You’ve booked your trip abroad and are anxious about keeping your diet. You think you need to sacrifice your upcoming food adventures. This does not have to be the case! If you are currently struggling with your eating habits in another country, decide to relax. Most travel is temporary and it’s not helpful to blame yourself for not making perfect choices every time. In addition, stress will only upset your digestion. So, be easy about it.
Every country will challenge you if you’re trying to keep a regular diet. Some may have the best avocados ever for your keto toast, and others may have beat up avocados that just won’t do. It’s important to go into travel with an open mindset and be willing to adapt.It’s recommended to know the common pitfalls that you may experience while traveling. Don’t put so many restrictions on yourself. Instead, try to balance your diet wherever you are in the world.
A nutritious diet can be many things, but these tips are for a wholesome diet. It includes getting adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables and protein. Small amounts of starch are okay, but they should primarily come from starchy vegetables and whole grains.
Here are the common tricks to use during your overseas stay:
1. Starting the day.
Breakfast around the world usually includes a high-starch food and coffee. Feel free to enjoy it, but make sure to re-align the rest of your day, minimizing your carb intake.
The easiest and most healthful breakfast while on the road is an oatmeal-chia bowl. Whole oats are preferred, but sometimes you have to substitute instant oats to make this bowl. You may only have a hot water kettle.
To assemble the bowl, mix instant oatmeal with 1 tablespoon chia seeds. Simply pour boiling water over the mixture and let sit a few minutes until the chia seeds plump up. For toppings, try some brown sugar, sliced banana, nuts or cinnamon.
Getting whole grains in the morning with the added protein from chia seeds makes this breakfast an energy-sustainer and brain-booster.
2. Eating with friends.
You may be traveling alone, but more often, people travel in groups for the community advantages. These plans usually involve ordering pre-set items, leaving you with limited choices. The menu items are often fried appetizers, toasts and processed snacks.
Instead of completely restricting yourself from these party foods, enjoy them. Then, consciously make your next day a more healthful one. This is the best way to not feel any deprivation and subsequent overeating.
You should taste the local foods if you want. Feel empowered to eat them because you know how to balance your diet each day. Know you are allowed to indulge every now and then because you are conscious about your diet and health.
3. Meal times.
Your next challenge will be to schedule your eating. In many parts of Latin America and Europe especially, restaurants close down during the siesta hour or after lunch. If you don’t eat between 11:30 am and 2:30 pm, you many not be able to get served! You might be tempted to choose more unhealthful foods because you lack options.
The best solution to deal with this is to go with the flow. Try to eat breakfast when the local people do without thinking about your schedule. You will naturally be ready for lunch.
This hints at another pitfall: eating when you are not hungry. Just because everyone is eating at that time, doesn’t mean you need to as well. What I found traveling across different time zones is that sometimes it takes your body time to adapt to a new place. More often than not, you will find yourself not hungry as often in the first days of arrival. It is better not to eat during that period because your body may need some rest instead. Listen to your body- rest, drink lots of water and herbal teas if you experience this.
If you’re not into sweets, you can skip this section. But, you will find everywhere in the world, there is some special pastry to try. What makes it more enticing is that baked goods are slightly different around the world. You want to try them all- the triangles, the squares, and the pinwheels. Everyone has a tradition or story behind the celebrated pastry of the village. This makes it hard to resist. Sometimes, you will have to change your walking route just to avoid intoxicating smells from bakeries!
While you might sometimes indulge in sweets, do so in small amounts and very consciously. Depriving yourself will only counteract your efforts and make you want it more. When the temptation becomes too much to bear, give yourself permission to taste it. Just make sure to have a fresh salad or light soup that day.
If you’re really looking to curb your sugar intake, start your day with lemon or ginger tea. Many times our craving for sweets has to do with dehydration or unstable blood sugar levels. You can maintain healthy energy levels with an herbal tea.
5. “You can’t cook.”
Last but not least, we use this excuse as a ticket to go out to eat. There is always a good reason to not cook when you are abroad.
Sometimes the apartment or hotel you are staying at does not have the ideal kitchen or tools. You may make excuses like, “I don’t have a good knife”, or “I don’t know how to use the burner”. It’s even challenging for me. But, I found a solution to this mode of thought.
You can almost always make soup and salad. Yes, you’re likely to have some pretty terrible knives and cutting boards, but soup is non-discriminating. As long as you chop the vegetables around the same size and have a spoon and bowl, you can enjoy one of the most healthy meals.
Making soup is easy and will be an incredible boost to your health. It only takes about 20 minutes to prepare.
Start with a base of garlic or onion, then add chopped carrot, celery, and potato. After, add some water, just an inch or so above the veggies. Boil it all for 15-20 minutes and in the last 2 minutes of cooking add a dark leafy green such as spinach, collard greens, or kale.
This will be your new favorite antioxidant soup that makes you feel instantly better about your health and well-being. It’s nutrient dense and it’s nourishing.
If you prefer salad instead, then look for the freshest green around. A personal favorite is arugula. You can usually find it packaged and pre-washed markets around the world. Alternatively, you can take advantage of local, fresh produce and add it to your salad. For the dressing, use olive oil with lemon or vinegar and a little honey if you like. Top it with a few seeds, nuts, or cheese for some vegetarian protein. Add a side of toast if you can’t resist the bread down the street.
Part of the reason we love to travel is because it tests us. We feel alive with a challenge. It’s important to realize that some days you may feel 100%, and other days you may feel down or off. Many times our emotions are tied closely to our food and nutrient intake. Maintaining a healthy diet is an easy way to stabilize your mood and allow you to enjoy your wayfaring days to the fullest. Like anything, you will get better at it with time. You will also become more creative in your approach once you make well-being your priority.
You may even find that when you return home, you become more engaged in keeping a healthy diet. You start to appreciate those nutritious foods that you might have taken for granted. That’s a major benefit of travel, becoming more self-aware and taking a proactive stance in your life. You go home with new eyes and become a more effective health coach for yourself.
May you travel and eat well wherever you go! As a conclusion let’s quote Danny Kaye: “To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”
Travel Well cheat sheet-
- · Listen to your body. Eat only when hungry. Sleep when tired.
- · Drink water and herbal teas to stay hydrated and curb cravings
- · Make soup and salad whenever possible
- · Indulge sometimes
- · Eat local, organic produce
- · Pack chia seeds, nuts, and seeds for quick protein
For more healthy tips:
What is Ayurveda?
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