Maintaining healthy eating habits while travelling can be tough, especially when you’re on a tight budget. Cheap meals are often high in calories, low in nutritional value, and very rarely do they include fresh produce. Eating poorly can have so many negative effects on our bodies, including low energy levels and digestion, which we would all like to avoid especially while travelling [Vitti, 2013]. It can also be hard to fully enjoy the local cuisine without feeling stressed about its nutritional value. If you’re planning a trip but are worried about staying healthy, here are a few tips that might help.
Book accommodation with a kitchen.
Not only are hostels and AirBNBs usually cheaper than hotels, but many have kitchens where you can cook your own meals. Buying food from the local supermarket and cooking for yourself will always be cheaper than eating at a restaurant. This also allows you to be 100% responsible for the food you eat. If you don’t want to spend too much time planning meals and cooking, try pre-planning before your trip. There are lots of great recipes for one-pot meals, and you could even premix spices at home and bring them with you.
Visit restaurants that specialize in vegetarian/vegan food.
Even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, these restaurants usually tend to offer healthier options filled with fruits and veggies. Although they may be on the pricier side, you’re guaranteed to have some healthy options.
Bring a container for lunches and snacks on-the-go.
When you’re trying to maintain healthy eating habits, it’s always a good idea to bring healthy snacks with you wherever you go. Consider purchasing a tiffin food box, which has different compartments perfect for on-the-go snacks such as veggies, fruits, nuts, or overnight oats.
Do your research ahead of time.
There is nothing worse than reaching the point of ‘hangry’ after playing tourist and wandering into the first restaurant you see. Instead, research restaurants in the area that have healthy options and save them on your phone – offline maps can easily be downloaded and used even on airplane mode. Alternatively, if you prefer paper maps you can mark restaurants on there as well!
Take a B-vitamin complex and go for a walk.
If you’ve got your eyes set on something particularly sweet or loaded with carbohydrates, enjoy it! Afterward try taking a B-vitamin complex to take strain off your adrenal glands, then go for a brisk walk which redirects the extra glucose to power your muscles [Vitti, 2013]. You can also try including healthy fats (e.g. nuts) in your next meal to help stabilize your blood sugar. And guess what? Walking is a great way to explore a new city and can also cut costs during your trip!
Most importantly, remember that you’re in a new exciting place! If there is a particular cuisine or dish that you want to try, savour every bite and forget about feeling guilty. Food plays such an important role in experiencing different cultures, and eating a few ‘unhealthy’ meals isn’t going to instantly derail your healthy eating goals.