It may sound a bit not so important, but “eating healthy while traveling” is as significant as the traveling itself. With increasing awareness about food hygiene in railways and airways, people are recognising the fact that eating outside “especially while on the journey” is not the safest thing to do.
Most of us have been habitually lazy when it came to planning or preparing about the food aspect of our travel journeys. Perhaps the one liner we’ve all given to our moms “there’s going to be food available on the plane (or train), no need to worry.” But the lurking fear among our mothers is quite actually true in today’s day and age. We hear the reports on the kind of unhealthy and even unhygienic (in case of rail and road travel) food that available for us to satiate our hunger while travel.
But we can’t forget the fact that we are humans. When traveling a long distance, there are many more things to look after, right from our luggage, money, security, departure schedules, the trip/destination; consequently the eating schedule does end up taking a backseat. No matter how much we prepare for the trips, there will be some trips where we won’t carry our food along and then we will have to depend on the outside food. So, in those cases, how do we keep a firm control on oneself against the innumerable temptations? Read on to find answers to these questions and more.
Whether you travel by road, rail or by air, there are certain tips that will be useful for each type of travel. However, in this article, we will try and cover as many eating tips as possible, across the gamut of different kinds of travel.
1. The first tip is the most obvious. Do not step out of the house without eating home cooked food as there is nothing worse than a trip getting spoiled due to a food poisoning or a bad stomach. If your trip is important to you, take extra care.
Eat normal, decent diet which is easily digestible, before leaving for the railway station, bus station or airport. It is likely that after 30 minutes of reaching your station, you will need to hang around there for another 45 minutes. So if you are empty stomach, you will feel fatigued right at the outset of your journey and then can end up picking something very unhealthy, oil stuff available from vendors.
2. Some basic eating rules: According to diet experts, the best time to eat breakfast is between 7-8am and one should eat within 30 minutes of waking up. The ideal time for lunch is between 12:30-2pm, and should be at least 4 hours after having breakfast. Dinner should happen between 6-9pm. One should not delay dinner beyond 10pm. There should be 3 hours gap between eating and going to sleep at night. These basics should be adhered as much as possible so that the body works in sync with nature. Eating healthy and on time in normal life will keep you in that habit and keep your cycle the same while travel. You can eat a little earlier and do minor adjustments, but the discipline will keep your body clock in perfect tandem with nature.
3. If you are traveling by air, then please do not eat non-vegetarian food during the flight. It is said that the stomach in the human body stops functioning, while being seated inside a flying plane. Hence, when you deboard after landing, your stomach is put under too much stress. So the super word of caution is do not eat while flying, or as less as possible. Also, do not drink alcohol as it tends to dehydrate the body.
Try and eat light and that should be at least an hour before your flight’s take off. Also, avoid consuming coffee before the flight; it can be dehydrating for your body. Go for herbal teas, instead (esp. with Lemon that can be great for immunity considering the plane is full of people and germs!)
Read this fantastic article – https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-19/why-you-should-never-eat-food-on-planes-and-other-jet-set-tips
4. Snacks are always handy in any road or train trip. Keep almonds and other dry fruits with you and carry some juicy fresh fruits as well. Carrying your own snacks can control you from buying rubbish snacks. Eating oranges or other citrus fruits can be helpful for building immunity during the trip.
5. On business especially, if you are traveling alone and feel lonely, do not treat your loneliness with alcohol and unhealthy food in meals or snacks. Prepare your food options way in advance, and ask for those when you hit the meal time in your hotel or place of stay.
6. If you can control your diet during normal days, you can control it anywhere. Stick to your regular eating schedule and patterns and do not succumb to temptations, and certainly not the buffet!
7. A safe bet during travel is going for vegetarian food and gives instructions for low oil and spice beforehand. Pick the proteins – lentils, mushrooms, eggs etc. and the wholegrain stuff.
If you are traveling in India, you can ask for Khichadi (rice and dal recipe) which is rich in protein and very healthy. Add it up with yogurt and a vegetable of your choice. It can turn out to be a perfect light meal, especially at dinner.
8. Carry sanitizer gels and liquid soaps with you, even more when you are travelling with children. Also carry essential medicines that treat heartburn, headaches etc.
9. It is better you opt for mineral water rather than going for locally available water in a new land. The new food and water can be tough on your stomach, so avoid clear risks as much as possible.
10. Fermented foods such as yogurt are always good for the stomach. It has abundant good bacteria that help in digestion.
11. Sleep is often a cause of concern in a new place and a new bed. So, after few hours of your dinner, arrange for 1 glass of warm milk and drink it for a stress free and sound sleep. Milk is said to be natural sleep inducer and works well in relaxing the body as well. The warmth of the milk helps it to relax the human body.
12. If you are traveling with your spouse/partner then share your platter with your loved one and don’t end up ordering too much and wasting too much food. Go slow, order one thing at a time, share and eat and then decide to order next or not.
13. If you are regular with the gym, then while traveling your schedule has definitely gone for a toss and so has your diet plan. Prefer to eat out in the heat so that you end up drinking more fluids. Prefer walking back to your hotel.
14. When on a long stay, seek out a place of stay that gives you opportunity to cook yourself. If you get a kitchen, that’s great otherwise you can use induction cooktop, electric kettles, pots etc.
15. If you traveling railways then ensure you carry enough lunchboxes (snacks, light meals). It is certainly not advisable to eat railway food because of hygiene issues.
16. Drink lots of water throughout your journey. This will keep many problems at bay by keeping you thoroughly detoxed.
17. In case you are not carrying food with you, the foods to avoid during journey are the ones that are difficult to digest. So, the foods that are high on glycaemic foods (typically hi-sugar such as soft drinks or sweetened items, if you want to keep a chocolate carry a dark one) are the ones to avoid. Other than that, deep-fried stuff or artificially created low sugar items that are high on chemicals are to be avoided. Alcohol should also be avoided during trips.
18. Occasions where you cannot resist the temptation, just tell yourself one thing “moderation”. Eat your favourite junk food but order it intelligently. If you want to eat chicken sandwich, eat a grilled chicken sandwich with enough salad. If you wish to go for the deep fried stuff, and then make sure you go for a small portion.
19. On a luxury vacation or a honeymoon, don’t try a complex meat or non-vegetarian food that you have never eaten before. Chances are you will end up with a bad stomach. This is sure shot because in the travel mayhem you won’t be able to adjust your diet with the new stuff you have eaten and the imbalance thereafter will cause the indigestion.
20. On the first day of reaching your destination, stick to safe foods. Avoid taking any local food (fruit and vegetable) and drink right on the first day. Keep the first day to settle down and relax and getting acclimatized. The human body needs that much time to recover from a jet lag or the travel fatigue and a minimum of one day stay is required just to adjust the body to the new climate, local water and local food.
21. Operate on a strict budget. Keeping control on your purse strings is not so difficult. But it is when in normal life you are not leading a disciplined life. When you lead a life of self-control, travel is no different.
So, work on the base. Budgeting is okay, but it is not the formula to control your desires.
22. When you are being served outside, watch out for the size of serving. It is not just what you eat but also “how much” in terms of quantity. This is one thing we often get unmindful of, especially on a honeymoon or on a pleasure trip. In a complete mood to enjoy and binge, we dive into whatever we are offered. But, it works best when we keep food and excitement separate.
23. If you are on a pleasure trip, it is even better to take care of those extra calories that you’ve consumed in meals. Keep your spirits high and walk and play with as much fun as possible. A happy self and an active body stay fit and healthy. Also make sure you are drinking water throughout the day.
24. On the last day of the trip, keep yourself light and avoid items that are difficult to digest. Since you need to travel again, and a couple of hours, eat something filling yet easily digestible. Keep dark chocolate with you that you can
25. A meal must always be a good mix of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. So aim to balance your meal with all essential nutrients so that your body has the right energy, bone health, body mass and overall fitness to cope with a new atmosphere.
26. Beware of what you eat. When you are eating, concentrate on eating as well watch carefully what is being served to you. Once you are fully aware and there in the moment, nobody can fool you. Don’t feel scared to return something if you don’t think it’s good or correct. Money comes secondary, first is health.
Europe, U.S., or India, leisure travel should be lot more about soaking the scenery and the beauty of the location as well as relaxing on the time out. It shouldn’t get centred about hogging junk, just because you have the means. Carry music, DVDs, or books along so that loneliness doesn’t become a reason for binge.
Eating carefully only makes our journey truly enjoyable as we travel safe, protected and light in the truest possible way. Like an insurance policy, cover your health risk by carrying necessary food for the journey, and as you reach the destination slowly graduate to the local fruits and vegetables. Slow is beautiful. Don’t be in a rush. If you are unable carry food along with you, then be your own dietician and make wise choices.
Author Bio Section:
Claire works as an engineer at Brillopak, a robotic palletising and semi-automatic packing machine manufacturing company in UK. Apart from designing, Claire loves to blog. You can find her trying out new recipes, playing drums or cheering in stands for Falmer Stadium.