I speak for Emily, myself and hopefully you when I say that, traveling the world for long periods of time is hard to maintain healthy eating habits. If you, like myself enjoy organic foods, that are high in nutrients that will sustain and grow muscle mass, when in unknown territory sourcing it becomes a full time job and without good preparation you’re never going to find it.
When it comes to airports, its a whole new ball game! No matter whether you’re on a luxury trip, flashpacking or backpacking when your flight has been delayed for 8 hours your body usually wants one thing, fatty food and alcohol. Rendering that detox retreat, or exercise holiday completely pointless.
Why Preparation is Your Best Friend
Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail
It makes sense to provide you with a little anecdote of Emily and I’s first holiday away together to the sunny isle of Crete. We’d taken a 6am flight on the saturday morning in order to get the most out of our 4 day break. I am a particularly prompt traveler I always arrive early, much to my own annoyance this exacerbated the time between meals. After blagging our way through renting a car with an out of date license…oops we set off to find our resort around an hour from the airport.
I was driving rather cautiously and time was ticking on, it got to the point where our hunger was unbearable so we stopped in a small town called Agios Nikolaos and to cut a long story short, binged on chocolate and a poor quality pizza as that’s all that was available. The same thing happened again the following day when we woke up late because we hadn’t set our clocks forward, rookie error. To find breakfast had come and gone leaving us hungry and on a mission for food. We hadn’t prepared our greek phrase book to find organic based products, not that it mattered the only supermarket in the town didn’t seem to have anything that wasn’t out of a tin.
We had assumed too much and as much as I love Crete it was hard to keep up a regimented diet. We’ed assumed we could get some lean meats, complex carbs and fresh vegetables we were very wrong. Hindsight taught us that we should have taken some food supplies with us. This could have been nuts, dried fruit, preserved fish and if you were taking preparation to a whole new level sandwiches or chicken and rice in a cool bag in your luggage.
If you’re on holiday for a few weeks you’re going to want to take foods that last and are not banned by import laws. If it’s just a business trip then its the short term you have to worry about.
Foods That Travel Well
Dried food and Nuts
Potentially to your surprise dried fruits and vegetables retain their nutrients very well. This makes them a highly nutritious, lightweight food to take with you on your travels. Just remember with dried fruits you’re getting a higher percentage of sugar per serving because of the lack of water. So watch how much you eat so you don’t spike your insulin too much.
Nuts are an amazing source of energy, and protein. Travelling usually entails lots of energy expenditure, through exercise or lack of sleep. Their fibre content can also come in very handy…
How much should you take?
For both dried fruits and nuts I recommended that you pack 50g of each per day you’re away/travelling. This on average totals 350kcals a day, which should keep you going for a few hours, should food be harder to come by than planned.
What? I hear your say. Well they may be utilised by bodybuilders who are trying to put on lots of muscle but for good reason they’re a great source of energy and nutrients and travel very well. They have a shelf life of 3 days if you have no refrigeration and up to 5 with refrigeration and they are extremely easy to make.
Ingredients: 1/3 cup of oats, 1 cup protein powder, 3 eggs, 2 tablesspoons of milk
Cooking Instructions: Mix everything together and then cook them as you would a pancake then pack in tupaware or a vacuum sealer for additional freshness.
Vacuum Packed and Dehydrated Foods
Dehydrated meats are a great form of protein, they are also lightweight, don’t go off in high temperatures and taste pretty good. Vacuum sealing again can keep food fresh for much longer while keeping the the food in a consistent state. I have to admit gnawing on a piece of dried chicken isn’t the most attractive thing to do on the top of the Eiffel tower.
Investing in the machines themselves is a good idea, they aren’t only great for traveling, they’re great for preparing food if you’re following a fitness routine, to either gain muscle or lose excess fat. If you vacuum seal all you’re meals you can potentially cut the amount you need to cook to only once per week.
The next step is doing your research on what you can buy when you are there. Learning some buzz words to help finding healthy food can come in really useful. I prefer to eat organically but words such as whole, fresh and no are useful.
Organic Translated in Foreign Languages;
French – organique
Spanish – orgánico
German – organisch
Dutch – organisch
Greek – οργανικός
Portugese – orgânico
Chinese – 有机
Indian (Punjabi) – ਜੈਵਿਕ
Indonesian – organik
How to Eat Well at a Foreign Restaurant
It may seem as if I’ve assumed everyone goes on a camping holiday and cooks all their own food. I admit I have tailored it to how i travel which usually is fend for yourself during the day and enjoy a restaurant meal in the evening, as I feel you see more this way.
The first thing you need to do is choose your restaurant wisely. With the help of websites like trip advisor, you can dissect reviews and plan your trip to include restaurants which have a menu to your taste. Aim for restaurants on the outskirts of towns and villages. Many of these will have grown their own produce and have a seasonal menu. If it grows in that country in that time of year and it’s on the menu great! If not then look out it’s likely to have been cheaply imported.
When it comes to meat my preference is almost always fish. Incomparable to servings of fish in say London, catch of the day usually is an ample size, fresh as can be and exceptionally healthy. Going Paleo while on holiday is an excellent choice, if you want to find out more on different eating regimes please drop me an email.