A big test to maintaining a healthy diet is when we lose control over when and where we can eat. At home, we can control your cupboard and fridge content, make our own meals and have complete oversight of what we eat. However, as soon as we set sail on our travels we lose a degree of control over our diet and must compromise.
Here are my top tips for maintaining a healthy diet when travelling while at the same time enjoying our travels.
Accept that compromise is required and do not stress trying to stick to a diet 100%. This will cause anxiety and will probably annoy fellow diners. Being away is about enjoying a new place, experience and company, not about disecting a menu with military precision for hidden carbs or walking for miles to find a juice bar.
Before setting off research the healthy eating options in the area. Find the nearest juice bars, health food shop and suitable restaurants. On a recent trip to Paris, I chose my accommodation based on its proximity to a cold pressed juice bar, which made getting my daily green juice hassle free.
Prepare some snacks before leaving. Bring homemade granola bars, energy balls, juices (as long as no flying is involved). The granola bars and energy bars can be individually wrapped in cling film and the juices stored in airtight glass containers. Trust me, they will be far tastier than the sugar filled store bought ones.
Most restaurants should be able to knock up a green salad or fish dish with dressing on the side and this is not unreasonable to request. Be reasonable when ordering something that is not on the menu. It’s not the restaurants job to bend over backwards to accommodate customers’ dietary needs. They have budgets to stick to and other customers to serve. Much as we wish it was the case, the chef is not our personal cook.
Avoid airline food. Baggage restrictions allow solid foods such as bananas, seeds, nuts, carrot sticks, etc. on the plane. Add a tub of homemade hummus (under 100ml) and away we go. The airport may have healthier options than those available on the plane. So once through security grab a salad for the plane journey. Bring your own herbal tea bags and save millions on tea and coffee costs while all the time hydrating. Win win.
Chose self-catering accommodation so the option of cooking your own meals when you feel like doing so is available. I have an ideal image of preparing a meal over a glass of wine using fresh ingredients bought in the local market and eating it on a terrace overlooking the sea while the sun sets. Ok, depending on the destination and accommodation, we may have to compromise on this ideal, but you get the gist. Who doesn’t love a trip to a foreign supermarket where we can gasp as you compare the price of groceries to those at home.
For the extremists among us, bring your own personal blender or manual juicer. I often find myself bringing these with me so I can easily make a breakfast smoothie and a shot of wheatgrass. Pack ingredients in airtight containers and ask the hotel to clear out the mini bar fridge before arrival so you can keep your ingredients fresh.
Seeds and nuts make good snacks and can be found pretty much everywhere. This is pretty self-explanatory. When something is needed to keep you going until lunch or dinner, grab a packet of almonds and leave the crisps and chocolate on the shop self.
Fruit is our friend. Fruit gets a lot of bad press due to its natural sugar content. However faced with a choice between a processed meat or cheese, I would chose raw fresh unadultered fruit any day. Plus fruit can be found pretty much everywhere.
And last of all, if we indulge on holidays, let’s not beat ourselves up or fall of the wagon completely for the rest of the trip. Enjoy the indulgence and see it as a once in a while thing.