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Eating healthy while on travel is a big ask, where it’s easy to get lost in the land of foreign cuisines. Here is a list of top 5 foods to pack for a satisfying exploration.
Is there anything better about traveling than devouring a variety of local cuisines? Whether its Nyama Choma in Masai Mara, cuy in Ecuador, oreating a juicy American burger before watching the Kentucky Derby horse race, it’s all about enjoying new palates and experiences. But, there’s a major downside about not knowing what you’re eating. I remember traveling through the Ades Mountains, and I was extremely tempted to try some local artisan cheeses. Not my best experience, to say the least.
Traveling with some foods helps you avoid some of these moments, where you might have serious tummy issues or go long stretches between meals. We don’t recommend packing entire meals for your excursions abroad—only a few items to make your trip run a bit more smoothly.
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- 1. Dried Fruits and Veggies
Fresh fruits and veggies can be hard to come by when you’re traveling abroad. The good news is, whether you’re traveling for leisure, work, or out of the country, there are simple, yet effective techniques that will help you continue to eat healthy to maintain balance and reduce stress. Dried fruits such as mangoes and apples are great to have around for a sweet little pick-me-up. You don’t have to worry about squishing here. You don’t need a dehydrator either to make fruit leathers. Just blend up your favorite fruits, and dry them on low in the oven, and you’ll be good to go. If you decide to purchase dried fruits, veggies, or nuts, look for packages that only have the fruits or vegies listed as the ingredients without added sugar.
Dried fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients. Fiber will not only help you go to the bathroom but will also come as a huge plus when it comes to portion control. The more fiber you consume, the fuller you’ll get, and the less likely you’ll feel the need to binge on the local cuisines when traveling. Many vitamins and antioxidants found in fruits and veggies will also keep your skin fresh and vibrant, maintain a strong immune system, and provide you with the fuel you’ll need for your expedition. Dried mango, apples, pineapples, and other options such as cherries and pears will fill you with essential nutrients and fiber, whether you eat them solo or as part of a trail mix.
- 2. Protein Bars
If you are a protein bar fanatic, you’re going to want to pack a healthy dose of some Quest Bars, Kind, Pure Protein, Cliff, and Luna for your next travel. In the rare case that you’ll find protein bars in your intended destination, they mostly come from condensed milk or nuts, which means tons of fat.
Traveling with your own will make a healthier, cost-effective choice. These will come in handy in between trips, for quick breakfast, and for when your host family or hotel serves something, you’re not so familiar with.
Through as many as you can in your snack suitcase without going wild. Choosing the right protein bars can also be tricky if you’re not paying attention to the ingredients. Remember, many of them are just candy bars in disguise. Stick to candy bars that have between 3 and 10 ingredients that you recognize as sources of protein. Chocolate chips, ground cinnamon, flaxseed, oats, coconut oil, honey, and peanut butter make perfect ingredients for protein bars.
- 3. Oatmeal
Breakfasts in many countries consist of meats, cheeses, eggs, toasts, and foreign-labeled yogurts. If you want a healthier and more familiar choice, a sweet and brown sugary bowl of oatmeal can get you through the day.
Instant oatmeal packets are light and easier to pack, so don’t hold back on throwing as much as you can in your travel bag. Like fruits and veggies, oatmeal is super nutritious when made with water or milk.
A serving of oatmeal, 1 cup cooked or ½ cup dry, has about 150 calories. Besides, there are a lot of healthy items you can mix with your oatmeal, including seeds, fresh fruit, nut butter, protein powder, and more.
Some of the benefits of packing oatmeal packets are that you get to stay fuller, longer, eat less during your travel, keep your regulars, easy to find, and lower your cholesterol. Instant oatmeal packets are also great choices for vegans; people with a variety of food allergies; they are also gluten-free, and easy to make.
- 4. Salad
Sometimes we don’t fully appreciate the beauty of a customizable salad until we’re deprived of one while traveling abroad. It is always recommended to make a healthy salad ahead of time, and then grab and go the next day for our travel. First, start with a base of organic, preservative-free, triple-washed soring mix of greens and lettuce.
Then add fresh craisins, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, pecans, raspberries, and blueberries. Sometimes you can add blackberries and a touch of feta cheese, along with grilled chicken, sunflower, and/or walnuts. It easy to swap ingredients if you aren’t a big fan of one. For instance, if you don’t like chickpeas, you can simply leave them out. Given the type of ingredients, salads are perfect for your travel since they can be rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. Book an accommodation where you can refrigerate.
- 5. Snacks
No matter what, never travel without snacks! Just as the weather and traffic are unpredictable when traveling, so is the snack selection. Each country has snacks that are accustomed to the residents, but completely unfamiliar to the foreign travelers. Bringing your own snacks is not only healthier for you, but also a cheaper choice.
Depending on your travel itinerary, you might have long stretches between meals, and a healthy snack can come in handy for nourishment. Ideally, make your snacks with whole food ingredients; think nuts, beans, seeds, veggies, fruits, or whole grain. It should also have controlled (if any) amounts of added sodium and sugar. Look for a snack combo that’s chock full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, and a fresh change of pace from the normal packaged options at airports.