Trying exciting new foods from exotic cuisines all across the world is one of the most fun parts of travelling.
But one of the more annoying side effects of this is putting on weight and coming back from your holiday a chunkier, more bloated version of yourself.
Travelling is where any dieting or healthy-eating plan that you’ve been following can very quickly go down the drain. Aside from testing out your travel destination’s cuisine, you’re also a lot more likely to binge on unhealthy snacks like crisps and drink too much of whatever the local beer is.
If you’re worried about filling up with trashy foods on your travels then check out this post to learn how to keep your diet in check while travelling.
Make the most of hostel or apartment kitchens
It’s much harder to control your portion sizes, calorie intake and ingredients when you’re eating out three meals a day for potentially months on end.
One really easy way to keep your diet in check while travelling is to take control of mealtimes yourself.
A lot of hostels come with a self-catering kitchen that guests can use during their stay; make the most of this, and cook your own meals (same goes if you’ve splashed out on an apartment). This way, you know exactly what is going into the dish, and you can control your portions. It’s also a great chance to try out some local produce and experiment with your own take on regional dishes.
Cooking at your hostel also means that you can indulge in fun meals out and try out new foods without feeling guilty about spending too much of your budget and blowing your calorie count for the day.
I cannot stress the importance of drinking enough water while you’re travelling!
Dehydration can give you headaches, sap your energy levels, negatively affect your mood, and cause you to struggle with memory and attention. It can also be misinterpreted as hunger by the body and cause cravings — meaning you might end up filling up on fatty food rather than finding the nearest tap.
Always carry a water bottle with you when you’re out exploring — whether you’re halfway up an Andean mountain, wandering through a European city or trekking in an Asian jungle.
Bottled water is cheap and easy enough to buy in most places, so stock up when you need to. And if you want to be more eco-friendly, you can invest in a water purifier that will kill bacteria and filter out other bad stuff, so you can refill your water bottle wherever and whenever.
Pack your own snacks for journeys
Keeping your diet in check on travel days is the hardest. Plane food is normally high in sugar and salt to make it taste like something, and greasy overpriced airport food isn’t any better.
Long-distance buses and service stations aren’t much better. If you’re getting a long bus to your next destination, it can often be tricky to find a decent food offering before the hanger kicks in and you’re yelling at your other half that you need a deep-fried empanada RIGHT NOW. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Packing your own healthy snacks will help you to keep your diet in check at times when you’re most likely to cave and eat something terrible, like busy days out or long journeys.
Pack yourself some healthy travel food that is packed with protein and fiber, such as nuts, cereal bars, or rice cakes. It’s also a great opportunity to buy some seasonal fruit and vegetables to nibble on — visit a local market to pick up some fresh produce before you hop on your bus.
Don’t skip meals
If you feel like you’re putting on weight during your travels, it can seem like a quick solution to just skip a meal every now and then to save some calories and lose a bit of weight.
This will absolutely not work. Not only will skipping meals result in tiredness — not what you need while travelling — and mean you miss out on essential nutrients, but it will also kick your body into ‘starvation mode’. This means your body will conserve food and store it as fat because it doesn’t know where your next meal is coming from.
So stick to regular mealtimes and your usual portion sizes, and give your body the energy it needs to enjoy each day. What better excuse to take advantage of the breakfast buffet in your hostel?
Swap that evening beer for herbal tea
It can be very tempting when you go travelling to drink constantly. On a beach? Grab a beer! Out exploring a cool neighbourhood at night? Grab a beer! Making friends at a new hostel? Grab a beer!
Yes, I’ll admit it’s fun, but this essentially leads to you binge-drinking solidly for six months (or however long your trip is). Nevermind the damage this is doing to your liver, drinking alcohol is a surefire way to put on weight and come home feeling bloated.
I’m not suggesting going tee-total during your travels, but reigning in the boozing is a good idea.
If you’re relaxing at a hostel, why not try a healthy herbal tea instead? There are some awesome regional herbal teas available, so check out what the local area has to offer — whether it’s yerba mate in South America, chrysanthemum tea in China, or matcha in Japan. Hostels normally have a decent selection, so give your liver a break and pick herbal tea as a healthier option instead.
For daytime drinking, why not swap a beach beer for a fresh coconut? Coconut water is really good for you, and will keep you hydrated during the day too!
Keeping your diet in check while travelling is mostly down to good planning and being sensible. Stay hydrated, eat local seasonal ingredients, pack snacks for day trips and plan your evening meals. You should definitely avoid binging on fatty snacks and lots of alcohol while you travel — and don’t skip meals to try to balance this out either!
Follow our top tips and you’ll stay healthy during your travels and avoid coming back feeling bloated and guilty.