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My Top Travel Tips for Nutrition: A Deititian's Experience

Before I get into some top tips let me share with you my perspective on food and travel.

One of the most challenging things I find when travelling to a country I’ve never been to before is, making food choices. Yes, this is a real challenge for me. As a dietitian, I know all about nutritious foods. But, when I am travelling all I want to do is eat delicious food. No, I'm not saying that delicious foods are not nutritious, they can be...

Recently, I traveled to Italy for a conference. I was honestly dreaming about all the delicious pastries and pasta I was going to eat. I may have underestimated how strategic it had to be when sourcing food.

Trying to find food to eat can be rather daunting when you don't know the place well.

Foods have to taste good and be affordable. I must say though, that, times have changed and it is not really difficult to source good food.

However, timing is of the essence here. Where I stayed, some eateries were only open after 7 p.m. for dinner while some were open for breakfast. When I traveled to Florence, the marketplace had some delicious food shops but I had to walk quite a bit to source them.

Then there’s the sensitive gut situation that can be a game changer. Yep, that irritable bowel syndrome; that foe that you didn’t invite and yet it’s there !! Not to forget the issue of hydration. No matter what I do I will have a cracked lip at some point in my travel kind of situation.

The good news is, I did get to taste pasta and pastries.. they were delish and I did not end up with cracked lips until I reached home...probably did not do too well with hydration on my long journey home. The plane's air-conditioner was rather strong which was good to keep bad odor at bay but not too great for my skin.

How did I tackle my nutrition principles?

#1. Packed an empty drink bottle with me in my ‘check-in luggage’

#2. It kept my hydration up throughout the whole trip as I could refill my bottle all-day

#3. Bought a punnet of strawberries which fit perfectly in the hotel's mini-fridge...fruits are the best when traveling....and you can get low-FODMAP ones too !!

#4. Bought a small carton of low-fat milk which also fitted perfectly in the mini-fridge

At this point, I must add that I ended up having food poisoning after eating at Florence marketplace, felt sick, and lost my appetite for the rest of the trip...which was a 'sad state of affairs'.

But assuming I had my appetite, I would have:

#5. bought a fresh vegetable from the supermarket ‘Coop' each night to add as a night snack if my dinner meals do not include at least a serving of vegetables. Keep it simple like carrot, cucumber, tomato. The hotel can provide you with a knife if you need it.

#6. bought wholegrain bread and a fruit spread

#7. bought some nuts and whole grain crackers for snacks

#8. I forget if there were mini canned beans there but that would have been included too

So, what happened after I got my appetite back, I was on my way back home to Melbourne and my meal choices on the airways were pretty decent. I suspect a dietitian was involved in the ‘main meals’ planning as there was a serving of grains, meat, legumes/veg, and fruit offered which was rather refreshing and there were some juices and snacks too which did have added sugar, fat and salt but I was not too upset about that.

My take-home message here is, that we do the best we can to include nutritious food groups along with some yummy favorites within reason of our own health conditions….to find out more tips on what to eat when traveling with a health condition, speak to a dietitian.

I am a fertility and gut health specialist and I can help you make better choices…as a foodie, I know how challenging it can be but being strategic is key !!


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