If you are traveling or always on the go, eating healthy can be quite difficult because there are either more or fewer restaurants to choose from.
You will always tend to give in to your cravings more easily and purchase meals from the first establishments you see because you are tired from all the traveling.
Alternatively, you might find yourself reasoning out that you deserve to savor, for example, the best burgers in Dubai and other highly recommended local treats. After all, you are thousands of miles away from the comforts of your home, and when will you have another chance to try new food?
However, eating healthy while living a nomadic lifestyle or being constantly on the go is possible — as long as you follow these simple tips:
1. Start your day right
Wherever you are and no matter how busy your schedule is, start your day right with a hearty, well-balanced breakfast. A good breakfast is important to your daily diet and health plan.
Eating a hearty breakfast complete with lean meat, vegetables, fruits and grains supports weight loss and helps curb cravings as well. Also, filling your tummy with healthy goodies before or during a long road trip will give you the energy you need throughout the day.
2. Stop by a grocery store instead of an eatery
If you are on the road and feeling hungry, instead of making a stop at a drive-thru or a diner, go to the nearest grocery store or supermarket. Buy some nuts, trail mix, fresh fruits and veggies, string cheese, and yogurt. These are healthier snacks that will give you the nutrients you need to keep your energy up while you are constantly on the move.
You can save your craving for your favorite fast food and other restaurant staples for lunch or dinner or even for another day – a choice that will be better for your body.
3. Always have healthy emergency backup snacks
Prepare an “emergency snack kit” which you can dip into whenever you are feeling hungry on the road or even while on a flight. Make sure you have a lean protein and a whole grain, fruit or vegetable in your snack kit. Snacks that are packed with fiber and protein will help keep you energized and feeling full throughout your trip.
A stop at a grocery store or supermarket will help you fill up on these healthy snacks which you can put in your emergency stash.
4. Stay hydrated
Whether you’re traveling by land, air or sea, make sure you are always hydrated. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Staying hydrated will allow you to concentrate better on what you are doing, especially if you are driving.
It is best to fill up with plain water instead of carbonated drinks and artificial fruit juices since those contain loads of sugar and empty carbohydrates. They will do nothing good for your body either since they are full of unhealthy ingredients.
5. Order healthy dishes
Discovering new food finds is part of the thrill of travel. Whenever you eat out (which is something unavoidable if you are always in transit), avoid ordering fried, greasy and fatty foods, especially before going on a long flight. Such foods are more difficult to digest and can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort which is often aggravated by prolonged sitting.
Before or during a long trip, it is best to order meals with lean proteins such as grilled chicken and fish, and a salad with vinaigrette instead of a creamy and fatty dressing. Whole-grain pasta with red sauce and a turkey sandwich with vegetables are other great options to consider.
6. Make sure you eat fruits and veggies at every meal
If you are enjoying a Dubai Saturday brunch buffet, don’t just load your plate with meat, bread and pasta. Always make room on your plate for fresh fruits and vegetables, too.
This is something that you can do at any restaurant. Choose a fresh salad or a vegetable soup as your appetizer. Ask the wait staff if they can replace the starchy sides such as potatoes or bread in the meal with vegetables. Most restaurants are happy to do this for free.
7. If fast food is your only option, order wisely
Peruse the menu and choose the healthiest options they have. Order a chicken sandwich and a salad if the restaurant offers these. Select desserts that contain fresh fruits such as a parfait or fruit salad. If you are craving a sweet, cold treat, order a cup of plain vanilla ice cream instead of a sundae.
8. Eat only until you are satisfied
Lastly, you do not always have to finish every morsel of food on your plate. You can always take whatever you cannot finish back to your hotel, keep it in your fridge, reheat and eat the next day. You will avoid all the extra calories by following this tip. Keep in mind that to fully enjoy the joys of travel, you need to be in tiptop condition, and getting the nutrients you need everyday is essential to good health.
Eating healthy is something that is quite difficult to do today, especially if you’re living a nomadic lifestyle. But by making a conscious effort to do so, you can still enjoy meals and treats that are filling and tasty, and will give you the energy you need for wherever you may be headed.
Kumar Samtani is the co-founder of MenuPages.ae. With an educational background in Industrial & Operations Engineering from the prestigious University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Kumar’s expertise lies in process improvement & operations management for all types of organizations. He is also an experienced entrepreneur with business interests in consumer goods, hospitality supplies & real estate.