MAINTAINING YOUR DIET WHILE TRAVELING

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Maintaining your diet while traveling

Dieting While Traveling Is Possible

One of the best things about traveling is having the opportunity to try different foods from around the world. If you are on a specific diet and aren’t sure how to manage it while traveling, rest assured, it’s not impossible! It takes some planning and precautions to make sure nothing interferes with the maintenance of your diet. Here are some ideas to help you stay on track but not miss out on experiencing the world’s varied culinary delights!

1. Remain Committed to your Diet, But also be Adventurous!

It can be challenging to avert temptation, especially with the excitement of being in a new place and the curiosity of what the delicious food you’re looking at might taste like! It depends on what kind of diet you’re on, but my advice would be to not overly-restrict yourself (unless of course, you must, due to health reasons). If you’re practicing healthy-eating to lose or maintain your current weight, then power to you, girl! But you can allow yourself to cheat a little here and there.

This doesn’t mean crashing and burning your diet. It means allowing yourself to try a little of the food you come across during your travels! Remember, most likely you’ll be getting a lot more exercise than you’re used to, just from walking and exploring whatever city or country you’re in. You can make compromises. Have a simple, healthy breakfast and lunch so that you can be more adventurous with dinner! Don’t obsess over “how bad” a chocolate éclair is for you when you’re in Paris. You’re in control of your mind and body. You decide if you can handle leeway in your diet, or if you cannot.

 These blended mocha drinks from Costa Coffee are one of my favorite treats to have while in Europe.

These blended mocha drinks from Costa Coffee are one of my favorite treats to have while in Europe.

2. Vegetarians and Vegans Abroad

I had a pescetarian diet for five years (meaning that I was vegetarian, aside from occasionally eating fish) and was not tempted to waiver from that while I traveled. Most vegetarians and vegans I know are no longer tempted to break their current eating habits, because it’s an adopted way of life for them. There are other people who are giving vegetarianism a try, but still eat meat here and there when they feel like it. No matter what kind of vegetarian or vegan you are, you will still have options abroad. It may be more time-consuming to discover your options, but they’re there!

I remember seeing many different vegetarian and vegan café’s all over Europe during the year I lived there and the other times I’ve traveled there, too. You need only Google what the options are in your area. If you’re having trouble finding a place with a menu that appeals to you, don’t forget that you can also put the chef’s hat on for yourself! Buying food at supermarkets and cooking at home (if you’re staying somewhere with kitchen access) is a great way to make sure you get the food you need, and also to save money! Trust me, I’m not a cook AT ALL, but some of my favorite dishes I tried abroad were offered to me by other people in hostels. Not everyone is cursed in the kitchen, I suppose.

 Some delicious sausage I tried while visiting Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

Some delicious sausage I tried while visiting Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

3. Taking your very Specific, Limited Diet abroad  

Then come those who have very limited diets, for whatever reason, whether it be health conditions or personal choices. If you are on a certain diet that may not exist abroad, such as a weight-loss program like Jenny Craig or Atkins, then you need to do the research on what your options are. Can you take food with you? Can you buy it in whatever country you’re visiting? Could they possibly ship to your hotel address? If you aren’t finding a good solution to the issue of how to continue those special diets while traveling, then perhaps consult with whoever supervises your progress in the program about how you could still travel without abandoning the diet. Another option is finding someone on the same diet who has already traveled to the place you're going! They oughta know ;) 

If you have other dietary restrictions due to a health condition, and can only ever eat specific and limited foods, please, don’t be dissuaded from traveling. You can find options that fit your requirements! I would recommend doing a lot of research prior to even buying your ticket, just to be sure that the places you want to visit will have what your diet demands. Learn some basic phrases in the local language so you can be positive that what you order at restaurants doesn’t have any of the foods or ingredients that you can’t eat. If they don’t speak English and you’re asking in their language but the answer is not clear, don’t risk it. Also, if you have allergies or reactions to certain foods that are dangerous for you to consume, make sure whoever you’re traveling with knows about them. You might even want to carry a sheet of paper that has your dietary restrictions listed, just to be careful.

 Me about to enjoy this entire pan of paella by myself in Valencia, Spain! Just kidding, unfortunately I had to share it with my friends.

Me about to enjoy this entire pan of paella by myself in Valencia, Spain! Just kidding, unfortunately I had to share it with my friends.

Adventurous Even When Your Diet Isn’t

You can do this! You can go see the world and bring your strict diet with you! Unless, of course, your doctor does not approve, because your health is most important. Regardless, if there’s a will, there’s a way to travel. Just find out what your options are. If you can’t leave your native country due to the conditions of your special diet, then look for a place close to home where you could visit and still feel like you’re on vacation. Maybe take a train to another city for the weekend. Don’t shut the door on travel out of fear that your diet cannot be accommodated.

You deserve to experience life the same as anybody else! Don’t feel like you won’t enjoy it as much because of the limitations on your diet. If you’re traveling with friends, make sure they know your situation, and don’t be envious of them being able to eat the foods that you can’t. If you’re traveling solo, make sure to be careful about the foreign food you try, but not too careful. If your diet can afford some Nutella, have some. If it won’t kill you to eat a huge plate of pasta in Rome, then eat the huge plate of pasta. Don’t let the fear of gaining weight hold you back, either! As long as you know your limitations and can handle some adventure, then go, be adventurous with that diet!

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We are a team of four feminist travelers coming together from different parts of the world to share with you what we have learned from traveling, living, loving, and exploring all over the world. Join us and tell your story about female solo travel, relationships, mental health, city guides, or whatever else comes to your mind.

 Writer of this article is Heather, 24, co-founder of the Female Travel Collective.  She used to live in California, NYC, and Hawaii, and is currently traveling. Follow her along on her  Instagram !

Writer of this article is Heather, 24, co-founder of the Female Travel Collective.  She used to live in California, NYC, and Hawaii, and is currently traveling. Follow her along on her Instagram!

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