Traveling is a wonderful way to discover the world and immerse yourself in different cultures. Indulging in your wanderlust and maintaining healthy lifestyle patterns can prove difficult, however. Whether it be the temptation of fast food or the lack of regular exercise routines, travel can take you outside your fitness comfort zone. But, there are definitely ways to stay balanced while exploring this beautiful, blue planet. Here, in Part 1 of our Kalya Travel Guide, are some tips for eating well while on the road, U.K. edition:
- Choose the healthiest option on the menu: Eating out can prove difficult even for the most disciplined of people. Restaurants can offer delicious but somewhat indulgent meals, or equally tempting quick, processed fare. The U.K., in particular, is famous for its comfort foods such as sausage rolls, Yorkshire puddings, fish & chips, and bangers & mash. And, while a proper pub experience is a must, you can always balance this out with a healthy meal here and there, especially for breakfast. For example, the Huxley on Princess Street in Edinburgh offers a fibre-rich, filling Super Oats breakfast, featuring porridge oats, milk, fresh fruit and seeds [view menu here], along with a cool, modern ambiance. Paired with a good cup of coffee, it is the perfect way to start your day in one of the U.K.’s most charming cities.
- Prepare your own meals: There is no better way to control your diet than to cook for yourself, and, if you are lucky enough to have access to an accommodation with a kitchen, planning and preparing your own meals is a healthy, fun and budget-friendly option. Including local, organic ingredients in your recipes is even better. And, if you are traveling with friends and family, it can be a superb group activity. Also, preparing simple, healthy snacks, such as kale chips or mixed nuts, is a great idea for day trips. Carrying your own snacks will not only save you money, but help you to avoid the temptation of processed snacks that might catch your eye while out. Why not try a few Kalya favourites, such as the Overnight Chocolate and Oatmeal Jar for breakfast, Pan-grilled Asparagus with Avocado as a side for dinner, and Peanut Butter Chewy Bars as a takeaway snack. Also, sourcing your materials from a community co-op or small business is a wonderful way to support the local economy. For example, in the quiet little Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge, setting of the BBC series Happy Valley, you can find two co-ops, both offering fresh, local products. The community of Hebden Bridge is, itself, a strong supporter of entrepreneurship with an abundance of small, locally-owned businesses to be found throughout town.
- Seek out vegan options: The vegan diet is beneficial for both your health and the environment. Even if you cannot commit to being fully vegan, you can always include vegan meals in your diet as often as possible. Veganism is a growing dietary trend in the United Kingdom, and restaurants offering meat-free, dairy-free options are on the rise. For example, Sourced Market is a U.K. chain with conveniently located throughout London and offering an industrial-chic ambiance, friendly staff and a plethora of vegan options, including both fresh and prepared meals, as well as vegan products. The Victoria location, just minutes away from Victoria Station, the majestic Buckingham Palace and romantic St. James Park, is the perfect stop for anyone visiting London Town. The coffee bar offers a wide variety of smoothies, including the delicious Mocha with Peanut Butter and Espresso, while the salad bar offers freshly made seasonal options including plant-based protein sources. There are also several prepared options such as granola and dairy-free yogurt, protein pots and probiotic bars from the likes of Pollen and Grace.
- Choose wisely when eating out: Sometimes a quick meal on the road is unavoidable. But, instead of choosing a highly processed meal, potentially excessively high in sodium, fat and/or sugar, find a more reasonable option. For example, Pret-A-Manger is a popular chain offering inexpensive takeaway meals “lovingly handmade throughout the day.” They sell a wide variety of prepared sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads and snacks, including the Veggie Fiesta Salad, the Turmeric Tofu and Sweet Potato Balance box, and Veggie Club, and are located ubiquitously around the U.K..
- Find a local café: Finally, one of the best ways to soak up U.K. culture is to pass the time at a local café or tea house. Choosing a community café can be a great way to support the local economy and mingle with the locals. Another lovely option is to visit one of the many beautiful cafés associated with the multitude of Scottish and British museums and galleries. Museums and galleries are free to the public in the United Kingdom. Visiting the associated cafés is a wonderful way to support the museum and enjoy an invigorating cup of coffee, or soothing cup of tea. For example, the Scottish National Gallery not only boasts an impressive collection of art spanning centuries, from Vermeer to Monet to Matisse, but also offers a luxurious, award-winning and environmentally-responsible café, The Scottish Café and Restaurant at the foot of the Princess Street Gardens. Applying Rule #1 (Choose the healthiest option on the menu), you can enjoy a gourmet meal, such as Cullen Skink, a traditional Scottish smoked haddock or vegetarian option made with Scottish tomatoes and whipped goat cheese dressing. Dine in house or choose the express experience just meters away, offering fresh soups, sandwiches, and coffee. It is equally delicious, but a bit more budget-friendly. In addition to the wonderful ambiance of the gallery café, you can enjoy your meal while taking in the stunning view of the Balmoral, a trademark of the Edinburgh skyline.
Another equally enjoyable option is the Mooch café, a hippie enclave in Hebden Bridge, serving great coffee and iced drinks, as well as delicious soups and salads, to be enjoyed in the comfortable, homey interior or outside in the peaceful urban garden.
No matter where your travels take you, be sure to eat well. If you have any healthy travel tips, share them in the comments below.