We often associate traveling with high calorie airplane food, but when it comes down to it, traveling makes it harder to come by a meal. Instead of stuffing yourself after starving yourself for hours while touring around a city, make your meals last longer by adding a few small ingredients to them.
Include a teaspoon of peanut butter with your breakfast to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates by an average of two hours. Most sugars, like bread and orange juice, break down in around 20 minutes and give you a short energy boost. The oils in peanut butter slow down this process so these foods will slowly power you until your next meal.
- Select commercial, non-organic brands of peanut butter to carry with you, since they don’t require refrigeration and will last up to 6 months.
- Peanut butter can be used to shift your body clock to avoid jet lag.
- Almond, cashew, and hazelnut butter also have a similar effect but are runnier and generally require refrigeration after opening.
Dieters know the benefits (outside of hydration) that come with drinking lots of water. When you find a source of clean water (in many countries bottled is the only way) drink twice as much as you think you’ll need to quench your thirst. Water not only acts as a digestion buffer, causing other foods in your stomach to break down slower and last longer, but staying hydrated dilutes your blood sending less signals to the region of your brain (hypothalamus) that controls hunger.
- Drinking plenty of water can also help you avoid travelers’ constipation.
- Be careful not to drink ‘extreme’ amounts of water, which vary based on your body, overall health, and outside temperature. Too much water can actually flush important vitamins and minerals out of your system.
- Add Some Salt: A little bit of salt can actually help you retain water.
It takes your intestines about 20 minutes to send the right signals to your brain to tell you “you’re full”. Let your body work for you by eating slow enough to allow these signals to satisfy your hunger so you don’t overeat and end up hunger (or sick) hours later. Don’t rush your meal and instead integrate them into your travels. (Don’t forget to take pictures!)
How Stuff Works has an excellent set of tips on how to keep your eating speed limit.
- Swallow what is in your mouth before preparing the next bite.
- Put your fork or spoon down after every bite.
- Relax before you start eating.
Research conducted at Glasgow Caledonia University in Scotland [pdf] suggest that chewing peppermint gum may help suppress appetite after a meal. The study showed that all gum had a moderate effect on appetite, so if peppermint isn’t your favorite you might still be able to extend your time between meals by having a piece.
- Chewing gum is one of my small travel essentials and great for your breath when you can’t find a place to brush.
Other Ways To Make Your Food Last Longer
Adding a small amount of omega-3 and omega-6 oils from sources like olive oil, nuts, and fish alongside any food will increase the efficiency of each calorie. You don’t have to eat more or less when you travel but you should appreciate each meal and have it work for you, not the other way around. If you can’t find anything but junk food in a certain area, eat as little as you need to get going until you think you can find a proper meal to enjoy – and that will last!