New year, new adventures!
The joys of discovering new sights and sounds are what makes travelling so fun (and addictive).
Undoubtedly, another exciting thing about visiting a foreign country is the opportunity to indulge in scrumptious fare — and we all know how hard it is to keep our diets in check while on vacation. Thankfully, these countries make clean eating a lot easier:
Known for the art of Fika and history of Vikings, Sweden is one of the most health-conscious countries in the world. In fact, Sweden is among the top Nordic countries when it comes to life expectancy.
The Swedish diet is typically low-carb, high-fibre, and high in healthy fats. Rye bread is a staple in Sweden, alongside oily fish. In Sweden, you will also find an abundant array of local fruits such as rosehip, figs, and lingonberries (the same berries found in IKEA’s signature Swedish meatball jam). Swedes also love cheese, fermented milk, and vegetables. If you want to maintain your waistline while on holiday, Sweden is definitely a destination worth visiting.
Like Sweden, the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ has one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates. The Okinawa prefecture alone is home to the world’s largest centenarian population, according to the Okinawa Centenarian Study. This could be attributed to the Okinawan tradition of “hara hachi bu” which is the practice of eating until you are 80 per cent full. This method of eating has been said to improve your digestive system and promote longevity.
The Japanese diet is well-rounded, with a combination of fresh seafood, meat, certain carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Japanese meals are typically prepared using the well-balanced “ichijyu sansai” principle: fish/meat, rice, a bowl of soup, and three vegetable dishes. Plus, the Japanese typically couple their meals with hot tea, which aids digestion and keeps you feeling satiated.
Egypt: the Land of Pharaohs and Pyramids!
In Egypt, the most common fare you’ll find is Mediterranean cuisine, which has been referred to as one of the healthiest in the world. This wholesome diet encompasses wholegrain cereals, fish, dairy, nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables. Instead of butter, olive oil is the preferred source of fat in this diet, and herbs and spices are used in place of salt. Some main dishes you’ll get to enjoy include couscous, hummus, falafel, and juicy kebabs. The bonus is the occasional glass of red wine as accompaniment.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not explore the faraway wildlife lands of West Africa? Take your pick from over a dozen countries within West Africa, including Senegal, Sierra Leone, Chad and Mali!
The West African diet comprises a wholesome mix of lean meat, vegetables, and cereal staples. West Africans also eat way less processed foods than Westerners and Europeans. Some popular dishes include dried and smoked fish, flavourful Jollof rice, as well as groundnut stew.
Australia is famous for so many things: the Outback, kangaroos, amazing beaches, and gorgeous stars (hello, Chris Hemsworth). But what some might not know is that the country is also peppered with healthy eating joints and fresh fare. From hip cafes and Farmers’ Markets to salad bars and organic eateries, it’s generally easy to find healthy options (and Instagram-worthy meals) in Australia.
Iceland’s ample supply of fresh fish, specifically salmon and herring, means that you will get to enjoy plenty of omega-3 goodness! Aside from its many health benefits, omega-3 fatty acids can also help you to feel fuller for longer. Also, look out for the iconic Icelandic delicacy called Harðfiskur, which consists of dried fish and usually served with nutritious charcoal bread. Generally, Scandanavians also tend to consume high-quality, unrefined carbohydrates such as pumpernickel bread.
South Korea is bustling with pop culture and fashion trends, so it’s no surprise why many foreigners adore this Asian country.
Aside from that, South Korea is also a great place to find relatively healthy food. Kimchi, the most popular condiment to hail from the country, is served with almost every meal. The fermented vegetable concoction is loaded with gut-friendly probiotics, which supports your digestive system and adds fibre to your diet.
Another South Korean staple, Bibimbap is a nutritious dish comprising rice, meat, vegetables, eggs, and red pepper paste. South Koreans sure love their vegetables!
Vietnamese cuisine is fragrant and flavourful, due in large part to the variety of fresh herbs and vegetables in the recipes. Moreover, instead of frying with oils, the Vietnamese prefer to cook with water or broth. Indulge in Vietnam’s signature Pho (pronounced “fuh”), a hearty and aromatic broth noodle dish that’s flavoured with anti-inflammatory spices like ginger, star anise, and basil.
Forget the sinful nachos and Quesadilla dishes that we have come to know from Mexican restaurants in our own countries. In Mexico, you will find that the meals are a lot simpler, smaller, and more nutritious. Mexicans love eating stews, chilli bowls, and simple tacos, all of which are usually brimming with wholesome beans and spices.