Let’s face it: having healthy eating habits when travelling in Australia long term can be a struggle. Many factors, like changing climate and time zones, location, eating at odd times and inadequate cooking facilities, may change your habits and prevent you from eating healthy while travelling. It’s unarguably easier to prefer pre-packaged food, grabbing a snack and running into a fast-food restaurant as a quick solution to a hunger pang.
While Australia is a country that offers some of the most exquisite food in this world, it’s not easy to get it, simply because Australian produce is not available in conventional supermarkets, where the ordinary traveller shops. Unless you research where to buy local produce, the food you can buy in Australian supermarkets is mainly processed food.
Furthermore, food is expensive in Australia, which impacts the cost of travelling around Australia.
However, there are ways to maintain your eating habits and eat healthy food at reasonable prices.
Why eating healthy food while travelling in Australia is important
In Australia, processed food is what most people eat every day. And the rising number of fat and obese people in Australia clearly shows that most people don’t eat much locally grown and produced healthy food. Processed food is devoid of essential nutrients; it’s added with many chemicals.
Processed food is very much fake food. Instead, real food contains all the nutrients and micro-nutrients our body needs to function well and provides our brain and heart with natural energy.
In over 15 years of travels around Australia, suffering from multi chemicals intolerances, I have found a way to maintain my healthy eating habits without breaking the bank.
Below, I have put together ten simple healthy eating habits to follow when travelling around Australia.
Eat healthy whole foods to keep your energy level high
Whole foods are rich in essential nutrients and don’t contain added chemicals found in processed food. Eating wholemeal grain bread and fibre-rich food will keep your energy level high all day.
If you are active the outdoors, eating complex carbohydrates, like wholemeal pasta and wholemeal bread, provides your body with natural energy.
Sugar snacks, cakes, chips, and all processed food with added sugar or sweeteners, all soda drinks only create fake energy, which means you need to eat again and again after a short time. It also stimulates your body to excessively produce insulin due to a sugar spike in your blood.
This may lead to diabetes in the long term. I never eat food made out of refined flour. Instead, I eat wholemeal cereals like oats, Khorasan wheat, rye and more seeds.
Shop at local fruits and veggies markets or on your way
Everywhere in Australia, you can find local fruit and vegetable markets.
In cities like Sydney or Melbourne, and Adelaide there are several Australian markets. In suburbia, many farmers are selling their local products. A good rule is to ask the tourist offices or the locals for advice and directions.
Moreover, a good thing to do is to stop whenever you see a sign pointing to a fruit stall where you can buy fresh products from local farmers.
Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. This is the best way to provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals to function optimally. Australia is a country with a fantastic offer of fruits and veggies. Northern Australia is a source of excellent tropical fruits like avocados, mangos and nuts.
Avocado is an excellent fruit that provides fibre and good fats, like Omega 3. I eat avocado every day with my salads or at breakfast.
Pumpkin is another great vegetable that can be purchased everywhere and is not expensive; it’s easy to cook and versatile. You can also find many ready-made pumpkin recipes from supermarkets and health food shops.
Read food labels in supermarkets.
Generally speaking, additives and chemicals in food are not suitable, but the food industry adds them to preserve or extend packaged food’s shelf life. We cannot get away with this. Most processed food contains lots of them.
Like me, if you are intolerant to additives and colourants, you need to read the food labels in Australia. Australian food in supermarkets is full of additives and chemicals at a higher percentage than in other countries.
A simple tip is to put back on the shelf any product with a long list of additives and colourants, and partially hydrogenated oils; these oils are very toxic and, in the long run, may impact your heart health.
Don’t eat food with 0% fat, as these products contain sweeteners, and artificial sweeteners are toxic. Don’t use soft vegetable spread, which is very much used in Australia. That’s one of the worst things; instead, use butter or prefer organic butter.
Cook your food and make breakfast for your energy meal.
Prepare and cook your meals. I know it’s easier said than done. It may not be easy to stay in a place with poor cooking facilities. Avocados, chickpeas, veggies, and seeds are an excellent basis for healthy salads. In Australia, I wake up early and have a good breakfast as my main energy meal.
My favourite brekkies are toasted whole grain bread, scrambled eggs with vegetables, fresh fruits and juices, and oats porridge. In the evening, I eat pumpkin soup, which helps clear my body and provides lots of antioxidants and fluids. The food intake varies from day to day, depending on the activities and on the weather too.
Eat simple food and prefer organic food.
Processed food contains many additives and colourants, and chemicals that 100 years ago were not even considered food. So you can shout that the most refined food you get in supermarkets is fake food. The leading chains like Coles, IGA and Woolworths offer a wide selection of regional food and sell fresh food like fruits and veggies at costly prices.
Woolworths runs an excellent organic food label called Macrò, which I can recommend, as I have used many of their products. You can find Organic food in many fresh markets and health shops.
Switch to a five-meal day
Switching to a five-meal day may sound complicated, but it’s not. I have tried it out for myself and noticed that it works fantastic. Eating five times a day instead of 3 has many advantages.
First, it is an excellent way to maintain energy levels throughout the day. If you are very active during the day, eating small portions of food will provide your body regularly with the necessary intake of fibre, minerals and essential nutrients. You can pack your food into an airtight container or a refrigerated lunch bag and take it with you.
Drink lots of pure water
Many people forget about drinking a lot of pure water. When travelling to Australia, you must change your habits and switch to a rich diet of pure fresh water.
You will need to drink at least 2-3 litres of water in Australia daily. If you are active outdoors, depending on the area, you may need 3-5 litres and maybe more, depending on your weight. But water alone is not enough; you need minerals and salts that water alone cannot replace.
So, take fresh juices and avoid energy drinks; these are full of synthetic additives and colourants. Citrus fruits are good, like oranges, lemons, limes, and many more. Drinking fresh pressed citrus can be a good alternative too.
Eat out with moderation.
Eating out is part and parcel when travelling to Australia. You can taste some of the most OK food in this world, but eating from Australian restaurants isn’t a healthy choice in the long run.
When I eat out, I choose restaurants to taste the exquisite modern cuisine that uses only local produce. I don’t exceed eating out, though, as I don’t make it a steady habit because I believe there is no healthier way than eating home-cooked food.
Take natural and synergic food supplements.
While there is an ongoing debate on whether we need food supplements, I speak from personal experience, and my answer to this question is yes! When travelling, we need healthy food supplements. We need them because our body needs 120 essential nutrients daily that food alone cannot provide all the time.
Natural food supplements are rich in natural vitamins, minerals and essential micro-nutrients, with no added artificial chemicals like sweeteners.
I take 1000 mg of Vitamin C Plus daily and 100mg OPC the most potent natural antioxidant on the market. Depending on the daily activities, I may add synergic Calcium and Magnesium and a Triple Protein Shake from the same brand.
A golden rule is to avoid processed and added sugar or artificial sugars and products that list sugar on top of the ingredients. If you like sweet food, buy simple everyday food and add natural sugar, like Stevia. This is the healthy eating response for those who have a sweet tooth.
I have been practising these healthy eating habits for many years on my Australia Solo Travel adventures and have learnt that there is nothing better than having a balanced diet to keep your energy up. I hope you find my tips helpful. Share your insight here below.
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First published in 2015, last updated in Jan 2023
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