It is summer time, and it’s that time of the year when your kids have the longest vacation, and promo deals abound for your must-see places. You just can’t wait to pack your bags and go!
The U.S. International Air Travel Statistics releases an annual survey of the number of American travelers to international regions. For 2016, the total number of overseas travelers to all continents (except Antarctica) was a whopping 72,559,988!
But traveling, while fun, can pose challenges if you want to eat healthily. Several factors affect this including constraints in convenience, time, language difference, accessibility, and safety.
Because of these challenges, you are often faced with the choice of fast food, roadside gas stop restaurants, convenience stores, or vending machines. Often, these stores carry food and snacks that are full of preservatives so they can last long. Preservatives and additives, as we all know, are bad for anyone’s health.
So how do you get to eat healthy while traveling? Is it possible to stick to your fish-and-salad diet? Or, do you have to do the inevitable and eat “local” even if that means going for food that is out of your chosen diet?
Here are some tips for a healthy, happy and guilt-free travel for you and your family:
Prepare a list
You can list down food that you can and cannot eat. Especially for allergy issues, developing a list is important, so it will be easier to travel around, especially when traveling in a foreign country. When traveling in an area with a different lingua franca, be sure to write down the list in your language, in the translated language, and in the target language’s alphabet if applicable. This way it is easier for you to visit restaurants and to buy from markets.
Make sure also that you have your list always in tow, and it will be better if you have it laminated to protect it from water spills and other incidentals.
Having a list is so much better than just relying on an online translator. A popular app is Google Translate. While this is great, it proves unreliable for many reasons. You might get a drained battery, a weak internet, or an incorrect translation.
Stick to your eating routine
When traveling, you might have to adjust your mealtimes, but one thing should remain: you should stick to your preferences; and eat because you want to, not because you are forced to do so. Traveling does not mean you must give up a part of yourself just to “act locally.” “Acting local” does not make sense when you end up with an upset stomach on the first day of your vacation. It is important to respect cultural differences, but it is also in your culture to respect your preferences and choices. Respect goes both ways. You can show your respect for your host country’s culture in other means, not just through food.
Also, do not forget to stick to your medication schedule. It is easy to overlook taking your vitamins and medications if you have any when traveling. You may want to consider having customized vitamin packs that are fit for your everyday and travel needs.
Pre-pack snacks that can help you tide over
Although real meals are always recommended, it can be helpful if you have snacks in tow for when you inevitably must run through incidentals such as a delayed train, or a missed flight. There are a lot of uncertainties when traveling, but one thing that is certain is that you will eventually get hungry and thirsty. So, you must be prepared when you get to that point.
For sure there are food kiosks in the airport and train stations, but have you seen how expensive food and snacks are in those places? A journalist investigated that at LAX, a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder meal is sold for $7.19, while it’s only $5.69 at regular outlets. You may want to avoid traps like these altogether.
Traveling should be an exciting way to learn beyond the comforts of your home. It should be a fun way to explore the world. However, it should not deter you from making those great memories. Prepare a list, stick to your eating and medication routine, and pre-pack snacks. Through these tips, you will get the best out of your travel– without the stomach bug when you get home.