Vegetarianism is becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle choice in Australia, due to concerns over animal cruelty and sustainability. However, in many countries around the world meat is almost a staple food, and it is difficult to immerse yourself in the local culture without eating the food. However, you don’t have to choose between ethics and new cultural experiences – there are many ways to have both.
Travel to vegetarian-friendly countries
People become vegetarian for many reasons, such as health, ethics or simply to increase the sustainability of their lifestyle. If this describes you, you may want to travel to countries like India, where many people will share your plant-based diet and avoid meat.
You won’t feel guilty about not fully appreciating the local culture in countries like Sri Lanka, where there is a huge variety of vegetarian food available.
South-East Asian countries also typically have fantastic vegetarian options as a part of the native cuisine, with tofu and other soy alternatives readily available in many meals.
Don’t push yourself
If you aren’t in a particularly vegetarian friendly country (Some European and South American countries, for example, tend to have very meat heavy dishes) it can be hard to resist temptation and ensure that you are getting all the nutrition you need for a healthy diet. Many cuisines do not have particularly high protein or iron rich alternatives to meat, and you need to stay healthy.
Cutting down on the number of daily decisions you need to make will give you more energy and motivation to stick with your decision to eat a vegetarian diet – and HelloFresh can help you to plan ways to reduce the number of daily decisions you make.
If you are really struggling to resist the foods on offer, or feel like you are getting weak from a lack of protein, then you might want to swap to a pescetarian diet until you visit a more vegetable-rich area. In Scandinavia, for example, it can be very hard to avoid meat altogether and things like soy can be very expensive, so you might consider trying some local seafood.
Find nutritional supplements
If you’re a seriously committed vegetarian, you still have options when immersing yourself in local culture and travelling to meat-heavy areas. Nations where the most meat is eaten also tend to be wealthier countries (because meat is expensive). This means that you can usually find substitutes, or just eat the local vegetables and find supplements for any nutrients you miss out on.
In the UK and Ireland for example, meat is a staple in traditional meals just as much as it is in Australia. There are also many local vegetable dishes you can try – the stereotype of the Irish eating lots of potatoes is partially grounded in reality. These meals are usually meant to be a side dish, but you can always get a bigger serving to fill you up – just be careful to make sure you get enough protein and iron.
Consider your staples
When travelling as a vegetarian, it is important to understand what you are eating and where your nutrition is coming from. For this to happen, you should list out the meals you have been eating and what they consist of.
Think about where you are currently getting your important nutrients, and if you lack any major ones, consider what you can introduce or eat more of in your diet to make up for this.
Meat tends to be a staple food in diets around the world, and adds valuable nutrition through protein. Building your travel diet around new staples such as legumes will ensure that you aren’t just replacing your meat with empty carbs.
Try new recipes
Not every meal is going to taste quite the same with a non-meat alternative. But there’s no need to restrict yourself to the recipes you eat at home – trying new vegetarian meals will assure you that you aren’t missing out on good food.
Once you’ve settled into your destination, it’s important that you realise there are still tons of food options out there for you. Trying new types of legumes or vegetables can keep your diet exciting and your taste buds entertained.
Similarly, try out new restaurants and find new places to eat that cater to your diet. Rather than eating at the hotel or getting every meal from the same restaurant that caters to vegetarians, look around for places in the city that have food for you. Even German beer halls will often have at least a snack.
Always plan ahead
Although vegetarianism is becoming more popular, and more options are becoming readily available at restaurants and fast food joints, the reality is that there can still be difficultly finding good vegetarian options when eating out.
That’s why it’s important for you to always plan ahead and make sure that wherever you’re going has vegetarian options suitable for you. Take the time to look up menus ahead of time to save yourself from being hungry and grumpy.
If you’re not sure where you’re going will have suitable vegetarian options, it’s a good idea to bring along your own snacks just in case. As a handy tip, Asian restaurants will generally have plenty of meat-free options all over the world, although the quality may not be great everywhere you go.
Travelling on a vegetarian diet isn’t always a smooth process, but if you follow these tips, it should be relatively easy. Planning ahead and having an interest in your diet is necessary to ensure that you eat healthily and have a balanced diet.