Food – You’ve got to eat. I’ve got to eat. We’ve all got to eat. But do we ever stop and think: how does my food affect the planet?
Perhaps you’ve got it all down when you’re at home. But what about when you travel? Maybe it's different.
The truth is that it can be harder to make the right food choices when we’re on a trip that’s going to be of benefit to the world. And not only that, but a fast grab street food option is just so handy to choose from: it's cheap, easy, and convenient for on the go!
I get it – sometimes on holiday, we’d rather save time for exploring and free ourselves up so we don’t have to cook. I mean, we are there to relax right? Sure, treating ourselves is a part of travel. But you and I both know it’s neither healthy nor sustainable to live off fast food for the long term. When there's healthy, eco-friendly food to choose from that comes straight from the earth, we don’t have to chuck our health out the window.
How to Choose Healthy and Sustainable Food Abroad
To eat sustainably while you travel, you’ll want to:
- Go organic where you can;
- Keep it local.
By choosing organic, you're selecting the freshest food that's GMO and pesticide-free. Strict guidelines must be met for products to be branded organic and pass the test to be granted with the label.
When you go organic, not only do protect yourself from harmful chemicals, but you allow the environment to live out its natural life. That way, you can enjoy your fruits and vegetables straight from the land knowing you've played your part.
European Countries That Offer Locally Sourced Food
What's fantastic about Europe is that there are lots of countries that provide locally sourced food. Farmland, vineyards, orchards, and olive groves make it convenient and sustainable for certain places to supply their own produce.
To mention just a few standouts, many European countries are well known for various types of fresh and organic foods:
- In Italy, many of the top brands of olive oil can be found;
- France is known for producing the finest of wines (those can be non-alcoholic too…);
- Spain produces the most fruit and vegetables in all of Europe;
- Greece and Malta are also known for fresh foods grown in their Mediterranean climates.
Where You Can Find Healthy and Local Food Abroad
Let’s take a dive into some of the eateries and establishments where you can find healthy, sustainable food abroad.
Cafés and Restaurants
You may have noticed that the café culture in many European cities is hiving. It seems that with rise of vegan lifestyles, organic trends, and the abundance of local produce on offer, there are more healthy food options becoming available every day.
Before you leave to travel, it’s a great idea to research ahead to find some of the top eateries in the city with the best price list and choices. If you have a budget, don't worry – TripAdvisor is on hand to help (or just Google in general)! Scour the menus if you can to see if the place you like the look of is affordable and ticks all the boxes:
- Does it offer wholesome, healthy meals?
- Are there natural food options, such as fruits and vegetables, that make healthy living easy?
- Is the price worth it? Does the food fit the bill?
Check reviews to find out what others say about the quality. If you have time, look for information online that might tell you if they sell organic or local produce. While this isn’t an absolute necessity, it’s the best option where possible since it enables you to contribute to both the local businesses and the world we’re blessed to live in!
Markets and Supermarkets
Plenty of places in Europe have farmer's markets based in and around the city center (which often run daily too). Here, you can pick up your groceries as you walk or cycle by. That way, you can play your part in supporting the local farmers while they work to make a living for both themselves and their families.
Europe isn’t shy of organic supermarkets. If you spot the word “Bio” outside, you’ll know it provides clean, organic products. Often, you can buy much more than fruits and vegetables in them. You can pick up nuts, seeds, hummus, and healthy oils for example, as well as canned foods like beans, chickpeas, and other legumes.
Health stores have been growing quickly in popularity and can now pretty much be found worldwide. So, while in Europe, you’ll definitely have no trouble finding one . At these shops, you can stock up on your snacks with all-natural health bars, nuts, nut butter, and more! If you do plan to do a spot of cooking (or just want to add some extra taste to your salads), oils are often sold here too. The best ones you can choose include:
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
Ask the shop assistant or owner for their recommendations on products they offer that are locally sourced. Sometimes while abroad, the best olive oils are ones that were made just around the corner!
That puts a wrap on our series of traveling sustainably through Europe: from hiking to biking and finally eating. We know that staying healthy while you travel isn’t always that easy. But by following these tips, you should do fairly well!
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