“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” -Martin Buber
I still remember my first international trip as clearly as if it was yesterday. Wandering through the streets of Cuba, I was only 16 and felt the narrow alleyways, colorful houses and smiling people were endlessly fascinating. Since then, I’ve lived abroad in two different places (Barbados and Thailand) and have travelled to over 30 countries. I’ve heavily prioritized travel and exploration. I firmly believe that travelling has been a major cornerstone for my personal development. But then comes in the problem – how do I maintain my healthy lifestyle while eating?
I’ve compiled these tips for everyone from the avid adventurist to the most newbie traveller. If you are at all considering not travelling because of food worries, stop that choo-choo train right now! There are always ways to stay on track while travelling so you can feel healthy AND enjoy the experience thoroughly.
- Pack your own snacks. It’s so important to have food with you that you can grab if nothing else accommodates your particular plan. There are so many packaged goods that you can travel with, so I’d recommend hitting up the store and grabbing some non-perishable items to pack with you. Things like protein bars, packaged crackers and numerous other goods are easy to pack and travel with. They will ensure that you’re never left without something to eat and will add a sense of comfort and security to an otherwise unfamiliar environment. Make sure that you check food travel restrictions to your destination, as fresh produce is often prohibited.
- Scout out Supermarkets. Wherever I’m staying, whether it’s an Airbnb, Hostel or Campground, I always make sure that I know where my closest grocery store is located. Google Maps will allow you to scout out a good grocery store at your destination or alternatively let you pick a location close to your preferred grocery store. You may need to do some research to see whether the store is actually suitable to you. Sometimes a “store” is a rather loose term that refers to small convenience store or bodega.
- Stay Hydrated! Especially if you’re travelling to a hot destination, you may notice a whole host of dehydration symptoms – from headaches, muscle-aches, foggy thinking and much, much more. It’s so important to make sure that you that you are drinking more, particularly if you are in a location where it’s warmer. Grabbing some electrolytes can help your body adjust as well.
- Research restaurants in advance. This is an excellent way to choose what you’d like to eat ahead of time. Some countries are better at altering menus than others, so if you have a special request and that you must have accommodated, make sure that you email or call the restaurant ahead of time. You’ll be able to stay on track much more easily if you know exactly what you are ordering.
- If you have an allergy, get someone you trust to translate it into a piece of paper into the foreign language of the country you’ll be visiting. Show it ahead of time to anyone you order food from. If you have a severe allergy, make sure you pack your EpiPen or medication with you. If travelling with others, tell them exactly where the medication will be located and how it needs to be administrated. Bring it with you at all times.
- Budget for some fun! Visiting a new country is all about getting to eat new and exciting things. This isn’t the time to be super strict or restrictive about your diet. Remember that food is a way people connect and showcase their identity. Eat the cannoli in Italy or the fresh baked baguette in France. Sample the things that make that country or city unique. I promise that you’ll enjoy your experience a lot more!
I hope you found these tips helpful! I’d love to hear about your most memorable food travelling experience.
As your Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant at Naturmend, I am committed to creating healthy communities. I believe in honouring the unique biochemical individuality of each person who walks through my door and in the amazing benefits of a whole food diet. A healthy body and balanced mind are the cornerstones of a happy existence.