I don’t think it’s any secret that eating healthy while travelling is difficult. Good food is more expensive than junk food in lots of places around the world and although the rise of plant based alternatives is growing rapidly, it’s still difficult to find in some countries.
I’m super passionate about travelling and I’ve been lucky enough to have been to so many incredible places. Last year I spent 4 months travelling Singapore, Bali, Australia & New Zealand. Hopefully I’ll be able to give you some tips on eating a healthy plant based diet while being on the road.
Do some research
Find out if the places you’re travelling to have many plant based options. A lot of eastern countries are still very reliant on meat as a staple food but some places might surprise you. Ubud in Bali for example is still quite a traditional part of the island but the amount of plant based choices are incredible. Indian food can be easily vegan friendly, but Chinese cusine is a little more hit and miss (watch out for oyster sauce!). It’s always worth a quick google, some blogs or websites might even have some specific tips for the particular area you’re planning on visiting, or download the HappyCow & Vanilla Bean apps.
(While in Stockholm we discovered a small chain restaurant called Taku-Taku. It made some of the best food we had all week.) ^
Cook your own food
If you’re staying in a hostel or Airbnb with a kitchen it’s easy to cook your own meals. Not only is it usually cheaper than eating out, you have much more control over the foods you’re eating. My favourite quick and easy meal is a veg chilli with corn chips. Yum.
If you’re heading out for the day bring some snacks (or some left-over last night’s chilli!) so if you do get stuck you won’t go hungry. Plan meals or look up menus online for local restaurants. I do this even in the UK!
Try new foods
By trying the local Indonesian cuisine I discovered Tempeh which is now one of my favourite foods. Although in many places in SE Asia, western food is actually more healthy than local food. Don’t get me wrong, asian food is amazingly tasty but considering the amount of oil they use to cook with, I’d recommend spacing it out with some healthy western meals if you can. If not, there can be some easy switches like steamed rice instead of fried noodles and coconut based curries rather than stir fried vegetables.
Extra tip: If you’re in a country where tap water is not drinkable, be careful of the salad – lots of places wash it in tap water!
Ask for variations of the menu
If all else fails and you end up in a restaurant that doesn’t have many options, don’t be afraid to ask for a variation of something on the menu. Plenty of times I’ve asked for the ‘vegetarian version’ of a dish or explained my requirements to the waiting staff and they’re usually always happy to help.
Learn some local words
The word ‘Vegetarian’ is understood in a lot of non-english speaking countries but ‘Vegan’ can be a little confusing. It might be useful to learn some words & phrases like ‘no meat’ and ‘no dairy’ in the local language to help you get what you’re looking for.
All in all, I’ve actually been surprised at the amount of easily available plant based foods in many places. I hope these tips come in useful and you’re able to keep well and healthy while you explore this beautiful world!
Peace! Jess x