up when you are through the gates. I usually find the flight attendants are happy to fill it up again halfway through the flight.
  • Avoid coffee and alcohol, tempting as it might be while waiting for your flight, it will do nothing for your hydration: they just make your jet lag worse in the end.
  • Ginger sweets are great for travel sickness and a course of pro biotics can be good for avoiding upset tummies.

While away

Jetlag is nobody’s friend. I like to take a magnesium supplement in the evenings. Going easy on the caffeine can help too as it can delay the release of melatonin pushing back the start of your biological night, leaving your body out of whack.

  • Stay hydrated once you arrive too. I love coconut water on holidays, especially when it comes fresh in the coconut with nothing added but a straw. It’s like nature’s sports drink as it’s full of electrolytes.
  • Keep moving. Go for a walk to explore the local area, rent a bike, run up the nearest hill, take advantage of the pool or even use the hotel’s gym. Don’t force yourself to stick to a routine, it’s a holiday after all, just try and stick to my 20 minutes a day movement mantra.
  • Eat well. Take advantage of the fresh local produce on offer. Most hot countries serve up delicious fresh fruit for low prices, which is perfect for snacking on or sharing with friends. Start the day with a good breakfast. Find out what is the local speciality and make sure to try this.
  • Have fun and RELAX! Our lives are so busy that taking time out to destress is really, really important. Take the time to switch off and you will come home ready to take on new challenges.


Club La Santa is a sports and active holiday resort on the island of Lanzarote. I’m dreaming of a holiday there. Give them a follow on Instagram or twitter @clublasanta

Hawaiian Poke (Irish Style)

The Poke bowl is having a bit of a culinary moment in the social media foodie world. It’s a traditional Hawaiian dish that is light, nutritious and delicious, perfect for summer. It’s basically like a deconstructed sushi dish.

I’ve used salmon to give it a twist but tuna is the classic. My top tip is to buy the best quality, freshest fish you can afford.

We love salmon here at the Fit Foodie because its full of healthy omega 3 fats which are great for heart, brain and joint health.

Prep time: 10mins

Serves: 2-4

1 avocado, de-stoned and sliced

500g smoked salmon, roughly chopped

½ pineapple, peeled, cored and roughly diced

1 lime juice & zest

50g sunflower seeds

50G pumpkin seeds mixed

2tbsp dark soy sauce

4 spring onions, sliced

1 handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

In a bowl mix the salmon, avocado, pineapple and lime. Place a frying pan on the hob on medium heat and toast the seeds until they start to pop.

Pour in the soy sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Remove seeds and set aside.

Place your salmon mixture into a bowl and top with the seed mix. Sprinkle the spring onion and coriander on top.

Serve as is or add a slice of crusty sourdough bread.

Red Pepper Babaganoush

There are many variations on this recipe. The three main ingredients are aubergine, lemon juice and garlic.

This dish is a real winner in my eyes, the mix of the creamy roasted aubergine and sweet nutty tahini with the lemon juice, garlic and cumin is delicious. The addition of the red peppers really brings the flavour to a whole new level.

For an extra flourish garnish the dish with some pomegranate seeds and chopped herbs.

This is a dish that’s all about sharing. It’s easy, quick food that can be made in big batches. It tastes amazing as a dip for your crackers, sweet potato wedges or crudités; spread thickly on bread; or eat straight from the bowl with a spoon!

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Serves 8-10, as a dip

1 red pepper

2 aubergines

8 garlic cloves, peeled

1tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp tahini paste

2tsp cumin

2 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Cut the pepper and aubergines in half and place on a roasting tray. Add the garlic to the tray.

Brush everything with a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 15-20 mins, until they are darkened but not burnt.

Scoop the flesh from the aubergine and remove the skin from the pepper. Place them in a food processor.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the food processor.

Blitz until you have a smooth thick mix, add a little extra virgin olive oil if you feel it is too thick. Season with salt and pepper.


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