We considered so many things when we decided to head off from our previous comfortable lives but healthy eating was not one of them. We like to think we never had a dreadful diet but the option of having your own fridge and cupboards full of ingredients and being able to cook what you want when you want in your own kitchen just isn’t always possible. We tend to see this as our lifestyle rather than a diet – it helps us to maintain eating well.
Making better choices will help us as we get older and weight loss has been a welcome secondary effect. So this is just a bit of an overview of how we have adapted – it is probably not ticking every nutritional box but it seems to work for us.
“On the move” Menu
We don’t adopt one particular system but have ended up with a mish mash of things that seem to work for us. For days when we do not have access to a kitchen this roughly consists of:
- We tend not to eat between 7pm and 10am (Michael Mosley on the 16:8 diet) so first thing it is a coffee or green tea and a couple of multi vitamin tablets and cold liver oil so those joints don’t fail on us.
- Between 10 and 11am. Two or three pieces of fresh fruit – with greek yoghurt if we can.
- Between 1 and 2pm. Lunch. We try not to eat much bread so oatcakes are sometimes our alternative to bread with some cheese slices or cold meat with a few tomatoes or mini cucumbers. I have even been known to keep a jar of potted meat, such as Shiphams or Princes Sardine and Tomato paste, in my backpack.
- Around 6pm we will have a shop pre-prepared salad with meat, falafel or cheese.
All sounds a bit boring when it is typed out but this is only on the odd days when we are on the move or maybe having a overnight stop somewhere in a Travelodge or similar. We do have sweet treats if we fancy them and eat out if there is somewhere local but a lot can depend on what type of place it is. Frustratingly it is so cheap to eat in fast food places but we try and avoid them as a rule.
“Got a kitchen” Menu
If we are housesitting or somewhere for a few days with access to a fridge and kitchen then we go crazy!! Planning is the key though. We hate wasting food so I usually sit down and do a bit of menu planning to ensure we have enough but not stupid amounts. Of course it helps if we are at housesit with a huge veggie garden and fruit trees.
- Breakfast – I will add porridge with some nuts and seeds to the morning menu especially in the winter when a chilly dog walk is on the cards. Jonno though is not a lover of the porridge oats.
- Lunch – May be some peppers or large mushrooms stuffed with tomatoes, courgettes, onion or something on a slice of toasted sourdough (eggs, low cal beans or sardines/pilchards). A batch of homemade soup is usually a good winter option too – I love making it and I freeze some for other days.
- Dinner – we try and avoid too many carbs so rarely have potatoes. If we do it is only a very small portion. The same applies to rice (brown, of course, or maybe half and half), pasta (wholewheat, of course) and couscous. Whatever the main part of the meal is it is usually accompanied by 3 types of veg or a small salad.
- Snacks – oatcakes, nuts and seeds, a poppadom!
- Drinks – Jonno loves fruit squash, I stick to water, green tea, black coffee and maybe a glass of milk.
- Try veggie – Even if you are not vegetarian try quorn and veggie products. Invariably healthier and tasty too.
- Sausages – If you like sausages give chicken ones a try.
- Experiment with fish – basa fillets is my fish of the week. A whole new meaning to fish supper!
- Pasta substitutes – use sliced vegetables instead of pasta lasagne sheets. Roasted aubergines and courgettes?
- Vegetable filler – add courgettes, chickpeas, peas, carrots to bolognaise, curry, chilli, stews and casseroles. It makes your meat go further and you will be adding to your veg intake without particularly noticing it.
- Chicken – if you like chicken buy whole ones instead of just breasts – invariably cheaper. I cook the chicken and strip the meat to freeze and use in various dishes.
- Make your own pizzas – you can choose your toppings and they will be healthier than shop bought. I use wholemeal pitta bread as the bases.
- Portion size – the pitta bread pizza base idea keeps you to a certain portion size. This, to me, is the biggest key. Rules of thumb is that one half of your meal is vegetable or salad and there is a lot of advice about using the size of your hand to give a rough visual aid to portion sizes.
- Stating the obvious – avoid adding salt, grill or roast instead of fry, sugary drinks and juices, alcohol in moderation, drink lots of water.
- Exercise is a given – we are JWalking after all and our four legged friends keeps the step county up.
Jon has taken all these changes in his stride and has lost three stone as a result. He naturally has a weakness for sweet things and anything in pastry but happily eats salad, vegetables and any recipes I am trialling. The result has been that if we do have a danish pastry, fish and chips or a slice of cake on a coffee stop we enjoy it so much more than we ever did in the past. Although I did struggle with the breakfast Jonno “accidentally” ordered for me, I said small and this is what turned up.
Then there are the very kind gifts from people we have house sat for. How can we say no?
My last thoughts are that meals look so much more colourful now, we sleep better because our bodies have digested and processed food before heading to bed and I am enjoying experimenting. If you have any tips for healthy travelling eating let me know and if you are are nutritionist be kind, I am doing my best!