When you're on the road it's hard to stick to a balanced diet, either you're in transit; in the middle of nowhere or too busy enjoying yourself to care about food. So what are the telling signs that you've over stepped the mark and are now really not eating well?
1. Weight Gain
If your jeans don't do up then chances are the travel munchies have got the better of you. On the road it's much harder to control our regular eating patterns; food that's easy to come by is often prepacked, processed, high in salt and sugar. So the trick is to plan when and where you'll be eating each day and take along healthy snacks for in between.
2. Only Fast-Food
If you're putting on weight, have no energy and are looking rather spotty and pale you may be relying too much on Uncle McDonald and Aunty Pizza Hut. But there's a way to still eat in these greasy iconic "restaurants" and not miss out on healthy food. Choose the salads and fish instead of burgers and fries.
3. No Water or Bad Water
If you can go all day without water or are relying on other liquids like coffee and soda then you may find you're feeling tired; have a dry mouth; a headache and haven't been to the bathroom for a while. You should be drinking at least 8-12 glasses of water a day. Another water problem when traveling is avoiding contaminated drinking water, so stick to the bottled stuff.
4. Not Eating All Day
If you're really involved in your sightseeing or somewhere out in the wilderness it is easy to go most of the day without even thinking about food. But traveling is hard work and you need your nutrition. Make a point of recharging your batteries with some healthy snacks every 3-4 hours.
5. Late Night Snacking
Traveling often involves late nights whether it's partying with the locals, adjusting to the time zone or long overnight journeys. Late nights can bring on the travel munchies and midnight snacks are never far away. Not only will eating late at night make you put on weight but you are also confusing your metabolism which has to adjust to your irregular patterns.
6. Gut Jet-Lag
So you've just stepped off the plane and back home it may be mid-day but here its midnight! So when do you eat and will it be lunch or dinner? The trick is to give your system time to adjust, start off with small meals until your sleep patterns are in sync with the local time. So instead of a steak at midnight (because its lunch back home) go for some fruit, a sandwich or energy bar.
Man cannot live on beer alone! If your travels involve lots of partying then you might fall into the habit of drinking too much alcohol on your trip. Too much alcohol will rob you of day time fun in a new city. Instead of being fresh and ready to go you're likely to feel sluggish, nauseous and hung over.
One of the greatest pleasures of travel is sampling all the street food but even if you do try out all the unusual food on offer there are a few tips for making sure you don't end up with food poisoning. Choose the vendor where there are lots of crowds, as this means a fast turnover of food and more chance that the food will be fresh. Look out for the most hygienic looking stall and eat in moderation.
9. Exotic foods
Trying exotic foods is part of the travel experience, but you need to draw the line somewhere. Locals have been eating the foreign delicacies all their lives and their systems can take it but us delicate westerners need to be a little gentler with our stomachs. In the Amazon avoid the chichi which is made by some nice guy chewing up the cassava root to produce the juice and in Beijing must you really try the spiders and scorpions?