Whether you’re an expat living abroad or just a seasoned traveler who prefers home-cooked meals, food preparation is likely to become an issue. When far from home, you may find yourself wondering where on earth you’ll find the healthy ingredients you’re accustomed to using.
The ingredients are one thing, but you’ll also need to make sure you have the appliances and kitchen tools you need. Beyond basic pots and pans, some kitchen items will assist you in keeping your meals healthy once you locate the needed ingredients to cook in your well-prepped kitchen.
If your current residence doesn’t already have these devices available for your use and you can’t easily find a store that carries them, you can order all of them on Amazon.
Blender and/or Food Processor
A blender or a food processor is one of those appliances you can use daily without even thinking about it. Good for chopping vegetables and fruits, it’s a time saver when it comes to preparing meals. Additionally, you can also use it to blend smoothies packed full of nutrients (fruits, vegetables, chia seeds, for example). Daily smoothies are an excellent way to start the day with a filling and nutrient-filled breakfast.
Steaming your vegetables is by far the healthiest way to prepare them. It doesn’t cook out all the best vitamins and minerals housed in the vegetable; it preserves them, which means you get the maximum benefit.
You can choose to purchase a steamer that works quickly in the microwave or an electric steamer you plug into the wall. Just make sure if you do choose the electric version, the outlets and plugs are compatible and you have a transformer or adapter if needed.
Many steamers come with compartments that allow you to steam two things at once. This is a great feature you can use to make a quick dinner of steamed fish and vegetables, for instance.
George Foreman Grill
A George Foreman grill is a compact way to grill meat. Thanks to its nonstick grilling plates, you won’t have to use butter or oil, so it’s also a healthy way to cook. There are several different options regarding size and function, so make sure you take a look at all the variations before choosing one to buy.
Kitchen Tools and Accessories
There’s some debate on whether or not crushing your garlic releases more nutrients or not. One thing it seems everyone agrees on, however, is that it doesn’t decrease the nutritional value to crush it. Using a garlic press makes cooking with garlic exponentially easier, so it’s a must-have.
Sometimes it’s nice to prepare veggies in a new way. Chopped and sliced vegetables can start to feel boring after a while. The spiralizer allows you to prepare vegetables or fruits in ribbon-like strands that change the texture and add variety to your plate.
Some have found that simply having another way to cook vegetables encourages them to prepare them more often, which is always a good thing.
Purchasing a quality meat thermometer is a worthy investment. This will help you branch out a little and cook healthy meats you’ve been intimidated by thus far. It will also vastly improve your meat-cooking skills overall by letting you know when the meat is done so that it is safe to eat without overcooking it.
Oils are an important part of any diet. However, most of us overdo it, which can have an adverse impact on our general health. An oil mister sprays oil on the surface or ingredient you’re aiming for without pouring way too much. A light spritz is usually all you need to enjoy the health benefits.
Eggs are often the cornerstone of a healthy diet, but sometimes the healthiest recipes call for just the egg whites. A yolk extractor makes it so much easier to remove the yolk and preserve the white. This is just another time-saver, but it will make it easier for you to cook those healthy egg whites-only recipes.
An apple slicer is a cheap accessory that is nice to have. With one move, it cores and slices an apple into eight equal parts. You can do a few apples at a time, store them in your refrigerator, and you have a healthy snack ready to go for those late afternoon cravings.
Some of the world’s healthiest foods seem basic, but the truth is, depending on where you’re located in the world, they can be really hard to find. Your location will determine your ability to access a lot of these foods, but there are always surprising ways locals manage to get their foods and ingredients.
Meats and Other Proteins
Eating local meat can be an adventure, but if you pay attention to local eating habits, you’re likely to discover healthy ways to enjoy the local culture and their carnivorous cuisine.
Eggs are also an essential protein to keep in your diet. If you can locate organic eggs by visiting the marketplace or local grocer, that’s the ideal.
Coconut Oil and Other Vegetable Oils
We highly recommend iherb.com, which ships a wide variety of groceries around the world. Stay away from canola oil; it’s not your healthiest choice. Stick with coconut, avocado or olive oil for the healthiest levels of needed nutrients.
Nuts and Seeds
Amazon or iherb.com can help you out here as well. One of the healthiest seeds you can consume is chia seeds. They can be hard to find, so ordering them online is a great way to make sure you have them stocked at all times.
Vegetables and Leafy Greens
Outdoor markets, farmer’s markets or wet markets are probably your best bet for these critical ingredients. Depending on your location, these can be elaborate displays of the most local, seasonal and fresh produce available.
If you want to, you can still shop at small or large grocery stores, but the produce will likely be less fresh than what you can purchase in the markets.
Keeping your diet healthy when traveling to various locations around the world can seem overwhelming. However, a little preparation and research can make the whole thing much simpler. Talk to the locals, check out local grocers and markets, and if all else fails, Amazon and iherb.com are always there for you.
What other tips do you have for cooking healthy meals when traveling internationally? Any ideas for our readers? Leave a comment!