Thursday, August 25, 2016

How to eat healthily while traveling & road-tripping

A few months ago I travelled to New Zealand and Australia for two months, which was my first long trip ever. It was also my first time travelling by campervan (in NZ), which meant I had to use my creativity to come up with tasteful and healthy meals every day. With a limited amount of resources, it can be rather challenging! In this post I'll show you that you don't need to live off fast-food, pasta and cornflakes when travelling/backpacking. Especially when you travel, eating nutritious foods is super important. You need all the energy for hikes, walks, long beach days or whatever other activities you have planned. I've got a few tricks which worked quite well for me!How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

Since it's going to be a long post I've divided it into four parts:

1. On the flight - how to eat well on long-haul flights
2. In the city - the healthier food options in cities
3. On the road & camping - meal ideas which you can make when you stay in a camper van, hostel or motel, some of my favourite foods & why 
4. Road trip & hiking snacks - favourite healthy snacks for on the road or during/after hikes 

Although I'm only talking about the "healthy" options, that doesn't mean that I only ate healthy foods during my trip. Of course I also ate ice cream, burgers, fries and all that, but since I'm giving my healthy tips, I decided to focus only on that. But I'm a strong believer in not restricting yourself too much when it comes to food, especially when you're on holiday! It's all about the balance ;) 

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


ON THE FLIGHT

Special meals
My number one tip for long-haul flights is to order a special meal. I flew with Cathay Pacific and they have a big range of special meal options such as Kosher, vegetarian, Hindu, vegan, gluten-free, raw, lactose-free etc. I chose to have vegan meals on all my flights, you can easily do this when checking your flights online. It’s not necessarily tastier than the other meals on offer but there’s a plus: you receive your meal before anyone else does. This means that you get to have your meal 30 minutes before everyone else which means you finish earlier and can sleep sooner or use the bathroom without all the post-meal queues. Super convenient! And I'm pretty sure that vegetarian/vegan/raw meals are the healthier options (no over-processed meat and watery eggs).

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

Hydration

The only drink I have on flights, no matter how long or short they are, is water. It hydrates better than any other drink available on the plane and it has zero calories (duh). Hydration without the extra calories sounds like the perfect in-flight drink to me. 

Snacks
Snacks on flights are usually not very good or healthy. If you bring a couple of healthy bars (Nakd, Cliff, Trek, Beond, Eat Natural etc.) you’ll have nutritious snacks all throughout the flight. I even brought banana peanut butter rice cakes when I flew to Sydney. Of course, don’t overdo it, these snacks are also calorie-dense but at least they’re not full of fast carbs/sugar. Bear in mind that some countries have import restrictions on food, so you might have to finish your snacks before landing.

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


IN THE CITY

Juice baby
Especially after a long flight it’s good for your body to take in some extra vitamins and nutrients. In Auckland, there was Tank juice, a franchise with shops all over the city, which sold freshly pressed juices. Also in Melbourne and Sydney, I opted for juices most of the time instead of ice cream for example. Juice is always tasty, refreshing and nutritious. 


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

Sushi

If you’re in a city and you’re looking for a quick but relatively healthy meal, sushi is the way to go. It’s healthy fast-food, especially if you choose the veggie option (I ate vegan food 80% of the time this whole trip). They sold this at most Woolworths supermarkets in New Zealand and Australia. Smart Sushi was my favourite in Auckland


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

Health stores 
If you’re into healthy food, try to check out some health stores in new cities. They stock brands you’ve never heard of, so it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new. I discovered Pana Chocolate in Melbourne, which is probably the best chocolate I’ve ever eaten (next to The Chocolate Factory in Wellington). Health stores are never cheap but if you only buy some snacks it’s okay. My favourite: Prahran Health Foods in Melbourne.

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

Markets
Another plus of traveling through countries with warmer climates, is the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables in the (super)markets. Most of it is locally grown, cheap and twice the size of what we get in Europe (check those passion fruits!!!) Make the most of it and try everything you can't find back home. 


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


ON THE ROAD & CAMPING

Camping/hostel/motel meal ideas

I always started the day with a very BIG breakfast, followed up by a random lunch (crackers + hummus, fruits, vegetables, leftovers... random stuff) and a carb-rich dinner (mostly pasta with vegetables since that's the easiest). And good snacks like apples, carrots and hummus keep you going throughout the day!

BREAKFAST: muesli with oat milk & banana, toast with peanut butter & banana, porridge/oatmeal with banana and peanut butter (you notice a pattern here? peanut butter all day every day), cereal with oat milk or (coconut) yoghurt, avocado toast, fruit salad, tea or instant coffee

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

LUNCH: wraps with falafel & vegetables, crackers and cut-up vegetables with hummus, leftovers (e.g. pasta), salad with falafel, avocado & hummus

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

DINNER: pasta with fresh tomato sauce or mushrooms, wraps with vegetables & avocado, big salad & corn on the cob, instant noodles (for those late or lazy nights), vegetable soup with lentils (just add water-packs)


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

Oat Milk
Because cow's milk goes bad if not refrigerated well (and also because I don’t drink cow's milk), I only drank Oat Milk during the road trips in New Zealand and Australia. You can find Oat milk in every supermarket (even Aldi had it), and it tastes good with anything. One pack lasts about 2 days for 2 people for breakfast, coffee etc. In New Zealand, we kept it in the little refrigerator of the camper (which we turned off during hikes) and in Australia, we kept the milk in the motel fridge every night. You only need to refrigerate the milk once you’ve opened it (and even if you don't it stays good for 2 days), so you can buy a supply in advance. 

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

Roadside fruit stalls
Even when I was a kid we always used to stop at roadside fruit stalls for a little snack! The fruit from these stalls is usually from local fruit farms, perfectly ripe and ready to eat. Fruit stalls are usually announced a few hundred meters before so keep your eyes peeled for the signs or prepare to make a U-turn. In New Zealand, we bought local avocados and Black Boy peaches and in Australia, we found tiny bananas and pineapples (50 cents each!)

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


ROAD TRIP & HIKING SNACKS

Dips: hummus, guacamole, peanut butter (Pic’s PB Slugs)
Vegetables: carrots, cucumber, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, celery
Fruit: apples, pears, peaches, apricots, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, watermelon
Drinks: water, coconut water, lemonade, fresh juice
Other: vegetable crisps, rice cakes, rice crackers, cashews, peanuts
Sweet: fruit, dark chocolate, dried fruit, muesli bars (Carman’s Fruit Free bars were my absolute fave), dark chocolate dipped in peanut butter (guilty pleasure and my favourite after long hikes)


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping

Behind the scenes! our food supply in the camper and the cooking situation in a camping kitchen. Here I was making pasta with a mushroom onion cream sauce and guacamole in tiny containers to bring on our hike the next day. I might have gotten some jealous stares from fellow campers ;)



How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


How to eat healthy while traveling & road-tripping


If you have a good eye you might have noticed that all of this food is vegan, but since that word seems to scare some people off I decided not to mention it too much. I didn't eat vegan all the time, but I made sure that everything I cooked myself was 100% vegan. Eating plant-based food during my trip kept me energised all throughout the day. The variety of fruit and vegetables provide all the vitamins, minerals and fibre, while the hummus and peanut butter provide protein and fat. Carb-rich dinners gave me energy for the long day hikes! And you don't need to worry about meat going bad (or worse.. getting sick from it).

I hope these tips gave you some inspiration for your next trip. I discovered the camper van travel style and I kind of loved it! Cooking these meals in tiny kitchens or in the back of the car was definitely a challenge, but it proved that you can eat nutritious food no matter where you are.

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