Welcome to a new Wellness series at the travelling mom! We’re delighted to welcome Vancouver-based registered dietitian Noony Santos Paletta, co-owner of iUBER wellness. This article is the first in a four-part series on helping you find a balanced approach to health while you travel. First up, everyone’s favorite travel activity – Eating!
Enjoying the cuisine of our latest destination has always been part of the travelling allure for our family. With restaurant reviews and tips on where to eat at our finger tips, we like to plan those special ‘must-try’ restaurants to maximize our culinary experience. However, dining out as a family can get expensive quickly, so we also use other strategies for eating healthy on the road.
We enjoy the spontaneity of letting our curiosity guide our appetite. One often overlooked place to stop for a bite to eat is the local grocery store. Yet for our family of five, finding the local grocery store or public market has been a trip must-do for several reasons.
Here are 6 reasons why you need to become familiar with the offerings of the neighborhood grocery store on your travels and EAT healthy on the road.
Tips for Eating Healthy on the Road
1. Shop at local grocery stores
The cost saving benefit applies to any meal. For us, one of the most consistent ways we have relied on the local supermarket has been for breakfast. For the price of one family breakfast in a restaurant, our whole family can enjoy some yogurt, milk, cereal, muffins*, and fruit for a few days.
The bonus is we get to head out with a full stomach, ready to explore, which saves us both time and money. If the tap water is not safe for drinking, we also buy the large jugs of water and fill our own water bottles before we head out. (Yes, we like saving the environment, too!) (*Confession: Our apartment in Paris was located directly above a bakery! We bought fresh pastries for breakfast every morning and supplemented them with items we bought at the store.)
2. Make healthy food choices
Access to fruits and vegetables can be a challenge when travelling. But we are always pleasantly surprised by the various options of pre-packaged salads or pre-cut fruit available at the grocery store. We also enjoy checking out the variety of seasonal and culturally diverse fruits and vegetables. (Tip: Always wash fresh fruits and vegetables prior to enjoying. Use your bottled water, if necessary). Overindulging can also be a problem when you eat your meals in a restaurant. It is easier to control your portions when you shop at the grocery store.
3. Learn how the locals live and eat
Travelling is about discovery, right? If you want to learn how the locals live, then shop where locals shop! What’s for breakfast?… crumpets in London, pain au chocolat in Paris, biscotti in Rome, and pandesal in Manila. It’s a given that you’ll learn about what locals eat when shopping where they shop for food, but discovering some unexpected tidbits about the culture is always fun. Don’t be shy asking for tips from the locals either! Some of the best and most tasty discoveries are made through a simple question of ‘What’s that?‘
4. Satisfy varied tastes and appetites
What do you feel like eating? A simple yet daunting question when the opinions of five people are taken into consideration. It can be challenging to meet everyone’s dietary needs. The good news? The variety of options to satisfy everyone’s food preference and appetite can often be met by shopping at the local grocery store. A ‘hangry’ conversation avoided – a family travel win!
5. Eat al fresco
With so much to see and do on your travels, who wants to spend time indoors? The deli counter and produce section are perfect places to pick up some essentials for a picnic! Don’t forget a cold drink and a stop in the bakery section for a local treat.
6. Save time
It’s easy to get in and out of a grocery store fairly quickly, even if you take your time to enjoy the new sights, smells and discoveries. This has been particularly helpful during longer road trips when we preferred to grab something quickly. That way, we could get to our next destination or spend some time at a nearby park enjoying our meal and stretching our legs.
Bio: Noony Santos Paletta is a registered dietitian who believes healthy living should be simple + fun! She is a co-owner of the Vancouver based company, iUBER wellness, which promotes a balanced approach to health by focusing on 4 key areas: EATing, PLAYing, SLEEPing, and TALKing. Noony enjoys a healthy lifestyle at home and while travelling with her husband and 3 children. She believes healthy living can include Captain Crunch for breakfast at the campsite, chocolate croissants in Paris, gelato in Italy, gulab jamun in India, as well as other culinary treats.
Photo Credits: N Paletta
How do you eat healthy on the road and satisfy your family’s dietary needs? Share your tips and advice in the comments.