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Eating healthy on holiday doesn't need to be expensive and can help you to feel your best while you explore.

| By Chloe Mcleod | Wellness

5 Dietitian-Approved Tips for Eating Healthy While Travelling on a Budget

Eating healthy on holiday doesn't need to be expensive and can help you to feel your best while you explore.

With inflation going through the roof, many of us are looking at ways we can cut costs and save our hard-earned pennies. But now that the world has opened back up "post-pandemic", many of us are also wanting to get out and travel more.

While it’s expected (and encouraged) to enjoy delicious foods from whichever country you're visiting, it’s a great idea to try to eat a healthy baseline diet when away so you can feel your best while you explore.

There is the assumption that healthy eating equals more money spent, but this doesn’t need to be the case! Here are our top tips for eating healthy while travelling on a budget,

Pack nourishing, budget-friendly snacks

When out travelling, we often don’t plan where we’re having our next meal and can get caught up in the adventure of it all. This is all well and good, but it can lead to our fuel tank dropping down to empty and the hanger kicking into overdrive. If not prepared with snacks, this leads to buying a more expensive meal or snack when out and about. Some healthy and more budget-friendly snacks to pack for a day of exploring (or driving/sailing/flying) are:

  • Nut/seed bar: Compact, nutritious, and delicious – nut and seed bars are a great budget-friendly option when travelling. If you’re travelling on a plane and nuts are off-limits, seed bars/bites such as Munchme pumpkin seed bites are an allergy-friendly option.
  • Muesli/protein bars: Muesli and protein bars can be excellent options for travel to keep you fuelled between meals, especially if you’re doing a lot of walking.
  • Fruit: Fresh fruit is something you can get for an affordable price anywhere in the world. It can be easy for our fruit and veg intake to drop off when travelling, so aiming to include a couple of pieces of fruit each day when away is a budget-friendly way to hit your vitamin and mineral requirements.
  • Roasted chickpeas: A tasty way to increase your legume intake (which we ideally want to be minimum 3-4 times per week for health benefits) and are a great portable option for travelling.

Opt for vegetarian dishes 

There is an abundance of research that shows the health benefits of reducing meat intake, particularly red and processed meat. Meat dishes are also more expensive regardless of where you are in the world, compared to plant-based alternatives such as tofu and legumes. Opting for vegetarian options when eating out on your travels will benefit both your wallet and health. If you’re not used to eating legumes and lentils, start low and slow to reduce gut symptoms and increase gradually (with plenty of water).

DIY breakfasts 

Eating out is expensive, especially if you’re eating out for all three meals when travelling. Breakfast is an easy one to do yourself and save money when travelling – avo on toast at your Airbnb is just as tasty and a fraction of the price! Some fantastic options to enjoy are:

  • Yoghurt, granola and fruit
  • Wholegrain cereal and long-life soy milk (perfect if you don’t have any fridge/cooking facilities)
  • Avocado or eggs on wholegrain toast
  • Porridge or overnight oats

Go easy on the alcohol

While the price of alcohol can vary significantly depending on where you’re travelling, the negative health impacts of excess alcohol remain the same. It can be really tempting to make the most of the cheap Bali cocktails, but if you’re trying to be health conscious, we’d recommend moderating the margs. Putting some boundaries in place can be helpful – e.g. having a maximum of 1-2 drinks daily and having at least two alcohol-free days per week. Remember high consumption of alcohol can have immediate impacts on health by disrupting your sleep, impacting food choices (most of us aren’t snacking on veggie sticks or opting for a salad after a night of heavy drinking), and can trigger gut symptoms such as diarrhoea and reflux.

Manage portions and utilise share-plates 

Unless you’re eating at a fine-dining restaurant, portions when eating out are almost always much bigger (often double) than what you’d dish up for yourself at home. So, a cost-effective option is to request your leftovers be packaged up in a take-home pack and enjoy them for lunch the next day (providing you have a fridge to store them in). Share plates are another smart option. You could share a curry and order a side of steamed greens, halving the cost of what you’d pay and getting the health benefits of some extra veg!

Chloe is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), Advanced Sports Dietitian and founder of Verde Nutrition Co. You can follow her on Instagram here and at Verde Nutrition Co here.

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