Traveling is like food for the soul. Experiencing diverse cultures and a different way of life than what you are used to is truly a refreshing and invigorating experience. Each country typically has their own cuisine, with dishes and foods being unique to that culture. While traveling, I have come across some delicious, yet healthy finds that are definitely worth sharing.
The Mediterranean is known for having quite a healthy diet that’s high in olive oils, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and fish. While I was in Greece, I had the chance to experience this firsthand. Every bite of every food I ate tasted incredibly fresh. I was exposed to a lot of healthy foods in Greece; fish and seafood, for example, are extremely common and are incredibly high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Although feta cheese is not necessarily a healthy food, it is a key staple in the Greek diet. It is a fresh, lower-fat cheese that can be enjoyed sparingly, because it is full of flavor.
A popular Greek dish is tzaziki, which is simply made from yogurt, cucumber, and dill. This high-protein dip can be paired with pretty much anything, including pitas, vegetables, and even meat. We are pretty used to Greek salad in North America; however, the traditional Greek salad in Greece does not actually contain any lettuce. It is a mixture of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onions, and, of course, feta cheese. This is probably one of the most refreshing dishes the Greeks can offer, and definitely something that I call healthy eating.
This country is also known for some extremely healthy foods. It is not uncommon for the traditional Israeli breakfast to be filled with vegetables and different kinds of salad. Also, a dish called shakshuka is incredibly common, which is poached eggs in a tomato sauce, along with other vegetables. Starting the day off healthy is incredibly important to the people of Israel, as is maintaining their health throughout the day. Hummus is a dip made from chickpeas and olive oil, which is high in protein and healthy fats, and can be eaten with practically anything, such as pitas, vegetables, bread, and meat. Talk about healthy eating! Another Israeli dip is called tahini, which is a spread made from ground sesame seeds, which is a source of healthy fats. As mentioned, salads are a huge part of any Israeli’s diet, especially one called an Israeli salad, which is a combination of finely cut cucumber, tomato, onion, and parsley, tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. This light, refreshing salad is extremely low in calories, and also bursting with heart-healthy fat from the olive oil—a great healthy food you can make at home.
There are so many indulgent South African dishes; however, through my travels, I did eat a balance of healthy food—and some not-so-healthy dishes. For starters, Cape Town is on the ocean, which allows for incredibly fresh fish and seafood. Shrimp, which they call prawns, are huge, succulent, and fresh, and are on the menu at almost every restaurant. Common fish that South Africans eat are hake, kingklip, and haddock. The first two I had never even heard of prior to my trip, and they are all healthy sources of protein. Other than that, there really isn’t too much healthy typical South African food, but everything I ate sure was delicious!
I have traveled to many cities in the U.S., and it is no surprise that obesity is one of the leading health problems. The fast food joints, doughnut shops, and supersized portions are setting everyone up for failure. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the splurge and unhealthy eating, but one can only handle so much before they start to feel sick. That being said, Los Angeles is the perfect vacation spot for the health-conscious folk. Yes, it is incredibly easy to get caught up in typical unhealthy American food, but Los Angeles is also incredibly health conscious as well—and filled with healthy food.
Since I was on vacation, after all, I did eat some unhealthy foods. However, I also tried to balance it out with smarter choices. There are tons of juice bars and salad restaurants on every corner. My favorite cold-pressed juice spot is called Pressed Juicery. They sell pure fruit and vegetable juices, which are a favorite among celebrities, as well as the average person who enjoys eating healthy. Juicing has also become quite the trend these days all over the world, which was all started in Los Angeles. I opted for a juice made from kale, spinach, celery, romaine, apple, lemon, and ginger. It wasn’t the tastiest thing, but it was palatable and bursting with health benefits. There were plenty of organic and natural restaurants all throughout L.A., as well as restaurants focusing on healthy choices and portion sizes.
While traveling, it is pretty simple to eat healthy, while on the other hand, indulging is also quite easy. It all depends on how prepared, knowledgeable, and willing you are to make healthy choices—and if you really want to eat healthy food. It is important to try different foods and maintain a balance between healthy and indulgent foods in order to optimize your travel experience. The world is a huge, incredible place, with each city bursting with native dishes that should be experienced by all visitors. Take advantage of being in a new place with new surroundings and new food. Perhaps it will even inspire you to add some of these into your daily diet when you return home.
Is healthy eating a priority for you when you travel? How do you manage it?
This article was written by Shelby Morrison, a Toronto-based food blogger and freelance writer. She has a passion for living the most delicious life while enjoying every step of the way! She eats her way throughout Toronto, yet loves to travel to different cities for some unique and tasty finds. Visit her web site at www.sweetsnmeats.tumblr.com.