Holiday food: trying the local doesn't necessarily mean loosing track of your sustainability and health goals!
Or better.. how to eat cheaply, healthy and sustainably while on the move...
Food, it can be hard enough to maintain a healthy and sustainable diet while at home, with plenty of preparation required, but, doing the same while travelling? While travelling abroad? Impossible.. And if you are on holiday somewhere different it goes without saying that you may want to (and you should) try the local food..
But where to start??
Here some hints and tips that I have learned from some of my travelling
Choose your accommodation well
Hotels or B&Bs type situations are not very friendly for the careful eater, you don't have anywhere to cook anything for yourself, or a fridge to store any fresh fruit or vegetables to snack on. You will rely on restaurants and fast foods, which is not only going to be costly for your wallet, but your health too! This is not to say you should never go enjoy a nice meal out, but perhaps not every lunch and dinner for a week. Instead, choose some kind of self-catering/apartment/airbnb/travel with a stove if you are camping. This way you will be able to cook for yourself sometimes
Cooking for yourself - grocery shopping!
Here comes the fun! Now you have to go find some ingredients.
What better to soak up even more culture than finding a local market? Plunge into the unknown and try some vegs or fruit you have never seen before - and don't be afraid to ask the locals how are they prepared.. In my Greek travels, I have encountered 'Horta' - which is basically a term for many different types of green leaves to be boiled (and often have a lot of stem to be cut off), I find the local people at the market are always so friendly and useful telling me how to clean them in advance. In the Seychelles I have eaten amazing pink fruit which was white inside and so crunchy and watery (no, not dragonfruit and i have no idea what it is called) sold by some women near the beach.
For proteins, if nothing at the market or there isn't a dedicated market for fish and meats and cheese (like the awesome meat market in Athens), try to go to the fishermen for fish, or find a fishmongers, and the butcher. Again if you happened to befriend some locals, ask them where best to go! And here again, let yourself be surprised by trying new things..
Basically, what am I trying to say is.. be brave!
But only with the raw ingredients.. if you are going to a supermarket and buying some ready mixed things (you should try to avoid but some local delicacies may come ready made) then the following advice applies
Learn some basic local language (google translate helps)
This is very useful if you are, for example, trying to steer clear of some ingredients such as sugar. Or maybe you are trying to avoid grains - learn how they are called so you can scan through the ingredient list and find something suitable! I promise, it's not that hard... And can be quite fun!! I love going to local supermarkets and challenge myself. Also, I believe supermarkets can be quite entertaining and give some insights into culture and demographic of the place... just me?
Lastly.. enjoy! And enjoy your meal out (or two) without worrying too much.. you are on holidays after all, right??
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