It is often so easy to fall into bad food choices when travelling, when suddenly it seems more convenient to rely on fast food and junk instead of healthier alternatives. Not only is it terrible for our health, especially when you’re travelling with kids, but it’s also really hard on the bank account too!
Let’s face it… making your own healthier alternatives is far more affordable than most restaurant and takeaway options! So we wanted to help you to eat well while travelling with some tips that we often put into place when we travel as a family. And even if you are travelling solo or without kids, these tips are going to help you save money and eat better!
HOW TO EAT WELL WHILE TRAVELLING
Travelling well is all about planning ahead and that is absolutely the case when it comes to making good food choices while travelling too! Affording to travel is a big enough expense on its own, before you even begin to account for all the extra costs, such as entertainment and meals that pop up during your trip.
And the last thing you want to to do is counting your pennies for the duration of your trip, when you could have already pre-planned for most of those expenses.
So planning ahead not only helps you feel organised and less stressed in preparation for your trip, it also means saving you money and time as well!
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times in the past we have gone unprepared and ended up looking around for an hour, trying to find a place to eat that was both affordable and served something that would keep the whole family happy.
Anyone who has travelled with young children or babies knows how frustrating this is! They can be so freakin fussy!
But don’t get me wrong. I love the chance to eat out and enjoy local cuisines when travelling. Especially overseas! However when we are travelling closer to home, we like to cater for ourselves for most of our trips. This means getting organised before we leave and having more time while we are away, to enjoy ourselves, instead of fussing about where our next meal will be.
Choose the Right Accommodation
Depending on the type of trip you are taking, putting in the extra effort to do your research on the facilities available is going to make your travel meal times much easier!
Stay somewhere that gives you access to cooking facilities, so that you can make your own meals each day. This doesn’t always work so well if you’re planning to travel off the grid, unless you are travelling in a self-contained caravan or camper van with your own microwave or stove, however in most cases, you will have access to some sort of kitchenette or even the gas operated camping hot plates. And this is all you really need!
Personally, we aren’t much for camping and roughing it!
If we are travelling for more than a couple of nights, we almost always book a hotel or AirBnB apartment with a kitchenette. This means we have a refrigerator to store perishable and cold food items, such as milk or meat. Most will also have a microwave, toaster and possibly even a hot plate for you to do some basic cooking with.
Let’s face it, there is a lot you can do with a microwave or even a hot plate. So long as you have the facilities to heat, you can get very creative with the type of meals you have while travelling! Even a BBQ can result in an endless array of meal options!
These days most camp sites and holiday parks have shared facilities available to campers, so staying in a tent doesn’t mean you have to rely on bringing all your own cooking instruments either.
This can get really expensive and almost defeat the purpose of a budget camp trip, so instead look for a place that has a camp kitchen or community cooking facilities on site. You might even make some new friends while you’re over cooking your dinner!
Choose your Location Wisely
If you are travelling internationally or by plane, or simply do not want to take food with you, make sure you plan your accommodation somewhere that will have easy access to a supermarket. This may mean making a bit of a detour on your way, so you will want to make sure you aren’t caught short on time when you arrive and have nothing to eat.
This is especially important if you are in an unfamiliar place and aren’t sure when shops shut, so knowing what options you have for meals and groceries is going to take the stress out of that first day you arrive.
One of our first stops for most interstate or international holidays is to head to the supermarket and stock up on meal and snack supplies. It’s fun exploring international supermarkets too, because you never know what you might find! And if you are lucky, you may even be able to shop fresh from the local markets. Yum!
Of course if you are camping or travelling locally, this is much less important to consider because you can plan your meals before you go!
Going Glamping or Camping? Check out our tips on how to cook in a campervan or caravan
Choose Lean Meal Choices
When you are planning to cook for yourself while you are travelling, steer clear of the preservative loaded fatty foods when you can. They aren’t going to make you feel great when you’re trying to enjoy your holiday adventures anyway!
Aim for meals with fresh ingredients that are also easy to prepare, such as salads that need minimal preparation, and lean proteins that can easily be cooked or heated.
One of our favourite easy meals is BBQ lamb strips on wraps with salad and tzatziki dip. The kids may prefer some tomato sauce, but either way it’s a yummy easy and affordable meal idea for while you are away.
The other thing that may have you splurging and blowing out the healthy eating goals when you travel is snacks. Of course you should try that freshly made gelato by the beach if that’s what you’re craving, but when it comes to general snacking while travelling, go prepared!
We always pack kid friendly snacks that will keep our kids satisfied during transit and long days exploring. Fruit is an easy option, such as apples, bananas or mandarins, that you can easily eat on the go. Popcorn is another one our kids love. They are also pretty easy snacks to purchase on the go when you are travelling around.
Keep some snacks in your day bag if you are out and about so you won’t end up having to buy something along the way, or have meltdowns because they are suddenly dying of starvation and you’ve got nothing on hand! Yes… that’s how it feels to a hungry kid travelling!
Pre Prepared Meals
There are so many options available for pre-prepared foods for while you travel and these are definitely an easy way to add variety to your meals, without having to load up on heaps of ingredients or cooking instruments to make them happen. Pre-prepared meals are great for when you are staying at a hotel or holiday park, where you have access to your own cooking facilities.
They are a great option for self-contained apartments, so you can simply heat and serve without fuss. And for a fraction of the cost of a restaurant meal too!
One thing that you do need with most pre-prepared meals though is a freezer or fridge to store them in before you use them. Ain’t nobody got time for food poisoning from food gone bad when they travel! No thanks!
So if you do have access to a fridge or freezer, you can either pick up lean choice TV dinners or convenience meals to heat and serve. Not much good if you’re camping though, since you unlikely have a microwave stowed away in that flash tent of yours!
But that’s okay, because Marathon Foods have you covered with their Chef Direct range!
Chef Direct By Marathon Foods Range
If you are looking for the ultimate in convenient meal options for travel, that doesn’t taste like cardboard, then Marathon Foods have you covered! The Chef Direct range offers nutritional meal options that simply need to be heated before serving. Best of all… they don’t even need refrigeration!
Yep, it’s true! This blew my mind when I first discovered the Chef Direct range! The clever technology used in creating the Chef Direct meals keeps them fresh inside their packet without having to worry about keeping them chilled.
This makes them perfect for travel because you’re getting delicious protein meals that don’t consist of sausages and rissoles on the BBQ!
Chef Direct meals are heated in the microwave, right inside the pouch they come in, or you can heat them on the stove or in the oven, then serve with your favourite sides. Or just enjoy them on their own!
Plus they aren’t just great for travel but for convenient shelf ready meals to have at home, when you are short on time but still want a great meal.
The range currently includes lamb shanks with mint gravy, lamb shanks with red wine and rosemary, beef meatballs and con carne.
They have no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives either, which means less of the bad stuff going into your body! The serving sizes are generous and they taste like home cooked meals! Seriously… the lamb shanks are AMAZING! The meat just falls away from the bone like it has been slow cooked for hours. So good!
Marathon Foods also have an extensive range of high quality frozen snacks and meals available too, including the kid friendly Minions Dim Sims which are loaded with Aussie chicken and vegetables. An easy kid friendly meal for packing into the esky and taking on your travels. Our kids love them too! You can purchase them from your local Woolworths store.
Visit the Marathon Foods website to find out more about the Chef Direct range and all the other products in their lineup.
Dining Out and Takeaway
There is no reason why you can’t enjoy eating out and taking a night or two off cooking when you are travelling. Like I mentioned earlier, there is nothing quite so exciting as trying the local cuisines. Trust me, we go a little carb heavy when we are in Poland!
Food is one of the best parts of travelling, however this doesn’t mean you have to make bad food choices!
You can still eat well while travelling, even when you are eating out. Choose places that have healthier options on the menu or consider sharing some smaller dishes with others, so you can sample more variety without over eating.
It all comes down to making smarter food choices and making sure you are looking after yourself while you’re out enjoying the world! Food and travel go hand in hand, so make sure you are enjoying the foods you have while you travel, whether you are making meals yourself or eating out!