5 diet tips to keep you healthy on the road
Of all the travel related topics one can discuss, I tend to least discuss diet. Which considering I am a qualified dietitian is a little odd. One of the inevitable outcomes of long term travel is changes to your body. And unless you are the kind of person who can maintain some sort of exercise routine or continue to balance your calories (which in my opinion makes you super human) your body will change shape. I personally find these changes mentally very challenging. Letting go and truly enjoying yourself will always be reflected in your body. Though I am learning to embrace these changes, there is a difference between gaining some weight and filling your body with low quality foods each day. With this in mind I have put together tips to improve your diet whilst travelling.
- Bread. Just say NO. I feel this needs no explanation however I shall elaborate. While I believe carbohydrates play a role in a balanced diet often bread becomes a staple whilst travelling. Generally offered with all meals, it is certainly not necessary to fill your body with a refined carbohydrate (usually topped with butter) three times a day. In South America, breakfast is always bread – so I opt to forgo bread the rest of the day to maintain some balance.
- Choose lower sugar mixers with alcohol. Alcohol is always going to happen and I am not going to preach in vain to cut back. However you can do some damage control by choosing lower calorie mixers such as soda water or diet soft drink with spirits (within reason) as you tend to drink less calories overall than if you stick with beer or wine. As tempting as it is, say no to the kebab or burger on the way home!
- Order your meal with a side of salad. As tempting as it is to go with a side of fries/potato/rice you are far better placed to go with a salad/vegetable option. Especially if eating out twice a day, the extra carbohydrates will add up. Salad/vegetables as well as being lower in calories provide far more nutrients and are often the only time you will have the opportunity to eat these foods.
- Snack on fruit. Make the time to purchase fruit and snack on this between meals or during long haul travel days on buses or trains. Sometimes a little bit harder to seek out than the very widely available processed snacks such as biscuits, chocolate or crisps. Fruit is just as convenient and far better for you, especially if you are sitting on a bus all day – your body does not need extra calories from processed junk!
- Drink water. When eating out its easy to feel the need to order a drink be it soft drink, juice or alcohol. Instead choose water on most occasions or get into the habit of having your own water with you. Your body will thank you!
Generally I try to stick to 80/20 rule. 20% of the time it’s perfectly acceptable to eat as you wish as long as 80% of the time you are looking after yourself. Food is an integral part of the travel experience and it is important to not restrict yourself unnecessarily. However you are what you eat, you will enjoy your travels far more if you keep yourself in good health!