Food is a truly unique reflection of the places you visit. I personally love trying traditional dishes when traveling to get to know more about the destination’s cuisine. When traveling, you’ll not only be navigating new terrain and customs, you’ll also be navigating foreign cuisines and food customs. I love trying local recipes that are filled with fresh vegetables and spices, especially curries! This way I’m able to eat fresh nutrient-dense recipes filled with tons of flavor. Some places you travel may not typically consume healthy dishes. Likewise, some people may be unaffected by constantly eating different foods, while others may be more sensitive to ethnic flavors and have adverse reactions to them. Here are seven ways to eat healthy while traveling, no matter where you’re headed.
EAT LOCALLY SOURCED FOODS
Focus on eating seasonal, locally sourced protein and vegetables. Eating at restaurants and cafes that source their ingredients locally ensures that you’re eating the highest quality food. Try scoping out a place that you know also serves traditional recipes so that you can experience the true essence of the culture. Eat mainly unprocessed protein and vegetables to receive a variety of nutrients, reduce food cravings, and maintain a healthy weight. My biggest word of advice is to avoid complex carbs like bread, pasta, and rice, which helps inhibit weight gain.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Water is essential for proper digestion and flushing out any toxins that enter your body. If you are visiting warmer climates it’s incredibly important to increase the amount of water you drink throughout the day to make sure that you stay hydrated. Drinking water also strengthens your immune system, which helps prevent getting sick. Bring your own reusable water bottle to reduce plastic waste as you travel. I would recommend drinking a minimum of at least 2 liters of water each day, but this also varies based on how active you are and what climate you’re in.
AVOID EATING MEAT
Depending on where you’re traveling try to avoid eating meat. By doing so you’ll reduce your risk of receiving parasites and food poisoning. If you’re staying in a rural area where you can only drink bottled water, it’s even more important to avoid the meat. In these areas, the meat is likely to be washed in local water that can be contaminated or filtered in the hygienic ways that you’re used to. Instead of eating meat, you can eat plant-based protein sources such as beans, tempeh, organic tofu, nuts, and vegetables.
RESEARCH HEALTH FOOD EATERIES
I love to research healthy restaurants to eat at before I travel. It gives me something extra to look forward to when I get to my destination beyond sightseeing. After all, isn’t part of the joy of traveling discovering new flavors and dishes? Having a list of restaurants to try also gives you an excuse to visit different neighborhoods. If you plan to take a day trip be sure to research healthy options where you could eat after you’re done exploring. I like searching on Happy Cow and Instagram to find healthy local favorites. Be sure to ask someone who lives in the area where they recommend you eat so that you can try some local spots.
MAKE YOUR OWN BREAKFAST
By making your own breakfast you’ll minimize your food spending and be able to control what you eat in the morning in order to start the day in a healthier way. Around the world, breakfast can be a time where people eat a lot of carbs–from bread and pastries in Europe to noodles in Asia. Instead, buy some yogurt with berries, avocado with greens, or fresh local fruit. You’ll feel energized for the day ahead and avoid feeling weighed down from a heavy breakfast as you discover a new place.
TAKE A LOCAL COOKING COURSE
Taking a cooking workshop is a fun way to interact with other people in a group setting, make a home cooked meal, and take home with you new memories, cooking skills, and techniques. At a local cooking course, you’ll make your own meal with fresh vegetables, herbs, and ingredients. Learn about where these ingredients grow, how they use them in their cuisine, and what dishes you can make with them. Eating a home cooked meal when traveling is rare because you typically don’t have the time or space to cook for yourself.
GO ON A STREET FOOD TOUR
On street food tours you’ll typically visit a local farmers market as you smell the produce, spices, and street food being cooked. Some countries have incredibly delicious street food, like Mexico, Thailand, and India. Everywhere you look there’s another stand filled with different aromas and delicious food! Taking a street food tour is also a good way to get to know the place you’re staying, see some sights, and taste different interesting food.
I hope these tips will help you wherever your next adventure takes you to. Traveling doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health or energy. It just means you have to get even more creative with how to fuel your body on-the-go. Having a variety of options prepared is key. Whether it’s researching where to eat at different meal times, or buying snacks to have on hand just in case you end somewhere where there’s no healthy food around.
Dorit Jaffe is a certified holistic nutrition and corporate wellness counselor helping people implement healthier eating habits, manage stress, and heal digestive issues. She aims to inspire others to eat and live whole through her website, Whole Healthy Glow. For more healthy eating advice follow Dorit on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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