When traveling, we are often faced with unfamiliar circumstances that affect our usual eating habits. Because this is such a big concern for many, we compiled suggestions below that can help you eat healthy during your excursions! If you are generally healthy, you can get away with eating some unhealthy foods on a short trip. However, if you have any serious health concerns, more planning is required to make sure you can get the healthy foods you need for your diet.
By focusing on a few important aspects of your meals, it is still very possible to travel the globe while enjoying healthy foods. Let’s take a closer look at how we can do that.
Keeping Your Meal Format
A meal format is two parts: the schedule, and the content of the meals. The first thing to do when evaluating a meal schedule is to find a place where you can sit and slowly eat your food. This includes the ability to communicate with others with a quiet conversation, rather than in front of a computer or TV.
Eating at a consistent time is another critical part of planning your travel meals. Often, your trips may take you into another time zone, which can throw your normal eating schedule off. It is important to have your mealtimes at the proper time of your destination while not worrying about your regular at-home mealtimes. It’s also very important to make sure your first night’s sleep is at the normal time of your destination. If you need to take a nap, then keep it under an hour so it will not affect your nighttime sleep. This is often the most difficult thing when adjusting to a new time zone, but it is well worth the effort.
The content of your meals is also important when traveling. For example, you still want to maintain a diet based on grains, beans, separate vegetable dishes, and even a soup whenever possible. If you decide to have fish, that’s fine – just make sure it’s a part of a grain and vegetable-based meal. Add rice and sauteed spinach, as well as grilled vegetables or salad to the dish. It is most important to keep to the schedule and content of your meals when traveling and compromise on quality when necessary. For example, white rice or whole grain bread are often a good choice when whole grains are not available.
Why The Places You Travel to Matter
Several countries still primarily eat grain and vegetable-based meals. Italian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, North African, Caribbean, Central American, and Mexican cuisine make grain and vegetable-based meals quite accessible.
On vacation you may have the option to choose where you’re traveling to, but for business you might not have the same ability to choose. If you’re going to eat foods that you don’t normally eat, like animal foods or dairy foods, just try to minimize them. Unless you have medical concerns, you don’t want to be too restrictive with your diet. As long as you are able to get back to a healthy diet when you return, you should be fine. If you go to the tropics, you should be enjoying tropical fruits as it’s the easiest way to adapt to the climate. Enjoy your meals and take in some of the local foods, but do not completely ignore your health by eating terrible, unbalanced meals the entire time.
Traveling to remote areas, or to places that you know healthy foods are hard to find, may require a personal contact or much more planning. In these cases, you will need to research or connect with someone in the area who can provide these foods. It’s also a good idea to contact the hotel in advance to see how much they can accommodate your food needs. More airports are catering to vegetarian and vegan diets, so you might be able to get a healthy meal or two to go!
Planning Your Healthy Diet in Advance of Traveling
Planning meals may be fun for some, but may be tiresome work for others. If you think of it as a fun endeavor, you may find that you enjoy researching restaurants and local food stores to see what is available. Then, you can start to add trips to the store and restaurant reservations to your itinerary. If you don’t take this time and you’re in a place where healthy food is sparse, then you may find yourself either going hungry, eating unhealthy food, simply being unsatisfied, or having to go through significant hoops to get the good, healthy food you want to eat.
Particularly, if health is a concern, packing food is another strong way to plan a successful trip. The most important things to pack are instant miso soup, bancha tea bags, and umeboshi plums. The reason for these 3 items is that they help your digestive system with some of the foods that are not normally in your diet. Additionally, snacks, suchs as seeds, nuts, dried fruits and healthy bars can help keep you more satisfied while traveling.
Contacting people that you know that have similar diets beforehand can be extremely valuable! Whether it is a local that knows all the best restaurants, or simply a friend that traveled there and knows of some good markets to find your staples. Although Google, TripAdvisor or Yelp reviews can be helpful to see a restaurant’s menu, people with similar dietary values are always going to be able to give you the best insight on where to go.
Finally, eating slowly, chewing well, walking outside, and doing the body rub helps to keep your digestion good to compensate for any imbalances with your diet. Make sure you bring your own medium-weight, pure cotton, organic washcloth. Part of this planning includes making sure you have a place to do it each day.
Travel is a balance between fully enjoying yourself while trying to maintain your health as much as possible. As with anything else, the more you do it, the more you’ll be able to make good choices when traveling.