Let's face it, to maintain healthy eating habits when travelling to Australia; it's a struggle.
Many factors, like changing climate and time zones, changing location, eating at odd times and inadequate cooking facilities may lead to changing your eating habits.
While travelling, it's easier to prefer eating pre-packaged food, grabbing a snack and running into a fast-food restaurant as a quick solution to a hunger pang.
While Australia is a country that offers some of the most exquisite food of this world, it's not easy to get it, simply because Australian produce is not available in conventional supermarkets, where the ordinary traveller shops. Unless you do your research and find out where to buy local produce, the food you can buy in Australian supermarkets is mostly processed food.
Furthermore, food is expensive in Australia, and this has an impact on the overall cost of travelling to Australia.
However, there are ways to maintain your eating habits and eat healthy food at reasonable prices.
Why eating healthy food is important
In Australia, processed food is what most people eat every day. And the rising number of fat and obese people in Australia is clear evidence that most people don't eat much of the locally grown and produced healthy food. Processed food is devoid of essential nutrients; it's added with lots of chemicals.
Processed food is very much fake food. Real food, instead, contains all the nutrients and micro-nutrients that our body needs to function well and provides our brain and heart with real energy.
In over 15 years of travels around Australia, suffering from multi chemicals intolerances, I have found my way on how to maintain my healthy eating habits, without breaking the bank.
Here below I have put together ten simple healthy eating habits to follow when travelling around Australia.
Eat healthy whole foods to keep your energy level high
Wholefoods are rich in essential nutrients and don't contain added chemicals, which are found in processed food. Eating wholemeal grain bread and food rich in fibre will keep your energy level high, all day through.
If you are active in the outdoors, eating complex carbohydrates, like wholemeal pasta and wholemeal bread, provides your body with real energy. Sugar snacks, cakes, chips and all processed food with added sugar or sweeteners, all soda drinks only create fake energy, which means after a short time you need to eat again and again. It also stimulates your body to produce insulin excessively due to a spike of sugar in your blood.
This may lead to diabetes in the long term. I never eat food made out of refined flours. Instead, I eat wholemeal cereals like oats, Khorasan wheat, rye and more seeds.
Shop at local fruits and veggies markets or on your way
Everywhere in Australia, you can find local fruits and vegetable markets.
In cities like Sydney or Melbourne, there are several Australian markets. In suburbia, many farmers are selling their local products. A good rule is to ask the tourist offices or the locals for advice and directions. Moreover, a good thing to do is to stop, whenever you see a sign pointing to a fruit stall, where you can buy fresh products from local farmers.
Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. This is the best way of providing your body with all vitamins and minerals to function optimally. Australia is a country with a fantastic offer of fruits and veggies. Northern Australia is a source for excellent tropical fruits like avocados, mangos and more nuts. Avocado is an excellent fruit that provides you with fibre and good fats, like Omega 3. I eat avocado every day with my salads or at breakfast. Pumpkin is another great vegetable that can be purchased everywhere and is not expensive; it's easy to cook and versatile, you can also find lots of ready-made pumpkin recipes from supermarkets and health food shops.
Read food labels in supermarkets
Generally speaking additives and chemicals in food are not good, but the food industry adds them to preserve or extend the shelf life of packaged food. We cannot get away with this. Most processed food contains lots of them. If you, like me, are intolerant to additives and colourants, then you need to read the food labels in Australia. Australian food in supermarkets is full of additives and chemicals at a higher percentage than in other countries.
A simple tip is to put back to shelf any product that has a long list of additives and colourants, as well as partially hydrogenated oils; these oils are very toxic and on the long run may have an impact on your heart health. Don't eat food that has 0% fat as these products contain sweeteners, and artificial sweeteners are toxic too. Don't use soft vegetable spread, very much used in Australia, that's one of the worst things, instead use butter or prefer organic butter.
Cook your food and make breakfast to your energy meal
Prepare and cook your meals. I know it's easier said than done. If you stay in place with poor cooking facilities, it may be difficult. Avocado, chickpeas, veggies, seeds are an excellent basis for energetic salads. In Australia, I weak up early and have a good breakfast as my main, energy meal. Toasted whole grain bread, scrambled eggs with vegetables, fresh fruits and juices, oats porridge are my favourite brekkies. In the evening I eat pumpkin soup, that helps clear my body and provides lots of antioxidants and fluids. The food intake varies from day to day, depending on the activities and on the weather too.
Eat simple food and prefer organic food
Processed food contains lots of additives and colourant and chemicals which 100 years ago were not even considered food. So you can shout that most refined food you get in supermarkets is fake food. The leading chains like Coles, IGA and Woolworths offer a wide selection of food, and they also sell fresh food like fruits and veggies at costly prices though. Woolworths runs an excellent organic food label called Macrò, which I can recommend, as I have used many of their products. Organic food can be found in many fresh markets and in many health shops too.
Switch to a five-meal day
Switching to a five-meal day may sound complicated, but it's not. I have tried it out for myself and noticed that it works fantastic. Eating five times a day instead of 3 has many advantages. First of all, it is an excellent way of maintaining energy level high throughout the day. If you are very active during the day, eating small portions of food will provide your body regularly with the necessary intake of fibre, minerals and essential nutrients. You can pack your food into an airtight container or a refrigerated lunch bag, and take it with you.
Drink lots of pure water
Many people forget about drinking a lot of pure water. When travelling to Australia, you need to change your habits and switch to a rich diet of pure freshwater. In Australia, you will need to drink at least 2-3 litres of water a day. If you are active in the outdoor depending on the area, you may need 3-5 litres and maybe more, depending on your weight. But water alone is not enough; you need minerals and salts that water alone cannot replace. So, take fresh juices and avoid energy drinks; these are full of synthetic additives and colourants. Citrus fruits are good, like oranges, lemon, limes, and many more. Drinking fresh pressed citrus can be a good alternative too.
Eat out with moderation
Eating out is part and parcel when travelling to Australia, you can taste some of the finest food in this world, but eating from Australian restaurants isn't a healthy choice, in the long run. When I eat out, I choose restaurants to taste exquisite local food, that is locally produced. I don't exceed eating out though as I don't make it to a steady habit, because I believe there is no healthier way than eating home-cooked food.
Here you can read more about some iconic Australian food and places to eat in Australia.
Take synergic, healthy food supplement
While there is an ongoing debate on whether we need food supplements or not, I speak from personal experience, and my answer to this question is yes! When travelling, we need healthy food supplements. We need them because our body needs 120 essential nutrients every day, that food alone cannot provide, all the time.
Natural food supplements are rich in natural vitamins, minerals and essential micro-nutrients, with no added artificial chemicals like sweeteners. I have been taking daily 1000mg of Vitamin C Plus, and 100mg of the real OPC and depending on the daily activities, I may add synergic CalMag (Calcium and Magnesium) and Multivitamins too.
A golden rule is to avoid food that is processed and added with refined sugar or artificial sugars and products that list sugar on top place on the ingredients. If you like to eat sweet food, buy everyday simple food instead and then add natural sugar, like Stevia, for example. This is the healthy eating response for those who have a sweet tooth.
I have been practising these healthy eating habits for many years on my Australia solo trips and have learnt that there is nothing better than having a balanced diet to keep your energy up. I hope you find my tips helpful, share your insight here below.
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