Is healthy food while traveling possible?
On the road, life can be pretty chaotic. Climates, terrain, cultures, countries, time zones, and cuisines change constantly, and it can be hard to stick to healthy food choices when nothing is ever the same. One minute you’re sampling Mexican tamales, and the next, you’re feasting on a roasted guinea pig in the Andes or trying a side of termites in the Amazon. Even if you avoid eating bugs and rodents, constantly changing food as you travel can be a challenge. So here’s how you can stick to healthy food options when you’re on the road.
Natural vs processed
A good rule of thumb is to always eat natural, whole foods and avoid highly processed or junk food (it’s not called junk for nothing). If you mostly cook your own meals, head to a market or supermarket and stock up on raw veggies, potatoes, wild rice, buckwheat, eggs, and wild-caught fish or grass-fed meats. Packaged foods are usually highly processed and have a ton of preservatives and additives that aren’t good for your stomach; stick to foods that are in their natural, raw state as much as possible. If you mostly eat out, avoid deep-fried, fast food, and pick places where food is cooked by humans, not factories. Local eateries usually offer hearty, freshly cooked food.
Even if you aren’t a vegan or a vegetarian, eating meat too often is bad news for your stomach and overall health. Even sworn fanatics of the Paleo diet now agree that eating meat once a week or once every two weeks is more than enough, as our ancestors mostly subsisted on what they gathered (plants, roots, berries, mushrooms, tubers, nuts) rather than what they hunted; and even then, according to archaeologists and anthropologists, humans were much more likely to catch rabbit or small fish than large game on a frequent basis. Plus, modern-day, factory farm-grown meat is often full of antibiotics, preservatives, flavor enhancers, fillers, and other stuff that just isn’t good for you. Sticking to mostly plant-based foods is healthier and often, safer.
Pannier Pantry Staples
Sometimes, you’re traveling through regions where food is either scarce or seriously bland. Stock up on simple foods and condiments that can help enhance flavor or feed you if you’re stuck in a Mongolian steppe or Andean wilderness:
- Salt, pepper, and olive oil. Just these three things can make a huge difference.
- Good coffee. Self-explanatory.
- Canned tuna or salmon in olive oil. Nutritious, keeps well, can be eaten straight out of the can.
- Keep well, provide a great snack, available just about anywhere in the world.
- Nutritious, keep well, can be eaten as a snack or added to meals to enhance flavors.
What’s your policy of eating healthy on the road? Let me know in the comments below.