My husband, Alex, and I just came back from a three week honeymoon trip to Italy! The land of pasta, bread, cheese, wine and gelato! We had an incredible time as we explored Venice, Rome, Florence and Chique Terre. Before we arrived to Italy, we did some research and prepared ourselves for healthy eating during our trip. The one thing that I knew about italian cooking is that it’s fresh and simple, which is very important in terms of healthy eating. It’s not surprising that Italians are very healthy because they use real food in their recipes and these recipes are passed on for many generations. I realize that not everyone is heading to Italy for the summer, so here are some tips for travel anywhere you go this year. Enjoy!
#1: Eat Veggies. Eat Fresh. Eat Seasonally.
Not only are some of the healthiest meals going to be based around veggies (not always easy to find while traveling), and the freshest ones at that, but not surprisingly, the best meals are going to come from fresh ingredients, particularly vegetables grown locally and in season. Look for restaurants and markets that provide what is in season. This is a great opportunity to try produce you may not get at home, but might be a new and delicious experience that is very much worth trying. Forget the familiar, and embrace what is fresh and tasty!
#2: Find a Farmer’s Market.
Everything mentioned above, but taking your fate into your own hands, rather than the local restaurants. Sometimes the right restaurants are delivering this from the get-go, but other times, you need to take matters into your own hands. If you can find a local farmer’s market (or good grocery), you can enhance your nutrient intake in very simple ways such as fruit for breakfast, or fresh vegetables throughout your day, especially if you have access to a kitchen.
#3: Find a Juice Bar.
This one really depends on the city, but you’d be surprised at what is out there. My husband Alex and I found green smoothies and vegetable juices in Venice, Florence and Rome on our honeymoon. This was amidst eating lots of food we wouldn’t normally eat, but the extra nutrient intake made a huge difference! It is worth looking, and like I mentioned – you’d be surprised at how many places have fresh squeezed fruits and vegetables.
#4: Find a Great Restaurant and Repeat.
I’ll be honest. This is also a tough one for me, as I love trying new restaurants every day, but it pays off in so many ways. I love to experience and try as many things as possible when traveling, but I have come to appreciate finding somewhere that nails a particular healthy dish, or somewhere that provides fresh, seasonal ingredients. Often times, my favorite restaurant on a trip has 5 dishes I was tempted to order and was not able to try. When you find a gem, it is definitely worth going back and continuing your healthy habits. Your body will appreciate the effort.
#5: Try new things, but in moderation.
I love travel and I love experiencing new cuisines. Eating foods that are good for my body and make me feel good does not stop me from trying new things wherever I go. The most important thing to remember is that – 1) it’s okay to try new things and gain new perspectives on food, and – 2) that doesn’t mean it needs to be excessive. There is nothing worse than spending your vacation not feeling well because you pushed the envelope and over-ate or took too many chances. Keep moderation in mind, and your body will thank you throughout your vacation. Try new things and experience new flavors – after all, you’re on vacation! However, keep in mind that you can do yourself a lot of favors by continuing to keep in mind what makes your body feel good. It’s very possible to maintain (many of) your healthy habits, and that should absolutely be on your mind, to help you enjoy your time away from home, without feeling bloated and tired. That being said, make sure to enjoy your new experiences and the local cuisine, just be mindful of how those items make you feel. You will be thankful later!