International traveling comes with so many new sights and sounds, but it also comes with lots of new tastes. For many, one of the best parts of traveling is not sight-seeing, but trying the different flavors of a brand new culture. In fact, some people even take trips and tours completely based on their love of food.
Unsurprisingly, there can be major side effects to all the eating when traveling abroad.
Walking past patisserie after patisserie along the streets of Paris, it’s easy to deviate from a diet you’ve been dedicated to for months. Being away from home and the routine of daily life also makes it difficult a restrictive diet.
Though eating healthy while traveling can be tricky and may take some self-control, it can be done. Your diet shouldn’t have to dictate your destinations. With a little preparation and dedication, you can have it all. Eat healthy and still have opportunities to taste all the delicacies the world has to offer.
Here are some tips to eating healthy while traveling abroad:
Pack or Prepare Your Own Food
This trick requires a little extra planning. Look at what your accommodations provide. You’ll have more flexibility for food preparation and storage depending on your accommodations. If you would like to do a lot of your own cooking, book a reservation that has a place for this. You can also call ahead to the front desk of the hotel or manager. You may be able to rent a small refrigerator, microwave or hot plate.
Analyze Your Trip Time: If you will be gone for a short time, you will probably be able to get away with packing food for the whole trip. But, if you will be there for longer, consider packing snacks for the first several days and then plan on getting more food in the country.
Bring Useful Supplies: If you do plan on cooking your own food, it will be helpful to have some basic supplies.
Keeping TSA regulations in mind, consider packing a knife, cutting board, forks, spoons, dish soap, a sponge, containers and dishes. Depending on where you’re going and what you plan to do, you may not have access to basic utensils. Bringing the basics will ensure that you at least can cook basic necessities and clean up after.
Pack and Buy The Right Foods: Pack foods that travel well. It can also be wise to buy the foods once you’ve arrived in your foreign destination. Local markets and grocery stores can offer an authentic look into new locations. By going on a shopping trip for groceries, you can gain a feel for the region and norms when it comes to the food.
Cooking abroad can also be a learning experience. Ask some locals what a favorite regional dish is and try to replicate it with nearby ingredients.
If you do want to bring food, snacks travel well and can hold you over when hungry. If eaten quickly, snacks like fruit, vegetables or cheese can make the travel much healthier. Foods like nuts, protein bars and granola can be both healthy and avoid spoiling during the journey.
Eat Smaller Portions More Frequently
Eating smaller amounts during the day sends a signal to your brain that there’s plenty of food available so there’s no need to store extra calories. Eating smaller portions at mealtimes or snacks between meals will keep your body burning calories.
Try not to skip meals. Skipping a meal will make your body think that food opportunities are limited and it will begin to store calories. This is when your pre-packed snacks will come in handy.
Drink Plenty of Water
It might be unexpected, but drinking water is a great way to satisfy some of your most unhealthy cravings.
Also, your body needs water for nearly everything you do, so staying hydrated will benefit you in other ways, too. For example, you will feel more energized, recover more quickly from jet lag, and avoid symptoms of overexposure from the heat and sun.
Keep to Your Regular Diet as Much as Possible
If you have a special diet, try to stick with it as best as you can. But, don’t be too hard on yourself if you have to deviate a bit. If you have too many negative feelings associated with food and eating while traveling, the anxiety could overtake your trip.
After all, there are so many good dishes around the world, it would be a shame to miss them.
Do you need any travel documents before starting your foreign adventure? Passport Health can help! Call us at or check out any of our other passport and visa services.
Written for Passport Health by Adrienne St. Clair