Saying No to Fast Food While Traveling

By: JORDAN HUGHES

When you travel it can be really hard to eat healthily, especially when you are on a budget. I experienced this firsthand recently and I wanted to share my experience with the GFGL readers.As I am studying abroad, I am frequently subjected to “eating on a budget.” Sometimes this means fast food, unfortunately. A few weeks ago, my friends and I traveled to Budapest, Hungary. The country used a different currency than we were used to dealing with, so we tried to spend as little as possible. We ate Burger King, McDonalds, you name it; several times in the week, sometimes more than once a day.

The poor condition of our bodies was very evident after a few days. All four of us noticed and talked about our dining habits on the way to our next destination and vowed never to eat like that again.Our faces had broken out. We felt exhausted and overly tired. It was harder to sleep and our sleep was not comfortable. We felt bloated and disgusting. It was harder to travel and tour the city. Our stomachs hurt for days afterward and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at a cheeseburger the same way again.You may think I am being overdramatic, but I swear to you I’m not. Fast food deteriorates your body and I want people to know how horrible it feels to go about your day when your body is in that state. FastFoodNation.com is a website dedicated to exposing how fast food really affects your body. Here are some key takeaway points from the website:Fast food is high in fat, calories, salt. All three of these substances drain your body of energy and increase weight gain. Most fast food is high in trans fat; trans fat clogs your arteries and is the cause of heart attacks later in life.


High calorie food is not necessarily bad; but fast food is high in “empty” calories, because most of the calories come from sugar. Essentially this means these foods will increase your caloric intake without actually keeping you full for very long. You are hungry right after; most of the time, you end up craving more of that same unhealthy food later in the day.

The food tends to be fried in oil, too: also extremely unhealthy.

If you are reading Get Fit Get Life, you probably now all of these basics. You know fast food is bad for your body, that it puts stress on your digestive system, etc.

I want to encourage everyone to find other ways to eat on a budget when traveling. There are other options than fast food, and I hope people can learn from my experiences and not make the same mistakes my friends and I did.

Here are some suggestions we have for those of you looking to grab something on the go when traveling on a budget:

  • Always try to skip soda. You may think that having a carbonated soda will fill you up, but it is actually just going to make you crave sugar and salt later. It will make you extremely bloated.
  • Avoid airport food at all costs. It is usually prepackaged and high in preservatives. Try and eat before you leave for the airport and you’ll end up saving money and calories.
  • Drink as much water as possible. If you’re going to drop money on anything, let it be water. Keep hydrated at all times and your body will thank you very much.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask locals where to go to eat. Sometimes it can be too easy to just drop in to a McDonalds if you have no idea where to go. There are healthier options, you just have to look for them.
  • If you’re really worried about avoiding fast food while traveling, look up restaurants and cheap places to eat before you leave. Coming prepared with a plan always makes it easier to avoid fast food traps.

  • Wash your face, wash your hands, get sleep: Take care of your body! Try not to stress yourself out. When you feel gross about your body, it’s easy to turn to food for comfort.

  • If you HAVE to eat fast food, go for healthier options: Chicken over red meat, Skip the soda, Try a salad (be a weary of fatty dressings), etc. We all know the basics of healthy eating and there is always an alternative option.

I hope that other traveling students can apply these tips while abroad. It will really influence your trip more than you think.

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Categories: Home, Sections, Your Lifestyle, Your Nutrition

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One Comment on “Saying No to Fast Food While Traveling”

  1. May 2, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    Great post man, well done!

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