Tips on Travelling: Food
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to travel a significant amount in my life. Over the past few years, my goal when travelling has been to try new things. A lot of the time, this means I have to sacrifice my routine. Whether I’m eating food I wouldn’t normally eat, waking up early to visit a museum instead of getting my morning workout in, or calling a spontaneous rest day after a late night out, travelling often takes away the familiar. And this can be stressful. Pushing boundaries and being “spontaneous” can be really difficult for me- I’ve always been a routine kind of gal. For the most part, I have always loved travelling, but that was definitely not the case when I possessed disorderly eating habits and low body confidence. I didn’t know how to feel okay when I wasn’t strictly following my routine.
Nevertheless, I am still extremely grateful for the trips I went on during this time. While I did restrict myself a lot, sacrificing experiences for “healthy” eating and working out, I also came up with a lot of ways to somewhat maintain my “normal” routine: I figured out how to get a great workout in with no gym, how to eat controllably and “healthy,” and how to say no to amazing experiences. Now, I bet you are reading this, thinking to yourself that I am absolutely crazy and why would I ever do any of this on vacation? Who goes to Italy without eating pasta? Who goes on a boat trip through Norway only to stay in the gym the whole time? Who goes to Copenhagen without going out until 3 or 4 AM? You get the idea… Why travel if I am just going to continue my day to day routine?
While I don’t follow these to the same extent anymore, I now use the tricks I developed to maintain balance when I am travelling. I no longer hold myself strictly accountable to to these tricks while I am away from home; rather, I simply use them when I feel like using them. For example, my body usually starts feeling sluggish after a few days of no exercise. So I turn to my on-the-go workout plans. If I don’t eat every 3-4 hours, I get really hangry… so I pull out the snacks I packed with me (trust me, these snacks are for your benefit just as much as they are for mine). And yes, I do need sleep. So if that means going to bed one night earlier than everyone else so I can enjoy the next night out, well, so be it. I have modified my tricks in a way that allows me to both fully enjoy my travels, while also maintaining a sense of normalcy - something that my body craves at times!
So, without further introduction, I give to you some of my favorite travel hacks! This will be a series because of how long the post would be otherwise (oops), so make sure to check back for posts on exercise and self-care, including full workout routines! Today, I will be starting with food:
- Whenever I leave home, even if it is just to go to the doctor, I always have snacks on me. These snacks are often very portable and nutrient rich. They also are perfect for plane rides, car rides, or when you’re walking around all day and need something to keep you going between lunch and dinner!
- A power bar- usually RX, Lara, or Kind
- Crackers and string cheese
- Nut butter travel packets (especially delicious when smeared on fruit!)
- Rice cakes
- Baby carrots and cucumbers
- Along the same lines, I often pack in my suitcase staples I don’t know if I will be able to get while travelling. I tend to crave these on a regular basis, so packing them ensures that I can satisfy such cravings when they hit. This includes some of the above listed snacks, but also:
- Jars of nut butter (plastic)
- Granola (when I was studying abroad, I had my Mom ship me packets of Kind granola… I was craving granola so badly and oddly Copenhagen didn’t have any! It’s perfect for snacking on or adding to your oatmeal or cereal in the morning)
- Rolled oats
- It’s okay to say yes, but it’s also okay to say no. I love to eat pasta when I am in Italy and I love to eat croissants when I am in France. But there are days when I simply won’t enjoy them because I have been eating them so much! So on those days, I say no. I order whatever my body is craving instead. This doesn’t mean I’m missing out- in fact, it makes me enjoy the next pasta dish that much more. Similarly…
- Trying new food doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to eat everything. I love gelato, but rarely do I feel the need to finish the entire cone. Yes, if a flavor is outstanding, I might, but if it’s only okay, why would I force myself to eat it all? I can have a few bites and offer it to my mom or dad. Enjoy eating! Just because it is in front of you doesn’t mean you are obligated to finish it.
- I always research restaurants and local cuisine before going anywhere. This way when I get there, I am not thrown for a loop. Also, it helps me learn more about the culture! (For more restaurant specific tips, check this out!)
- If I’m staying in a house as opposed to a hotel, I make sure that most of the meals I cook for myself are as routine as possible. I stick to the recipes that I not only know and love, but also fuel me and are filled with nutritional value. This way, my body won’t be too confused when I do eat differently. This also works if the hotel you are staying at has a continental breakfast- oatmeal, whole wheat toast, or even an omelet are great ways to start your morning! (But this doesn’t mean you can’t have the Nutella stuffed French toast too! Remember: balance)
- Drink your water! Hydration is so important and I always forget to do it when I’m travelling, especially when I am flying. I never want to use the airport or airplane bathrooms, so my solution is to not drink any liquids… so I end up super dehydrated and tired instead. Not a good solution! When walking around, bring your water bottle!
Well, that is all for part one in the series! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts below. What are your travelling tricks? What do you want to see in future posts on travelling?