Cultural Cuisine: Healthy Eating Tips

Being a health freak and an avid traveler at the same time can work against each other. This is because you’re obviously not carrying your kitchen along.

One of the perks of traveling to new countries and places is being able to interact with new people, dive into local cultures, soak in a variety of experiences, and, of course, enjoy local cuisines.

As a health enthusiast traveler, you might be wary of trying new foods you come across on your travels. But you don’t have to totally let go of the local culinary delights if you make smart choices.

The trick here is not to deprive yourself but to make smart tweaks that let you taste the local flavors and traditional recipes without overindulging.

Browse The Local Markets

Don’t depend on touristy traps for your meals, but embrace the local markets bursting with seasonal produce for healthy finds. Local markets will always have something cooked up that locals devour, and you can, too, without hurting your pocket or your tummy!

Ask Questions

You’re not obligated to stuff in whatever comes to your plate. If you’ve doubts about the ingredients, calories, or anything else, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Staff at local shops and restaurants would be more than happy to answer your questions, and if nothing works, Google always has closely accurate answers you can rely on.

Food Labels

If you’re buying local packaged foods, make sure to read the label and the ingredients. Check out the macros (if available) on the package, and look out for terms like ‘low sugar,’ ‘whole grain,’ ‘low fat,’ etc.

If you can’t read what’s written on the package in the local language, ask your fellow travelers or local people, or even better, use an online translation app!

Portion Control

Every country or places has different takes on what the portions should be like. Some countries have unbelievably huge portions, and others, not so much. The goal should be to try more local cuisines!

Focus on sampling new local recipes rather than eating one large portion of the same dish.

You can ask the vendors to make smaller portions of a variety of local cuisines you want to try, and if that’s not possible, splitting dishes with fellow travelers and friends is a great option.

Modifications Please?

There might be a few dishes that contain ingredients that might not be healthy or something that you don’t wish to have.

Whether it is for health reasons or it doesn’t suit your palette, there’s no qualms in asking for modifications.

For example, you can always ask if they can avoid sugar powder dressing on top or adding tons of mayonnaise to your wrap. These little changes can make a huge difference in the calories you consume at the end of the day!

Use In-Room Kitchen

Many hotels have a small kitchen attached to the rooms, and hostels have a small kitchen area for the guests. Here, you can simply buy fresh produce from the local market and whip up a healthy breakfast in no time.

Some fruits, nuts, yogurt, and a boiled egg or two will kick start your day – the healthy way!

It’s Okay to Cheat (Once in a while)

If you’re a mindful eater, you already know what this means!

Don’t be too harsh on yourself, and let your inner child have that slice of sumptuous pizza or a piece of deep-fried chicken strip once in a while.

As a traveler, you’ll come across some of the legendary local cuisine hotspots where eating is part of the experience the place offers.

If you come across these legendary restaurants and local vendors that have been dishing out local cuisines for ages and have added to the cultural significance of the place, don’t restrict yourself.

Final Thoughts

Enjoying local cultural cuisines while traveling the world is not as difficult as you may think. Every culture has a variety of foods, and the onus is on you to create a balanced meal out of it.

The goal should be to ensure your body is getting a sufficient amount of fiber, protein, and healthy complex carbs.

Mindful eating instead of gobbling up everything that comes to your plate is essential to enjoying the local delicacies and reading your hunger and fullness cues at the same time.

Always remember, the trick to enjoying a lot of cultural cuisines is to focus on tasting more dishes than aiming to get full.