Have you ever thought about your eating habits while traveling? Of course, there are trips on which you have to enjoy the culture and variety of food, even if it means eating bread, pasta and cakes. However, if you plan a longer trip or travel relatively often, prolonged unhealthy eating can have a negative effect on your well-being and energy levels. That can prevent you from fully enjoying your trip. In this article, you will discover 7 tips for healthy eating while travelling from talented food photographer and passionate traveller Amalija Andersone.

Because of the specifics of her work, Amalija travels a lot and shares her breath-taking impressions on her amazing Instagram account. The experience accumulated over the years allows her to travel healthfully and feel just as energised and joyful as at home. How to eat and cook healthy meals, choose the best groceries from endless options, and stay away from emotional eating while travelling? These and other questions are answered below by Amalia.

1. Pleasurable Things Must Be Enjoyed (but only as long as it's really a pleasure, not an emotional patch!)

There is no need to forcefully forbid yourself anything. Let's start with the fact that food is a pleasure. If something is strictly forbidden, we will soon become nervous and moody, so instead of this prohibition, we must ask ourselves: why do I want it? Do I feel emotionally empty? I am bored? Maybe sad? Do I crave for ice cream and a burger because of emptiness I feel inside?

It definitely is like that for me! My hand is stretching for unhealthy things when sadness comes or I get very, very bored and there is no way to get out of this boredom. For example, when sitting late at night at a richly served wedding table when everyone is having fun, but I'm sadly pushing another piece of cake behind my cheeks …

2. Have The Right Motivation

It is important to see healthy eating as something good for your body and mind to make your trips (and daily life) more enjoyable and stay on track in the long term.

Attractive body shapes, a steady supply of energy (and no sleepy mood after lunch), avoidance of different health issues, and a clean skin are a huge motivator for me to stick to a healthy diet. Fewer carbohydrates, fewer calories, fewer sugars and unhealthy fats. Since sugar is now added to the most unimaginable foods, I better leave sugar intake for some perfect chocolate cake.

3. Decide If It's Worth To Indulge Or Choose Healthy Food

Trips are always full of temptations - a doughnut there, ice cream here, freshly baked pancakes with Nutella just across the street, juicy burgers on every corner of the Old Town, the unspeakable pizza desire wherever you go...Moreover, your fellow traveller plans to drink beer with chips at dinner… Ugh!

If you travel once a year and go on a gastronomic holiday to enjoy all the delicious meals the destination has to offer, don’t worry about a thing, but rather enjoy all snacks and dishes with all your heart. When you will be back home, everything will return to the old tracks. But what if you travel more often, but your health and well-being (and these days so popular allergies and product intolerances) prevents you from eating mayonnaise sandwiches and pasta with cheese every day? Look for a healthy eating places or... 

4. Cook Your Own Food And Enjoy Your Trip As A Local

If I have to stay in a hotel while travelling, I always choose a place with a kitchen, because for me there is no greater pleasure than visiting the local markets, choosing fresh ingredients and making a delicious meal for myself. This helps not only to save some money but also to avoid unwanted products that are unknowingly eaten at restaurants.

If the kitchen is unavailable, I am looking for healthy eating places and restaurants, or eat what I can buy at the store without having to cook - bananas, apples, canned beans, carrots, rice galettes, avocados, hummus, olives, etc.

5. Choose Products That Are Easy To Store and Cook

While travelling, it is important to choose products that can be easily cooked, for example, red lentils, buckwheat, bean pasta, quinoa. All these products can be easily enhanced with a rich dose of spices and olive oil.

If you have such an opportunity in the destination country, you can eat fresh salads and vegetables. Otherwise, some canned goods like legumes of the local country is also a good option.

6. Be An Independent And Free Traveller With Your Own Kitchen

Lately, I have travelled a lot by car. This type of travelling is also the best fit for self-cooked meals to have fewer temptations. I always have a mini-kitchen in my car with a primus stove, pots, a pan (to make, for example, pancakes in the woods if I want!), spices, oil, lentils, rice, buckwheat, canned food and a lot of dry products.

All you have to do is buy some fresh vegetables and fruits from time to time while enjoying the local markets. This way I am able to eat almost like at home!

7. Eat Nutritious Products And Don't Be Afraid To Experiment!

When I'm travelling, I always eat a lot of nutritious foods as fresh garlic and onions, I drink turmeric with black pepper and use dietary supplements - prebiotics. I carry olive oil and coconut oil with me. My trip fast food is boiled red lentils with turmeric, dried garlic and onions, black salt and lots of olive oil.

Other important trip companions are avocados, a fresh cabbage that can be eaten in the car when you need to spend some time on the road, and dried seaweed that can be added to any meal by soaking in water, providing the body with vitamins and minerals. I've even added spirulina powder to lentil porridge. Looks a bit like a troll brain, but the taste was quite okay!

The key is to experiment and not to be afraid to listen to your body’s desires. For example, I do not eat rice normally, but I craved rice constantly on my last trip. Rice with curry spice and garlic in coconut cream was a treat for me, and, if I had some yeast flakes or parmesan cheese, it was almost like in a restaurant!

In Latvia, during summers I choose to eat fresh berries with plant milk for breakfast. On the last trip, I craved exactly that, but it was impossible to get fresh berries. I solved my berry craving by buying frozen berries in the evening, leaving them in the car for thawing overnight, and in the morning I had breakfast almost like at home.

My super-snack when I’m getting tired and just need some sugary lemonade is a kombucha drink that I find in supermarkets or small eco stores.

When I travel to some distant countries with the car, I always try to take with me some high-quality black chocolate, energy bars, healthy cookies and vegetable chips from The Beginnings store because I know that I will craw a lot of snacks during my trip and will not be able to bake my own cookies or cake.

Therefore, in order to keep the hand from striving for unhealthy sweets (however sometimes it strives anyways, but then I try not to be angry to myself and rather enjoy this sin), it is good to take care of plenty of snacks and goodies in advance.

And after all, why no for those pubs... Food that is cooked with love tastes better. I wonder how many grams of love is in the roadside pub food when the cook works 12 hours a day? And maybe because of the specifics of my job, which involves a lot of food (and a lot of eating) every day, I'm happy that during my holidays, I can choose a simple self-made but high-quality and healthy meal.

Nowadays, when food is available everywhere, it is cool to make your own meals, just like being in control of the big and small choices of your life!

Good luck!

Amalija Andersone (www.amalija.lv)

Many thanks to Amalia for suggestions from the entire The Beginnings team!

Remember that when travelling, you have to decide for yourself whether you want to enjoy the food culture. If that's not the goal, Amalija recommends cooking by yourself so there are fewer temptations. Choose a hotel with a kitchen or bring your own, including products that can be easily stored and cooked. Visit local markets and listen to your body daily to know what it wants and needs to feel great.

We wish to have delicious and adventurous trips!

October 17, 2019 — Silvija Mitniece

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