On a recent trip to visit my cousin Melissa, who was studying in Hong Kong, she was very interested to note how I approached healthy eating while we were on the go in this amazing city.  She suggested that I share my tips and tricks with my readers!

First of all, let me tell you that I absolutely LOVE to travel.  Although I love nature and am definitely an outdoors enthusiast, the main attraction in travel for me is the cultural learning that comes with visiting a new country.   I love learning about people, and I always find that I come home with a better understanding of the dynamic melting pot that we live in.  Food, of course, is intricately tied in to any cultural experience: this includes the unique textures, spices, food types, and of course, the cultural contexts within which eating occurs.    Events with huge and varied amounts of food are often highlights of any trip, and it is often feels like a ‘requirement’ to eat in order to avoid being impolite.

So how can we survive, and enjoy, these experiences, without packing on extra pounds?  Here are a few suggestions:

1.  Take Small Portions.  This is probably the most important one of them all.  Having just a taste, rather than a full plate, enables you to enjoy the taste sensation without excess calories.

2.  Don’t feel obliged to taste everything.  If you are escorted to a table with ten different mouthwatering dishes to take from, consider tasting just 3 or 4 of them.  If you are in a new country for a number of days, chances are that you will have ample opportunity to taste the other dishes on a different day.

3.  Survive the Buffet:  All inclusive resorts can be a lot of fun, but a real challenge as well.   Again, take only 3 or 4 different selections per meal, and trust that some permutation of the other dishes will be available the next day, and the next, and the next….  Portion control is key as well.  Consider the dessert display to be a treat twice in the week, rather than at every meal.  Avoid the ultra high calorie drink mixes, or make them a special treat (daquiris, pina coladas, etc).

4.  Throw it Out: While traveling in a developing country where some people go underfed, it can be especially hard to consider throwing out a portion of food when the serving provided was too large.  Do everything you can to avoid this by asking for smaller servings, but if this is impossible and the food is already there in front of you, remember that eating the extra is not actually bringing any benefit to those who are underfed.

And most of all…. ENJOY!!!


Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2012

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