Say goodbye to the soul food holiday. While most of us enjoy holiday food – foreign meals, new dishes, and comforting fat-filled hotel staples, a growing number of British travellers are opting to take their own food abroad in an effort to decrease their caloric consumption. With a rising rate of obesity and some of the most nutritionally nasty food in the world, we don’t think it’s a great idea.
For most, holidays are about sampling the local culture – something that certainly includes a local take on cuisine and culinary arts. From Malaysia’s famed hawker stands to Rome’s backstreet pizza and pasta houses, food is as much a part of travel as is sightseeing. To put it simply, it’s a part of the culture that isn’t to be avoided, even if it means loosening your belt after an evening meal.
It’s not just small-time dieters that are exporting their dietary staples, either. Leading television and media personality Oprah has advised her audience – one that’s particularly diet-friendly – to pack a selection of ultra-healthy foods before they holiday internationally. It’s a tactic that, for weight loss, is likely to prove worthwhile. But isn’t it slightly xenophobic in its nature?
Part of the joy of travel is experiencing foods that other cultures have created, even if it may result in a hundred extra calories. For dieters, however, there remains an alternative – after arriving in a foreign country, make an activity out of tracking down a high-value dietary meal. Piecing together your lunch from local foods isn’t just culturally interesting – it’s fun!
With dieting very much a part of daily life, it’s no wonder so many are opting to design their own international lunch. But please don’t let it become the standard meal when holidaying overseas. A trip is equal parts culture and cuisine – two aspects of travelling that just shouldn’t be isolated.