7 Tips for Healthy Eating whilst Travelling
It is all very easy giving tips about how to eat healthy and travel, until we actually venture outside of our comfort zones. I have been travelling for the past five months around Australia and noticed some interesting points on how to eat healthily whilst living in hostels and working shift hours.
1. Know Before you Go
Get to know the cuisine of the place you are visiting. This will help reduce the shock factor when you arrive at your destination. I thought Australian grocery stores would be like the health food stores in Canada but I was totally wrong. I have found that supermarkets here are filled with even more processed food than in Canada and I often have difficulty looking for a natural peanut butter with no sugar or vegetable oils! This really surprised me. I always thought Australia was way ahead of North America in terms of health trends. I must say that restaurants and cafes here definitely can cater to most dietary requirements and there are many healthy options for eating out here.
Obviously, you might not find any of the foods that you are used to finding at your local supermarket. This is why researching the cuisine of your destination can come in handy. It will help prepare you for the absence of foods and ingredients that you are accustomed to as well as prepare you for the vast variety of new foods you get to try!
It’s also handy to know the prices of certain foods.
Being prepared ahead of time allows you to adjust your diet accordingly and come up with new meal plans for yourself if you are someone who requires daily meal prep/planning.
Another very important thing to note is whether you will be eating in a hostel, airbnb, hotel, campsite, or if you will be mostly eating out.
Preparing food in hotels and hostels can be difficult especially if you are sharing a kitchen with several people and if you are lacking kitchen tools and appliances.
No need to stress, just know that you will have to be realistic with meal planning and prepping to best suit your culinary space.
2. Home Comforts
Without our routine creature comforts, It is easy to feel a little ‘untethered’ whilst travelling. I have noticed that the times I feel most off balance and confused with my health and life while abroad are when I go too long without some sort of morning ritual. I find it really beneficial to start my morning in a way that allows me to be fully present and reflective on my intentions for the day. This helps me feel rooted wherever I am in the world.
It’s a way to help me always feel “at home”.
Something that has been working for me at this time in my life is getting up early in the morning, enjoying a warm drink and going for a walk while mentally setting my intentions for the day. These can be personal, business or health goals that I want to set for the day. It is my way of honouring myself, staying grounded and keeping on top of my health for the day.
Feel free to stock up on items that keep you on top of your health rituals.
Maybe this means taking a couple boxes of electrolytes, mushroom coffee/ tea sachets, supplements, essential oils. If you know you won’t be able to find them wherever you are travelling to just bring them along with you!
3. Snacks on hand
When you get used to the foods at your destination, pick some go-to, high protein snacks that you can keep on hand. It is no fun to be out and about and have a blood sugar crash with no supermarket or cafe in sight.
Keep your travels energy filled and long lasting by ensuring that you have a stash of snacks in your bag.
Foods that you can find in most countries and stores:
Nuts + seeds
Fruits + nut butter
Veg + hummus
Canned tuna, mackerel, oysters, sardines
Another great hack is to ensure that your meals always contain a healthy amount of protein and fat. This will keep you full for long and keep your blood sugar stable.
A healthy amount of protein will be the size of your palm.
A healthy amount of fat usually looks like some sort of oil, or nut butter measured out onto a tablespoon or two.
If I know that I’ll be out for a long time without food, I always make sure that my meal is packed with protein and fat. I’ll usually sneak a pack of nuts in my purse for peace of mind. Always having snacks on you also means that you’ll be everyone’s best friend ;)
4. Keep up with your water intake! or double in some cases
It is very easy to forget about simple health upkeep while travelling. I have spent many days away from my hostel, exploring the city and by the time night falls I realize that I haven’t had a sip of water all day long. The last thing you want is to get heat stroke or become backed up while travelling. Dealing with health issues away from home is a pain in the butt and dealing with health insurance is probably even worse than the illness itself.
To avoid constipation, dehydration, headaches, fatigue and much more STAY ON TOP OF YOUR WATER INTAKE!!!
We all know that water is essential for life. Every cell in your body thrives off of water and requires a certain amount to function optimally.
Water also helps flush toxins out of the body and gets your digestive system working.
First thing in the morning have around 2 glasses of water which will look like 500ml/ 16 oz.
This will wake up your digestive system, get things moving and empty your bowels so you can feel light for the rest of your day.
Adding the juice from half a lemon is a good way to flavour your water as well as assist your body in eliminating toxins and add some electrolytes.
I like to drink warm water first thing in the morning and with meals as it helps with digestion.
It’s also a good idea to boil your water if you are unsure of how clean it is. If you are in a hotter climate you will definitely have to up your water intake as you will be sweating more. Consider supplementing with electrolytes to reduce your risk of dehydration.
5. Simple Meals
Grocery shopping can be stressful when you are not cooking in a full kitchen or you are sharing a kitchen with several others. Also, in a foreign language where you don’t recognise the brands, names of foods or how to follow the instructions on the packaging.
Keep things simple by buying foods that are easy to prepare.
My go-to shopping list usually includes canned beans + peas, canned tuna, easy-to-chop vegetables and fruit that can be eaten raw, nut butters, hummus, pre-made soups with no additives.
Be prepared before you step into the store. Know what meals you will be making before you go, then right out all the ingredients needed by category so that you don’t find yourself getting lost.
My favourite meal to make while travelling is a veggie stir-fry with a source of protein. You can always water sauté your veg if you don’t want to buy oil.
Simply add a small amount of water to the pan, throw in your chopped veg and put a lid on top of the pan to ensure they steam up.
You can change up the ingredients in your stir fry and swap protein sources for whatever you are craving.
Ask yourself: where’s my green (veggies of any colour), where’s my protein (animal or non-animal protein source), where’s my healthy fat (butter, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, fatty cuts of meat)
There will be many times while travelling where your meals won’t be ideally balanced and that is OK. Keep things simple and know that you are doing your best.
6. Moderation, even moderation itself
This may be a good time to let go of some of the strict rules you’ve created for yourself.
Travelling is an amazing opportunity to experience new cuisines and foods that you wouldn’t necessarily get or try at home.
I definitely struggled at first thinking that I could eat the same way I do at home without any problems. However, I wouldn’t have been able to financially support myself without lowering my standards slightly. I also wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy myself knowing that I came all the way across the globe and never tasted a double-coated TimTam or goon (aka cheap, boxed wine with questionable ingredients).
To avoid stressing yourself out, try simplifying your health goals. Maybe while travelling you can focus on one or two health and fitness goals you have for yourself to lighten your load and enjoy yourself while on vacation.
Obviously if you have allergies or a health concern that is controlled by diet, you will need to stick to your diet to the best of your ability.
However, don’t obsess with sticking to a diet and miss out on experiencing the culture. You don’t need to let go of all your health standards however don’t allow guilt to creep in on your travels. YOU ARE ON HOLIDAY!!
7. Quick Tips: Where to eat
have a few staple foods that don’t go bad as easily (canned foods)
shop for veg, fruit, and animal protein daily or every other day to ensure they don’t go bad
when staying in hostels, do a group shop to save money and to ensure leftover food doesn’t go to waste (storing leftover food can be very difficult in hostels)
find a cheap cooking class that can teach you to cook like the locals do
at restaurants or cafes always share plates with the people you are with. Not only will you save money but you won’t end up eating as much. - restaurants and cafes in most countries serve a lot more food than necessary. If you finish your food and you’re still hungry you can always order more
always look for menu items that are high in nutrients
opt out of high carb meals when possible as it can make you feel heavy and tired which is not ideal when travelling
ask for a take out container as soon as you get your food. put 1/3 - 1/2 of your meal straight into the container and save the rest for another meal- good tip for saving money and ensuring that you don’t eat more than you need. Most of us will eat whatever is on our plate even if we are full.
eat where the locals eat - it’s often the cheapest and best quality food
Enjoy Megan’s tips and need more support? Book your free call with her now to plan your road to health.