Among the many challenges of being an expat, eating healthy abroad can be a high hurdle when you are in a hurry. Here are some easy ways you can support your health by making thoughtful eating choices when you are on the go.
Keep Healthy Foods On Hand
You can pack nutritious snacks or a meal replacement for the times when you do not have access to healthy food options. Planning ahead of time for situations when you do not have time to order food or do not have healthy options available is a pivotal part of maintaining healthy eating habits on the go.
Stay Away From Fried Foods
If your only option is fast food, you can choose the healthier menu options. For these situations, Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends avoiding fried foods such as onion rings, fried chicken nuggets or chicken tenders, french fries, donuts, fried and battered mozzarella sticks, and potato chips or crisps.
Choose Unsweetened Drinks
Soda, sugar-sweetened tea, sugar-sweetened energy drinks and other sugary drinks are not the healthiest drink options. Instead, beverages such as water and unsweetened tea are considered more health-friendly options.
Decide On Food Choices Ahead of Time
If you have a professional meeting at a restaurant or are traveling, or maybe you are attending a social event at a dining establishment, you can look at the food offerings beforehand to decide what you will eat. Doing this allows you to be prepared to make healthier food choices while you are out and avoid making a poor decision in the heat of the moment.
Dine Out at the Same Places
If you can identify certain restaurants and food stores that you know consistently have healthy food options, these establishments can become places that you frequent when you are out and about. Having food places that take the pressure off of your food-related decisions and make it easier for you to plan your meals when time is limited helps ensure that you make health-centered decisions consistently.
Aim To Eat Every Meal
According to Healthline.com, skipping meals can have unintended effects on your eating. This is because you risk being extremely hungry later on and in this state, possibly making poor food choices or overeating. For example, skipping breakfast may cause you to eat more than you usually would at lunch if you typically eat breakfast.
Control the Portion Size
The standard portion size at any restaurant, fast-food or otherwise, may not align with what you know you need to eat. Sometimes, the portion size is larger than what you need for that meal.
If you know that a restaurant serves portions larger than you need, you can inquire if smaller portions are available for purchase. If this is not possible, you can always take the extra food with you in a to-go container and eat the remaining portion at another time.
Eat Foods High In Vitamins and Minerals
Keep nutrient density in mind when choosing foods to take with you or to order on the menu. According to Harvard Health, foods such as avocado, spinach, almonds, salmon, brown rice, chicken, and eggs are high in minerals and vitamins.
Foods that are nutrient-dense not only support optimal health but also provide a greater level of satiety than foods lacking in nutrients. This feature of nutrient-dense foods can help you feel sustained in-between meals and be less likely to overeat or make poor choices at your next meal due to hunger.
Even when you are pressed for time, making healthy food choices can be easy with just a little planning and commitment. Over time, these practices can become a habit and require minimal effort to maintain.