Traveling is always exciting and overwhelming, but finding my favorite healthy staple foods abroad is next to impossible. With all the new sites to see and explore, our normal diets and healthy lifestyle practices can take a back seat to our adventures. It isn’t really realistic, or practical, to plan out meals and bring a 21-Day Clean Program with us while traveling (although Daily Shake packets travel perfectly with our Shaker Bottle).
Sure, we can go back to our regular staple foods when we return home, but what do we do about our eating habits when we aren’t able to access the food we are accustomed to eating back home?
Staple Foods Abroad to Stay Healthy and Balanced.
When I was traveling there was so much to explore, and eat, the possibilities were endless -- I was overjoyed and took full advantage of all that was available to me. However, after a while, it started to take its toll on me. My staple foods back home of quinoa and kale were distant memories and I knew I needed to bring some structure back into my life during my next adventure,
Now when I travel, the first thing I do is head straight to the grocery store and stock up my fridge with some familiar staple foods, to help me get through my travels. The options might not be the most delicious or exciting, but oftentimes in other countries, we have to improvise in order to stay on track.
Lemons and Limes
When we drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning, it sets our bodies up to receive nutrients in the best possible way. Citrus is acidic, but it converts to alkaline in our bodies. When the pH balance in our bodies is leaning towards acidic, it can mean that our immunity levels are down and we are more prone to getting sick. The antioxidant and alkalizing benefits of citrus (or apple cider vinegar, if citrus fruits aren’t available) counteract acidity levels in our bodies . Drinking lemon water every morning is a great practice to incorporate into our morning routines that will keep us balanced and refreshed all day.
Exploring and trying fresh local fruit wherever we are staying is a great way to try new produce and maybe find a new favorite food. Eating fruit in season is always a great way to ensure that we are getting the freshest produce that the markets have to offer.
If I find myself in New York in the fall or winter, I know apples are a great staple food to carry on the go. When in Vietnam, I try to find pineapple and in Mexico, eating fresh mangoes with chili and lime is great, not just because they’re delicious, but because locally grown fruits and vegetables contain the vitamins and minerals we need to keep us immune to local viruses (not to mention, antioxidant beauty foods). By making the first meal of my day something I feel really good about, like fresh fruit, as opposed to settling for whatever they can crank out for us at the nearest cafe, I'm more likely to make wiser food choices the rest of the day.
Nuts are high in sustaining protein and energizing healthy fats making them a great snack to have on hand at all times. Almonds and walnuts are my favorite, but any type of nut or seed can keep me satisfied between meals and bump up my protein intake for the day. I’ve jazzed up my fair share of salads and other restaurant dishes with a handful of nuts, that I carry around with me, for added crunch and nutrition.
If kale, chard, or collard greens are available, by all means, grab those, but I’ve found that most of the time broccoli is the greenest thing I can find while traveling. There will be a lot of places in my travels that have no semblance of a kitchen whatsoever which can make cooking vegetables more difficult. I have blanched broccoli in hot water, steamed it in the microwave, and even eaten it raw when there wasn’t cooking options.
There are not a ton of other vegetables that can pack a nutritional punch like broccoli does that can also be enjoyed in any state. Broccoli is loaded with dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin A and C, making it an awesome vegetable to stock up on. Because broccoli travels so well, raw and cooked (smell aside) I was able to pack it as my lunch (with some nuts, of course) on many of long rides or plane trips to supplement between meals, ensuring I was satisfied until I could find a more filling meal that met my dietary and health standards.
I know it might seem like health-nut overkill, but I always carry coconut oil with me in my purse. Coconut oil is a huge staple food for me because it is so versatile and I swear it has saved my life more times than I can count. Healthy fats satiate us meaning that they fill us up and keep us satisfied for a long time. Other staple foods like avocados, eggs, and fatty fish are all great sources of healthy fats, but those options can be hard to find and tend to be expensive when your budgeting for travel.
A spoonful of coconut oil whisked furiously into my morning coffee is a good alternative to creamer and a great way to start out the day. In a pinch, if feeling faint, eating a spoonful of coconut oil can help sustain us until we can get to real food. Coconut oil is also great to use as a hair mask or deep conditioning treatment, in lieu of conditioner, one less item to pack in our suitcases, (score!) I toss coconut oil on broccoli, wash my face with it and use it as lotion, basically, “I put that shit on everything.” Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature, I don’t panic about it destroying all my outfits if I toss it in my suitcase before a big flight. If I’m worried about my bag being overweight, I can always mix the last of it with some salt or sugar for a quick and invigorating body scrub. It’s always worth the money, and so far I’ve never wasted an ounce!
Coconut oil also possesses natural beauty benefits -- it's great to use as a hair mask or deep conditioning treatment, in lieu of conditioner. That's one less item to pack in our suitcases if I toss coconut oil on broccoli, wash my face with it, and use it as my body lotion. Basically, “I put that shit on everything.” Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature (and freezing high altitude temps), I don’t panic about it destroying all my outfits if I toss it in my suitcase before a big flight. If I’m worried about my bag being overweight, I can always mix the last of it with some salt or sugar for a quick and invigorating body scrub. It’s always worth the money, and so far I’ve never wasted even one ounce!
Written by Holly Allison, Certified Holistic Health Coach