One of the greatest joys of travel is getting to try new things. Whether you’re out exploring a new city, you’re wearing traditional garments, or you’ve found ways to experience the culture of a new place through festivals, museums, and more, travel gives you the opportunity for adventure. For many people, half the fun of travel is trying new types of food. Unfortunately, this can pose a problem for travelers looking to make healthy food choices while vacationing. Certainly you want to sample the local cuisine, but restaurants are notorious for excessive portions and high-calorie additives like sauces. This can make healthy eating extremely difficult, especially when you’re dining out for every meal. With a measure of awareness and a plan of action, however, you can definitely do your best to find healthy ways to eat while you travel.
The place to start is by finding ways to have your own food. You could, for example, seek out a hotel that offers suites with kitchenettes, allowing you to shop at the local market for fresh, healthy fare and make the majority of your meals. As a bonus, you’re likely to save a pretty penny on food costs this way, leaving more for your entertainment budget. You can also bring your own snacks. When you’re out seeing the sights, you can get pretty peckish. Having healthy snacks on hand will ensure that you don’t overeat when you finally make your way to a restaurant.
You should also use modern resources like mobile apps to help you find healthier fare. Yelp is an excellent platform for finding eateries in a given locale and there are a variety of ways to use it when you’re seeking healthy food options. You can read consumer reviews, for starters, and in most cases you’ll find a link to the restaurant website, where you can access menus and even nutrition information in some cases. If this information is not available, simply ask at the restaurant if they offer a menu with nutrition information. If not, they may have a low-calorie menu or a lunch menu with smaller portion sizes. Doing some research and asking questions can go a long way toward finding the healthiest options at any restaurant.
Of course, some restaurants are not set up to offer what you’re seeking, and unless you’re traveling alone, you might not always have a choice about where to eat. For this reason you should be aware of a few basic guidelines. For example, know your portion sizes. On average, a single portion of meat should be about the size of your palm and a portion of sides (pasta or potatoes, for example) should be the size of your fist. Get sauces on the side – you’ll end up using half or less in most cases – and ask for veggies to be steamed instead of grilled or smothered in sauce. If you don’t want to leave excess food, try splitting meals with a travel companion to reduce waste.
Finally, make sure you’re getting your zzz’s. It can be hard to sleep in a strange place, especially when you’re jet-lagged, and a tight itinerary can leave you little time for rest. But when you’re dealing with a sleep deficit, the hormones that control hunger and satiety (ghrelin and leptin) get out of whack, causing you to make poor food choices. So use Hipmunk’s guide to Hollywood to find a hotel with top-notch mattresses and plan enough downtime to get a full night of rest.