Travel Tips

Published on September 29th, 2013 | by Snoesje

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How to Eat Cheap when Travelling Abroad

People want to eat cheap for different purposes. It doesn’t matter if you do it by necessity or just as an experiment—generally it is a fun and beneficial thing to do. Eating cheap doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to restrain yourself with poor quality food. As we all know, our body reacts to what we eat. Attempting to save a little money by jeopardizing our health is a bad game to play in the long run. To put it more precisely, I could rephrase the title to: How to eat a nutrition-balanced diet on a budget. This is especially important for people who often travel to foreign lands. Read on to see some tips that not only make you eat cheaper, but smarter as well.

Eat at home instead of eating out

Cooking at home is beneficial in many ways. Up until this day I still can vividly recall the sweetness and happiness we felt when I cooked for my boyfriend for the first time. Food is one of the gifts that is bestowed onto us so that we can get through any hardship in life. And cooking is a great way to love someone or yourself. Furthermore, you actually get to work out without even realizing it. It takes work to prepare a good healthy meal. So you might think cooking takes up your precious time but you are also saving time by combining cooking time with working out time. Besides it is never a burden to obtain more skills. People find others who can cook and who are willing to cook for us very likable. And of course, cooking at home is often just cheaper than eating out as you buy the products in the supermarket, which is normally cheaper than in restaurants.

Know where to shop for the cheapest groceries

For example, in China, the best place for this regard is the Vegetable Market. This kind of market is all over the city and covers everything from rice, flour, vegetables, meat, to all kinds of condiments. The downside of the market is that it is always noisy and is very down to earth. But it doesn’t mean that the groceries are of bad quality. In fact, the vegetables sitting on the racks of the supermarket also come from there, only that they are selected and groomed and dressed up. Every country has this kind of market, but sometimes you will have to look for it a bit.

Supermarket. Of all the supermarket chains, some are cheaper than the others. Do your research beforehand or try out some of them and cross-compare the prices, and then stick to the ones that can provide you with what you need for relatively lower prices. Going for the discounted wares can be benificial too.

Know how to shop on the cheap

Knowing how to shop is as important as what you buy. Some of my personal tips are:

- Make a shopping list and stick to it if possible. It’s okay to shop for two days but not too much further ahead, especially if you are only staying in a place for a month or two, you might think you’ll finish them eventually, but that’s not guaranteed. It’s not like you can return the food you bought for cash.

- Cut down snacks, such as chips, chocolates, expensive nuts, cookies, pastries, etc. These snacks are not only high in sugar and sodium, but also in price. If you have overwhelming sweet cravings, eat some sweet fruits. Fructose is way much healthier than glucose and sweeteners.

- Find condiments mixes. For example, if you plan to make Chicken Kong Pao, you can easily find the seasoning mix for this dish, instead of buying all the condiments.

- Choose canola oil over butter. It is cheaper and it contains mono-unsaturated fatty acid which is very good for people who suffer from high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

- Pay with cash and set a slightly lower budget than necessary. It prevents us from over-spending.

- Shop with your partner, provided that you have a partner who is budget-conscious and not extravagant. This way you keep a balance on each other.

- Check your fridge and food cabinet before you go out shopping. This helps to finish all the food before they go bad and reminds you to not to buy anything that you already have.

- Replace soft drinks, juice, beer with mineral water. For a better taste, you can add a couple of lemon slices into your water. This natural drink is not only tasty, but also can help you shed a few pounds.

- Don’t go shopping with an empty stomach or grumpy mood. It is scientifically proven that when you go to the supermarket with a hungry stomach, you will buy much more, even as much as twice than you need.

Economical Recipes for a wonderful Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Breakfast. Our metabolism system is at its peak in the morning around 9 to 10 o’clock, so in order to ensure our body to function well, you need to have a big breakfast which can provide you with adequate protein, carbohydrates, healthy fat and fiber. For breakfast, I would recommend you eat:

Option #1: A glass of water; a big bowl of oatmeal with milk and banana; a piece of whole wheat bread. (You can buy a big bag of plain unsweetened oatmeal for a few dollars and it can last for a long time.)

Option #2: A glass of water; two pieces of bread with baked egg; a glass of soy milk; an apple. (It’s okay to bake the bread with oil and add proper amount of sugar in your soy milk in the morning, because you still have plenty of time along the day to digest them. Eating sugar in the morning also helps to lower your sweet cravings later on.)

Option #3: Every once or twice in one week, you can award yourself with your favorite breakfast even if it costs more, just to keep things interesting so that you don’t get depressed in the morning. For example, with fresh juice and pancakes.

Lunch and dinner. When cooking for one person, even two, it is inevitable that you would cook too much. Remember to keep several food containers at home, so that you can save the leftovers for later on. However food like green vegetables and soup are better to eat while they are fresh. The following are a few lunch recipes that I would like to recommend:

Option #1: A glass of water, Curry chicken with potato served with steamed rice.

Option #2: A glass of water, Sandwich with pepper, onion, tomato and sausage.

Option #3: Noodles covered with stewed beef and tomato.

Dining out every once in a while

Just for the sake of being nice to yourself. If you get bored eating at home all day, it’s a perfect timing to treat yourself with eating out for dinner. Eating out isn’t necessarily more expensive if you choose the right restaurants. In many Asian cities, like Hong Kong, Shanghai and Bangkok, it sometimes costs less to eat out if you are alone than in case you would cook for yourself. Here are a few tips for eating out:

- Food stands are not so bad if your stomach is strong enough and you don’t mind eating open air. You will get used to the food quickly as well.

- Avoid the pretentious restaurants on the touristy or crowed streets.

- Take away leftovers. I find this a very respectable thing to do rather than shameful.

- Skip the drinks. Bring your own water just in case the restaurant doesn’t offer free water.

- Avoid eating out with friends unless they are also living on a budget. If you want to eat with friends (which is of course very nice) try to cook for them at your home.

- Don’t go to restaurants with an empty stomach. This goes without saying- It’s too cruel to think about budget with you are starving. It’s a good timing to allow yourself to snack a little before you go out.

Some Final Tips

- Keep yourself fulfilled with work or other activities, so that you won’t have time to think about food.

- Get enough quality sleep. Studies show that adequate sleep prevents people from overeating.

If you have any other good ideas, please feel free to share with us by leaving a comment.

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