How to Eat a Balanced Diet While Traveling

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Sticking to a regular, balanced diet is relatively simple to do for the most part, despite requiring great willpower.

When you’re at home you’re in an environment that you can easily control.

You decide what goes in your fridge, as you decide what to buy from the supermarket.

You know all of the local restaurants and which ones served the healthy dishes you like.

When you travel, however, the environment around you changes, and the blur of new activities mean it’s easy to indulge yourself and give up on the diet you’ve been working so hard to keep.

It doesn’t always have to be like this, however, and on this page we’ll be looking at ways you can maintain a healthy regime and eat a balanced diet when traveling.

Pack Your Own Meal for the Flight

For many travelers (whether you’re on a trip for business of pleasure), the flight is the first part of the trip, and the first time you’ll be eating away from home.

Eating healthyTo set you off on the right foot, pack a meal at home for eating on the plane (or at the airport), as you’ll require an alternative to the unhealthy pre-prepared meals served there.

When flying, aim to bring dry foods strong in protein (such as protein bars, raisins and other healthy travel snacks), as dry foods will last longer and won’t accidentally leak all over your bag.

This can be a bit of a problem if you’re flying internationally, as some (such as fruits) aren’t allowed to be taken from one country to another.

Avoid Fast Food

This is a pretty obvious one, but is worth mentioning. When you’re traveling, obviously you can do whatever you want and indulge yourself as much as you like (that’s part of the fun of traveling!), but if you’re trying to maintain a balanced diet make sure to stay away from fast food outlets.

McDonalds and KFC are the same all over the world, so don’t fool yourself into thinking they’re not. If you have a hard time avoiding the conveniently-placed fast food restaurant during the day, think of it like this: By visiting a fast food outlet you’re doing yourself a disservice by missing out on the cuisine of the local culture.

Stock Up on Healthy Foods

If you’re staying in one place for more than a couple of days (whether it’s a hostel dorm, a hotel room or in a rented apartment), try to find a local supermarket and stock up on bottled water (if you don’t have access to clean drinking water where you’re staying), fresh fruit and healthy travel snacks (or whatever it is your diet demands).

It’s good to have foods that you can carry around with you throughout the day in small bag, which is why I like granola bars, bananas and apples.

It’s better to be prepared (by having healthy food on hand) for when hunger does kick in, rather than trying to seek it out once you’re already hungry (as this rarely works, and often results in bowing to temptation).

Don’t Skip Breakfast

When you’re traveling you might feel like you don’t have time for breakfast, or you might view it as a waste of time (when you could be out exploring the sights and sounds of a new city).

A high fiber breakfast (such as a bowl of bran flakes) prepares your body for a day of activities, and provides a slow release of energy (rather than a quick burst of energy that sugary foods give you).

Missing out on breakfast means that you’ll feel hungry after a couple of hours and be tempted by less-healthy snack options.

Many people think that by skipping breakfast they’ll somehow lose weight, but by eating a good early breakfast they’re kick-starting the process of metabolism in their body.

Drink Plenty of Water

Keeping your body topped up with healthy fluids is important part of staying healthy (especially in hot countries).

Whenever possible, choose water over soda/fizzy drinks.

The hangover is the enemy of the traveler, so drinking plenty of water before and after a heavy night will diminish the effects of alcohol on your body.

For more on staying healthy abroad, check out this page on staying in shape while traveling.

Related posts:

  1. Staying Healthy While Traveling (with Rick Steves)

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