Why you should Eat Local Food while Traveling

What do I mean by “eat local food?” Traveling can bring all types of harmful unhealthy habits, but none more than eating horrible processed food. And I understand the challenge that I’m presenting to you, how are you going to eat local healthy food wherever you go? In this post I’m going to help you let go of the notion that you have to eat crappy unhealthy food while you travel!

Why should you eat local food?

Well, most of us know that eating processed food will cause us to feel bloated, tired and grumpy. For me this is reason enough to try to eat the best food possible when possible. But I think there is a better reason for eating “real” local food.

Real local food is usually the best to eat anywhere you’ll be traveling because it has been eaten by society for a long time, is well-tested, usually isn’t processed, and usually is safe to eat. And better yet, you’re experiencing a culture through taste and foods, giving you a better insight into the people. It will shape your experience for better which is one of the main reasons travelers travel.

The cons would be that if you travel to several different types of cultures on one single trip, you go through the ups and downs of eating food that your body isn’t use to. One of the side effects but for me this is better than eating processed food that makes me feel weighted down.

Which also brings me to my next point. Processed food is terrible for the body and mind. We know processed food plays with how we feel, think and behave. Think of all the stresses we travelers go through when we travel and then add terrible, mind-altering food to the mix. It will affect your mental state, the fluctuations of body size and will physically and mentally bog you down.

Eat Local Food - Chicken and potatoes

Finding and trying local food?

This is where your adventurous side comes in. I know many people who will opt for McDonald’s everywhere because it’s safe, comfortable and American. Yawn and this make me depressed since McDonald’s isn’t even “real” food. How do you find local food? Luckily today we have the internet and we can find authentic restaurants on websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp.

Whenever I travel to a specific city or country, there is always a designated tourist spot and eating tourist food. Sometimes there is an authentic restaurant that happens to be in a tourist spot but much of the food is upmarked and marketed towards tourist. Pay if you want and you may get an authentic experience but the better idea is to understand where the locals are eating. How do you figure that out?

Start asking around and you’ll usually get some help. Wandering around helps to, as long as you’re in a country and city that is safe. Also researching on the internet about where real local food is can be very helpful. I usually rely on both ways to find what I need. I research before I leave and then ask around while I’m traveling.

It is your obligation and duty to find information about the places you’re visiting before you visit. Understand the dishes and learn to recognize them in their native language. It will make it easier for you to become adjusted with what to expect. Give local dishes a chance and understand how to find them.

Bring food?

Most people don’t know this but it is possible to actually bring food into airports and on to planes now. They must be wrapped and there is a huge list of foods that are now acceptable. This is an American list so if you travel outside of the United States, there will be different rules around food.

It seems you shouldn’t bring any type of sauces or liquid with you since almost all will be turned down. Solid food that is wrapped is mostly acceptable, however you may have some difficult depending on which security guard you come across. To help you get past security with food there are some references down below of what is suppose to be acceptable.

Do not wrap your food in tin foil as this will set off alarms and delay you through security. Try parchment paper instead. Make sure that food like hummus is wrapped in 3.4 oz tubs or it will be rejected. Sandwiches and salads are usually one of the best options for flights since they are easy to pack, store and aren’t too messy. Stick with natural, real food and you will be eating great food while on an airplane.

Eat Local Food - Meat and Vegetables

Some suggestions?

You have to work with something that you know sometimes. Most cultures have some sort of fruit for sale and these are usually safe to eat. If you’re traveling in western countries I recommend fruit, anything with leafy greens, peanut butter (if it’s available), real grains or bread, local meats, local nuts and local vegetables.

Bring your own canisters to fill up on water, tea or coffee. This is when it’s acceptable to try to find hot or cold water in airports because airplane water is not very clean (the tanks they store water in are disgusting).

It’s actually pretty shocking to see that most countries will have some sort of mix above as their staple diet along with influences from the USA that are not so great. It’s comforting to choose western influences but try to stick with the local, healthier option.


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images by: malt, fells, jurgen

By | 2015-11-24T12:14:01+00:00 November 13th, 2014|


  1. Ricardo Leite November 21, 2014 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Having worked for a Cruise Ship (kitchen) I really felt sorry for all Americans that would stick only with the food inboard (nearly all american cuisine, or adapted to their tastes) while every time I was outside, I would eat something local – had the best experiences in Greece, Italy and Turkey… They wasted their time and money by choosing always to be in the safe side (both about food and travelling options). Get wild man !! Try new things and leave the comfort zone !!

    • Shawn November 21, 2014 at 8:37 am - Reply

      ^ this X10. My family is like this. Its way better to get out of your comfort and try some unique food! Thanks for the comment!