Nutrition is a big component of our health. Unfortunately, travel often presents obstacles to eating well. These tips will make it a little bit easier.
1. Eat Local Food
And not just any local food – ask around and receive recommendations or find a place that is crowded with locals. These places are generally reasonably priced and you will get a cultural dining experience that most likely will provide a nutritionally complete meal. Local food usually features recipes that have been around for generations. There is a reason they have stuck around – they taste good, and often they are good for you too. If you spend your time in fast food restaurants when you’re on the road, you may be eating cheaply, but you are definitely not eating healthy.
2. Prepare your own Food
Shop at local markets and supermarkets for fresh produce and unprocessed foods. This will save you money and it will also allow you to eat well. Many hostels have common area kitchens you can use. If you are Couchsurfing, propose cooking a meal for your hosts. Even if you do not have access to a kitchen, you can still prepare simple snacks with food from the store or market, and you can always buy fresh fruit.
3. Eat Whole, Unprocessed, and Fresh Foods
If you are getting most of your calories from processed foods that have three pages of ingredients, you are not eating well. When you are in transit, bring fruit, cut up vegetables, or nuts with you as a snack. Try to avoid filling up on empty carbs and high-calorie packaged foods.
4. Take vitamins
There is a lot of evidence that vitamins might not be all they are cracked up to be. The best way to get your nutrition is from eating whole, fresh foods. That said, even if you are not getting as much vitamin C from a vitamin as you are from an orange, it’s worth it to take them when you’re on the road – there will be times when finding whole, fresh foods is hard to do, if not impossible (when you are in transit for long periods of time, for instance).
5. Take it Slow
When you are always on the move, it’s hard to eat well. Instead of covering a lot of ground and loading your itinerary with attractions, slow down, and really get to know and enjoy the places you experience. The best meals are the ones where you can take your time and share the moment with others. You will be less stressed, you will digest your food more efficiently, and you will feel better for it. You can’t do this if you’re constantly rushing to see the next sight or destination.
Photo credit: flickr user World Bank Photo