I have spent the week watching Anthony Bourdain travel the world and taste many ethnic delicacies. The show has got me wondering (and a little nervous) about eating healthy while traveling around the world, and has spurred me to begin planning my own form of attack for my trip.
I realize I have a bit of a control issue with my food. I currently enjoy knowing a lot about my food including the ingredients, the calories, the sodium etc. that are in my food, in every serving. I like to know that I am eating a leaner meat vs. a full fat cut, I am familiar with the parts of the animal I am eating, and am almost positive I will not have that luxury abroad. I am a very basic/clean eater when it comes to food. I love trying new things, but I know I will have to let go of the control I currently practice, in order to enjoy my trip and soak up all I can.
My current plan:
Cook at home most evenings
We are planning to rent apartments and stay in units that have kitchens. Stopping by the grocery will let us know whats going into our food and let us prepare it as we want to, while saving money (in some countries). I love stopping by the market and choosing food for dinner to go home and cook fresh. Also, picking up healthier snacks to carry with us, such as fresh fruit will help us avoid hunger pains when we only have fried street food in sight.
Lots of bottled water
I drink liters of water every day at home, and keeping ourselves hydrated while traveling will be tough, but a high priority! With the elevation changes, a large variety of foods and changing climates/locations keeping fresh water in us will be required! We plan on buying large jugs of water to keep at our apartment and filling our water bottles as we walk around during the day.
Eat REAL foods, avoid packaged food
When ordering out, sticking to real foods is an easy way to keep yourself healthy while traveling or not. Avoiding fried foods, or highly processed foods will help your digestive system and waistline in check. As always, junk food in any country is still junk food.
Eat where the locals eat
Literally, if the locals aren’t eating there…avoid it. Not only for health reasons – but for safety reasons and cleanliness. If there is a street vendor nearby and all of the locals are avoiding it, no matter how healthy or unhealthy it may seem, I will stay away.
With all of the great locations we are visiting, I don’t want to miss out on delicious food, or local specialties. “Avoiding fried food and junk food,” isn’t new to my lifestyle. I consistently avoid those types of foods here in the states. I am also not going to pass up the opportunity to try a new food that the local area is known for. When what I am trying is obviously not healthy I will take into consideration the portion. I don’t have to eat every bit of rice, or meat or veggies and I don’t have to order the largest item on the menu. I can allow myself to enjoy basically anything available as long as I keep the portion size down.
Sharing a meal
Traveling with a partner is a plus because you are able to share meals, helping with your costs and not having to eat as much. Portions can be huge and almost all of the time you don’t need all of the food you are served, so either splitting the meal or bringing your leftovers back and eating them for lunch tomorrow will help you control portions.
Along with what goes in my body, I will also keep a focus on my daily exercise over the next year. Read our Exercise Philosophy for 2012!
What are your suggestions to maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the road?