When you’re trying to eat healthier, have food allergies, or have a dietary restriction, being away from your own kitchen and usual routines can be stressful. But this shouldn’t stop you from travelling, eating out or enjoying new places. Planning in advance will ensure you have a smooth, stress-free vacation.
- Book a special meal on the plane
- Many airlines now have options for special meals on board. You can book gluten free, vegetarian, vegan and even low fat/low calories meals for your flight. The best part – your meal arrives before everyone else’s!
- Tip: Remember to book at least 24 hours or more before your flight to ensure that your request goes through. Verify again with staff when you check-in at the counter that you have a special meal reserved under your name
- Tip: Forgot to order a special meal? Some of the bigger airlines carry extra special meals (e.g. vegetarian meals) on board. Ask the flight attendant whether they can accommodate your request – you might be surprised
- Pack your own food for the flight
- Diced roasted vegetables, fruit/dried fruit, sandwiches, steamed sweet potato, granola, and trail mix are all good ideas to bring on board a flight
- Look up local restaurants in the region that are diet-friendly
- Visit health apps or websites to get restaurant recommendations e.g. glutenfreetravelsite.com, happycow.net
- Call ahead to a restaurant to speak to the manager/chef and see whether they can accommodate your diet
- If unsure whether a restaurant can accommodate your dietary requests, eat before heading out so that you won’t be too hungry and eat something you would not usually have
- Print out food sensitivity cards for the countries where you will be travelling to show waiters and staff
- The following websites have translation cards for various allergies, special diets and medical needs, depending on the language of the country you are in: selectwisely.com, allergytranslation.com
Most hotel rooms come with at least a mini-refrigerator. If staying at an Airbnb or renting a place, you may even have access to a stove and microwave. Stock up on fruit, breakfast bars, hummus, salads, etc – apart from being healthier alternatives, these can even save you money.
Over time, you will become more adept at navigating restaurants and figuring out which foods meet your dietary requirements. The good news is that society, more than ever, is becoming increasingly aware and knowledgeable of different diets and allergies. There are restaurants, cafes, websites and apps dedicated to helping you on your health journey – and, if all else fails, it never hurts to ask. You may be pleasantly surprised at how willing some places are to accommodate. So have fun, travel safe and enjoy!
ABOUT Tisha Jaswantal
Tisha started out as a Psychologist, working with children with special needs. While she loved what she did, she struggled with body image issues. After lapsing into a second bout of an eating disorder, which resulted in her burning out physically, emotionally and mentally, she decided to leave her job in 2015. This sparked a 9-month solo trip around the world, where while practicing yoga and immersing in the health and wellness community in each city she visited, she discovered her true passion in health.
She is a Certified Health Coach from Dr Sears Wellness Institute as a way of combining her background in psychology with her passion for health. She also has a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University and graduated from the Plant-Based (Sports) Nutrition Programme by Brendan Brazier. Personal experiences, together with her work with clients, eventually led Tisha to found Wellness with Tish.