Make food an experience, not just a necessity!
Are you one of those backpackers, who just eat one kind of food during their whole journey? Or do you just buy the special offers at the supermarket? I belonged to the second category for a while….until I got absolutely fed up with it. Food depending on where you are can be expensive and it happens very quickly that you stick to the same type of food for a long period of time because it is convenient. A fellow traveler I met in Paihia, New Zealand, told me that she just had tuna and rice for her journey that lasted already several months. By that time I would already suffer from scurvy. I dearly hoped, for the sake of her gums, that she was exaggerating.
Here are my six top tips for travelers to experience food in a responsible, healthy and varied way and for a reasonable price.
1) Check out local markets!
Farmers markets are brilliant for shopping healthy and local, while having a cultural experience at the same time. It is more exciting than going to a supermarket, which look almost the same in every country anyway. But do your research, as some farmers markets have become big tourist attractions and sadly quite commercial. This happened to me quite a few times when I travelled the east coast of Australia, where I got caught between t-shirts, scented soaps and necklaces, while I was actually looking for olive oil and fennel.
2) Bring a recipe, or two!
Research an number of recipes in advance that are healthy and easy to make, to make sure you get your five a day. I often experienced how hard it is to eat healthy while travelling, so planning ahead and being prepared is key. Plus, think of a few variations. Scrambled eggs, for example, taste delicious if you grate courgette into it and frie it all together. Yumyum….
3) Spice it up!
Have an assortment of your favourite spices with you. Maybe also a wee bit of olive oil, which is brilliant for cooking and healthy, as it is rich in unsaturated fat. This safes you the hassle of buying everything from scratch, when you reach your new destination. And it ensures you still can cook all the recipes you researched. But you don’t want big salt and pepper shakers, and you don’t want them flying around in your backpack. Salted shorts….not a pleasant thought. 😉 Do you know the brush-mats artists use to store their brushes? Use one of those and wee bags that contain your spices. Roll it up and that is you sorted. See the picture below as a demo. Because always remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
4) Take your time and make new friends!
I know loads of travellers that saved mainly on food to have funds for skydiving, bungee jumping, etc., which is understandable. But for me getting to know a country, means also to taste its’ local cuisine. And that doesn’t have to be expensive. Ask locals and fellow travellers for their favourite recipes and suggest a recipe swap? Making friends was never easier.
5) Do your research!
Do your research, check certificates and where to get seasonal and local produce. A brilliant page for the German language area is http://www.utopia.de/. International organizations have local branches as e.g. Greenpeace, who released a list of Australian tuna brands in April 2014 that use pole and line fishing, which is the most sustainable method of catching tuna (http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/what-we-do/oceans/Take-action/canned-tuna-guide/). Local Charities are also a place to start or reconnecting to point one, farmers markets.
6) Get right to the source!
What about volunteering on a farm, so you directly see where the food is coming from? Or volunteering with a self-sustaining earthship community, which goes right to the bare bones of responsible travel and Ecotourism (http://earthship.com/)? I know they are planning to build one in Tasmania, so give me a shout if you are heading there and I put you in contact.
What are your responsible, varied, healthy and price-concious eating tips while travelling? I am curious to hear what methods and strategies you came up with on your journeys. Just comment below or drop me an email via the contact form. I am looking forward to hearing from you.