Travel – whether for work or pleasure – can often mean rushed room service meals, tasteless airline food and more packets of salty snacks than can possibly be healthy. Plan ahead, however and you can eat well wherever you are in the world.
Food on the Hoof – Avoiding ‘Culinary Laziness’
Any foodie worth their salt would agree that part of the appeal of travelling to foreign climes is the opportunity to sample new foods and flavours. However, even those of us who generally adhere to a healthy, balanced diet would have to agree that it can sometimes be hard to uphold culinary standards while travelling. Whether it’s a quick business trip or a round-the-world adventure, it can be all too easy to fall foul of a certain gastronomic laziness, with bland airline food, room service sandwiches and snacks on the go taking the place or more nutritionally sound offerings.
Hotels for Foodies
Hotel dining has long suffered from a reputation for high prices and low quality, but, while this description still applies to many hotels across the world, it is also possible to enjoy food of the highest quality within the confines of your hotel. And while it helps if you can afford to stay at top of the range accommodations featuring five-star restaurants, an increasingly food-conscious public has led to a large number of more affordable lodgings offering top quality eating experiences. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly vegan bed and breakfast in Brighton; a fresh-from-the-field feast in Denmark at a working farm or a macrobiotic, organic buffet in New York, their are options available.
Savvy hoteliers are increasingly ordering catering supplies from local producers to ensure fresh, seasonal produce, which means that guests can expect to eat well and the planet saves carbon-guzzling air miles. Of course, not all hotels and guest houses are setting such a stellar example. It pays enormous dividends to research your location first and post on food/travel forums for recommendations. Put in a little time before booking and you could be enjoying delicious local flavours that suit your gastronomic tastes and your budget.
Food and Flying
It has been proven that our taste buds are less sensitive while at high altitude, so it is little wonder that airline food – rarely the finest of meals in any case- tends to taste so bland. And while celebrity chef du jour Heston Blumental has gone some way to addressing the issue – notably highlighting the importance of using catering supplies that contain ‘umami’ flavours – neither sweet, savoury, salty or sour but an altogether different taste experience that retains flavour at altitude – most airline passengers (at least those who don’t want to stump up for Business Class tickets) would agree that mid-flight meals serve more to pass the time and keep hunger pangs at bay than to really satisfy a craving for good food.
It can pay dividends, then, to bring along a few favourite foodie treats to keep you going, especially on longer flights. Obviously, heed has to be paid to restrictions on liquids and pastes, but small quantities of goodies such as wasabi, chilli sauce or other favourite condiments, together with nutrient-rich fresh fruit salads, oatcakes and unsalted nuts, can all make your mid-flight meals both more appetising and more nutritionally balanced. Keeping vitamin and mineral levels topped up can even help to avoid that run-down, post-flight feeling and it pays to keep liquid levels up too – and no, that doesn’t just apply to the complimentary in-flight bar offerings.