How to eat well while traveling

Vacations often give us permission to over indulge. A huge deviation from our diet can leave us feeling sluggish there or when we return home. These are my food tips that keep my tummy relatively happy while I am away.

Photos are from a recent trip to Hawaii!

1. Start your morning with tea

The least we can do is hydrate our bodies when we wake up. An unpredictable schedule can mean that we forget to drink as much water as we should, especially if we are active and running around town or on a trail. Typical American breakfasts can be heavy so I usually opt for oatmeal and fruits if I have to tackle the traditional hotel continental breakfast. Hydrating on the plane is a given of course. A+ for effort if you find a fresh coconut to hydrate with.

The biggest coconut I ever saw. Sadly the water didn’t taste like anything, nor did the coconut meat.

2. Make breakfast your “good” meal of the day

Like with hydration, food is pretty unpredictable when you are away. If I can, I like to make sure at least my breakfast is super healthy and will fuel me for the day. And I mean breakfast loosely as in the first meal of the day (be it 5am or noon. I don’t know when I’ll eat next, and there is a very real possibility the next thing I eat will be a doughnut. Or something very heavy I am not used to eating.

Typical breakfasts I prepared myself.

Pic 1: Fruits, yogurt and granola, bean sprouts, egg and avocado over a few tablespoons of white rice.

Pic 2: Egg and avocado over boiled jackfruit seeds

My family mostly ate rice, eggs, and breakfast meats.

3. Get your greens in

Many “cheat foods” like pastries or meats lack fiber. Keep your tummy happy. Don’t forget to eat fiber rich fruits and veggies as you explore all of the yummy foods your destination has to offer.

It’s all better together. Avocado, soy beans, cucumber and seaweed over rice. My family made poke bowls buffet style.

4. Fiber pills.

Last resort but may be good to have if you are having bathroom issues. Your regular routine is out of whack and these may help.

5. Try everything

Take advantage of the unique local cuisine. Even if you don’t love a new dish at least you tried it.

I never had fresh soursop before! The most amazing tropical fruit taste. The inside kind of looks like fish but doesn’t taste like it at all. With star fruit and lilikoi.

6. Try everything *without guilt*

I keep myself on a (relatively) strict plant based diet everyday so while I am away I can enjoy all of the delightful foods I want without feeling guilty. I may end up with a stomach ache on occasion but my tastebuds are happy. That’s an important allowance to me.

Malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) are common around the island. Both “traditional” and tropical flavors like vanilla, chocolate, ube, and guava are available. Quotations marks because ube is “traditional” for my people.

7. Don’t be stupid but enjoy.

Use your judgement. Street food may be tempting and I have definitely indulged in places where perhaps I shouldn’t have. If there is any visible dirt or grime where the food is being prepared, it may be best to skip. Don’t forget money has a lot of germs and they may be handling money and cooking with the same hands. Not to say restaurants may be much better… You don’t have the same immunity as the local population and may be more susceptible to getting sick. Dealing with a stomach bug is no fun, especially while away.

8. Pack snacks!

If you can, it may be a good idea to pack snacks for longer day trips. Thankfully there was a Tupperware in the house I was staying in! We also saved plastic food containers just in case.

Pitaya, star fruit, mango, and sour sop on the go.

9. Find snacks!!

I especially enjoy trying local snacks. Although too many times I have come back with (what I thought to be clever) souvenirs, only to find them in a food store in NYC. I took advantage of the readily available Sweet Corn. It’s my faaaavorite Filipino snack.

I may or may not have a slight problem….

10. Plane food

We all know plane food typically isn’t great. But I had a veggie wrap that was so good it took me by surprise. I would say to take the banana and not the chips, or the granola bar instead of cookies but I would be lying if I said I didn’t take Oreos. I never buy them so this was my chance!

Most of all, food is meant to be enjoyed. So enjoy!

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