If you are considering taking a gap year or career break, you may be worried about changing your eating habits and the adverse effect this could have on your health.

This is a question I was asking myself when I was about to embark on a long travelling adventure in a van, and in truth I was freaking out.

I had become used to a relatively expensive diet of organic produce and was regularly eating meat and fish, which I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford any more.

Long-term travellers

Inevitably, such a huge lifestyle change will also lead to a change in your eating habits. This can be scary and can put many people off going away in the first place.

But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, going away has forced me to make some healthier and more environmentally friendly choices.

Here are some things you could consider to save some pennies while not compromising on your health:

  • Giving up meat
    In most countries, vegetables are much cheaper than meat, and they are also far easier to store; it is also a great way to reduce your environmental footprint!
  • Buy seasonal produce
    Avoiding fruit and vegetables that are out of season or not locally grown (passionfruit from Thailand in Spain?!) is a great way to keep it cheap and eco-friendly
  • Shop at local markets
    They tend to have a good selection of produce, are often cheaper and better quality than a supermarket, have far less plastic packaging, and are fun to visit too!
  • Eat grains and legumes
    Chickpeas, beans and lentils are a cheap way to bulk up a meal; they can be bought in cans and easily used even if you have limited cooking facilities, for example if you are wild camping.
  • Reduce your alcohol purchases
    It is no secret that alcohol is expensive, and also not the best choice for your body. By cutting your consumption, you stay healthy while your budget goes further.

 Short-term travels

But what happens if you go on lots of short trips instead of one long holiday? This can be even more stressful, as it keeps knocking you out of your routine. There is no need to despair though, as there are still ways to stay healthy on the road.

  • Stick to three meals a day
    This helps you stay in control of how much you’re eating and avoid overeating.
  • Research restaurants before going
    If you intend to go out for food, research the restaurants in the area and their menus beforehand so you know what the healthy options are in advance.
  • Pick accommodation with cooking facilities
    This way you have the choice to stay in and cook, which means saving money and eating healthier meals!
  • Buy/prepare healthy snacks for when you are busy running around
    Making sure you have some carrot sticks, an apple and some nut butter, for example, can be the difference between a healthy snack on the run and buying an overprices one that is bad for you in desperation. We will be posting some ideas of snacks to have on the go, so keep your eyes on our Instagram page!
  • Use an app to stay on track
    There are many out there and you may already have a favourite, but we can recommend Lifesum.

Treat yourself

Of course, it is important to experience local cuisine when you go to new places, so give yourself the opportunity to go out for dinner from time to time if you’re on a long trip. And if there is a nice vineyard or brewery nearby, there is nothing wrong with trying a local drink or two.

Treating yourself is important even when you travel because sometimes morale can get low when you’re away from home, but day-to-day life while travelling is no different to normal everyday life – once you have a routine in place, you just have to stick to it.

If you are on a long trip and have the food storage facilities, the best way to do this is to do all your shopping in one go for five-seven days in advance. That way, you can plan meals and avoid losing your focus.

The key thing is, don’t let worries about food put you off travelling.

Good luck on your journey and please share your ideas in comments!