Friday, 30 January 2015

How to eat well while travelling

I’ve just gotten back from a lovely little trip to Hawaii with a couple of friends and while I am a self-proclaimed seasoned traveller, I know quite well the difficulties of maintaining a healthy diet with so much eating out and exotic foods. While you may assume the sole purpose of maintaining some semblance of a good diet is to ward off the holiday kilo creep, there are other reasons. Providing your body with nutritious foods while travelling puts you in prime condition for handling long, stressful journeys including kilometers of walking while exploring new cities and helps your digestive system acclimatize to a new food culture (one particular story from a trip to Asia springs to mind, but I think you get the idea).

  1. Stash your suitcase with a few shelf-stable (sealed) healthy snacks from home, such as raw nuts, wholegrain crackers, roasted chickpeas or muesli bars. Pop one in your handbag or backpack each day and you have an emergency snack to carry you through to the next meal.
  2. Keep hydrated! I swear the air-conditioning on planes sucks the water from your skin 10x more than our home ACs. Judge your hydration by the colour of your urine- the scale being nearly clear= good job, keep it up, to dark orange= have some water NOW! Also, keep in mind that not every country has drinkable tap water as good as ours so you may need to buy the bottled stuff.
  3. When booking accommodation, try to stay close to a supermarket or convenience store. This way you don’t have to lug grocery bags for kilometers and you’ll be more inclined to pick up a (cheaper) healthy meal or snack. Also, pre-washed salad bags, individual bread rolls, deli ham or tins of tuna and a tub of hummus make for a quick and easy lunch will little-no utensils required.
  4. If possible, have a good breakfast before you set out for the day to keep you going. Pick up a box of muesli and some milk or yoghurt and pack a plastic bowl and spoon if you’re staying somewhere without a kitchen (because most places will still have at least a mini-bar fridge to store cold items in).
  5. Seek out fruit as snacks throughout the day. Particularly the deliciously fresh stuff you can pick up at local markets, farm doors or vans on the side of the road! Aim for 2 a day to get much-needed vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre and fluid.
  6. When you’re exploring your new surroundings be sure to take note of any good-looking cafes or restaurants for later on. And ask the locals for recommendations! Make a note on your phone, or mark it on your map, so you can actually find it later.
  7. When going out for meals, ask for rich sauces and creamy dressings on the side so you can add your own. And remember, chefs tend to be more heavy-handed with things like oil and salt so go easy (or your body may pay you back with heartburn or reflux later on).
  8. Watch your portions. It’s easy to overdo it when you’re eating something delicious but rather than eating as much as possible, practice the art of mindful eating and really savour your meal. That way you won’t feel the need to finish your plate just because there’s still food on it.
Yep, I went there!
       Happy travels!

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