Guest Post: 8 ways to stay healthy while travelling
March 1, 2016
8 Ways to Stay Healthy when Travelling
The Taste Tester for the March was the lovely @young_rebecca, here’s what she has to say “I chose to write about health while travelling as I think it is an often stressed about topic and I personally love to travel and have been fortunate enough to be on the road overseas quite often in the past 4 years, so I’ve learnt a few tricks!”
I am a firm believer that travelling is absolutely one of the best things ever. I’m personally afflicted with a serious case of wanderlust and seem to find myself in a perpetual cycle of either saving every cent that I can for an adventure or spending all my money on plane tickets to far-flung destinations. When travelling, one of my biggest worries is usually that all my hard work to be healthy and to eat well will go out the window when on the road. At the same time, a very important, arguably most important, part of travel is sampling the all the food. Health and holiday eating don’t always go hand-in-hand, but here are a few tips, tricks and tidbits of advice for the health conscious traveller that are tried and tested to make sure the only extra baggage you return home with is just the shopping you partook in while on the go!
1. Fresh Fruit is your Friend
I honestly cannot put into words how much I love all the fresh fruit that seems to be available whenever and wherever I have travelled. If you’re in Europe in the summer, berries are absolutely everywhere, which is basically a dream come true! In Asia, you’ll find mango and banana and other tropical delights on effectively every single street corner and whilst I’ve never been to the Americas, I can only assume they too have their fair share of food markets and street vendors with fresh produce. When you’re on the road, fresh fruit is not only quick, easy and inexpensive, but also really good for keeping up all those vitamins and minerals which you’ll need if you don’t want to get sick. When I was in Europe, I would head out every morning and wander the streets (usually for not very long) before stumbling upon a local grower selling their produce. Eating at markets and from vendors like this is also a lovely way to meet some locals and to shop as many locals do!
2. There is Nothing Better than Being Outdoors
Sure museums and exhibitions and castles and shopping malls are fun and absolutely worth visiting, but there is simply no better way to see the world and learn about a new place than being outdoors in the streets, in parks or sitting outdoors in a café observing the local people go about their life. People-watching is one of the best ways to just absorb and learn about the local way of life and the best place to people watch would absolutely have to be the local park, which is conveniently also a fantastic source of fresh air. I spent many afternoons eating fresh berries whilst sitting in the sunshine in the various parks of Europe which was a fantastic way to get outside, get some fresh air, partake in some casual people-watching and most importantly, get a dose of Vitamin D!
3. Walk Whenever and Wherever you Can
Whilst it is incredibly tempting to jump on the metro, catch a bus or hail a cab, you will almost always find that the extra time and effort to walk instead will be worth it. This is especially true for big cities such as London where you will often find that walking between major sights instead of catching the tube is not only cheaper and better for you, but also quite often quicker! Obviously it is far better health-wise to walk and you would be surprised how easy it is to walk a few kilometers in a day whilst sightseeing. And, because the sights are so interesting and there are so many new things to see and do, you’ll rarely realize just how far you’ve actually walked! Walking between sorbet shops is also an excellent way to simultaneously indulge in some delicious food whilst burning some calories! Win-win situation!!
4. Indulge in some Treats Every now and Then Because Moderation is Key
Speaking of sorbet, you should absolutely indulge in some treats when you’re on the road. So much of the experience travelling is in sampling the local food which often tends to be on the not-so-healthy side of the spectrum, which is unfortunate, however a simple reality of life. But, life is no fun without some treats, so go ahead and indulge in whatever the local delicacy is, but keep in mind that moderation is key. If you try and avoid all the treats, you’ll almost always find that one day you will lose your willpower and binge eat all the bad stuff at once and leave yourself feeling sick. Indulging every now and then in smaller amounts is a far more sustainable and healthy way to eat whilst still enjoying the culinary offerings of your destination.
5. Start your Day with a Walk or a Run
This is absolutely my number one piece of advice for anyone travelling. A lot of people consider a morning walk/run off-limits when on a holiday but I discovered that getting outdoors for some morning activity was the best way to stay fit whilst on the road and also had the added bonus of effectively allowing me to go on a city tour without all the tourists. I usually did a quick scan of Google Maps the night before to get an approximate idea of the direction I wanted to head off running the next morning and then I’d wake and head off the next day. So many people sleep in and then head off to the tourist hotspots along with all the other tourists, meaning they get stuck in a crush of people. By getting up a bit earlier, I not only got some quality exercise into my schedule, but I also managed to see large parts of the cities I visited before breakfast meaning I had a better idea of what was worth visiting and dedicating time to later that day. I also got some of the best pictures whilst running by stopping for a few moments at major sights to snap a picture and enjoy the moment before any of the tourists arrived.
6. Always Eat a Quality and Wholesome Breakfast
BREAKFAST IS KING. There is truly nothing more important than having a quality, wholesome breakfast before a day of travelling, sightseeing or activity. This is especially true if you are travelling on a budget because if you skip breakfast you’ll inevitably find your money being poured into buying snacks all day long because of constant hunger. Many hotels and hostels include free breakfast these days and even if yours does not, breakfast is one of the easiest meals to find at an affordable price. I always started my day with a feast of fresh local fruit (see point number one), which is the perfect source of energy for a day of exploring.
7. Shopping = Cardio
I have a shopping addiction that I’ve generally always considered a bad habit, however this is not necessarily so because when you add up all those steps taken around the shops hunting down the perfect pair of shoes, you’ll often find that you have done a fair
bit of walking. This not only justifies the need to buy a new pair of shoes because you wore the other ones out, but also great exercise! Additionally, whilst it may seem a pain, lugging all those extra clothes around in your suitcase is also good weights training. I know this because I left with effectively no upper body strength but after 6 weeks dragging my 30kg suitcase up and down flights of stairs in apartment buildings, I think I almost rival the Incredible Hulk in terms of my arm muscles.
8. Walking Tours are the Best Things Ever
Last but not least, in most major towns and cities around the world you will find that the local tourism board offers free walking tours that take in the major sights. Even when the tours are not free, they will pretty much always be very cheap for what they are. A walking city tour is a great way to tick of all the must see sights, hear a guide explain the local history, get some great pictures and sneak in some exercise. Often walking tours take place in the morning, which is perfect when travelling in the summer because you will avoid the heat of the day. Tour guides are also usually very knowledgeable about the best food destinations, so if you head off for a walking tour in the morning, you can get the low-down on the best restaurants in town for lunch!
Check out my recipe for
Chocolate Chip and Almond Butter Muffins
4 tbsp Mayver’s Almond Spread
1/2 cup raw, unrefined sugar (i.e. coconut sugar)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 cups white spelt flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cups dairy free chocolate chips
1. Preheat a fan-forced oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the almond butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste.
3. Add in the flour, baking powder, almond milk and maple syrup and mix well (approx. 3-4 minutes) using the electric mixer.
4. Add in the chocolate chips and fold them into the batter with a spoon or spatula.
5. Take a lined muffin tin and spoon the mixture into each mould. You should have approx. 12 muffins.
6. Bake for approx. 15 – 20 minutes, checking at 10 and 15 minutes to make sure they aren’t burning.