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Why You Should Track Your Food (While Traveling)

"Calories don't count on vacation!"
"I'm treating myself; it's my time to indulge."
"Being on vacation means eating whatever I want, right?"

Those statements might sound familiar to you. Or you might concur with that. But do you know that by adopting a healthy lifestyle, losing weight, and being a more mindful eater, you should not limit yourself and eat whatever you want whenever you want?

A great way to still be aware of what you consume is by tracking it - and no, not constantly weighing your meals. It's more about understanding the impact of your food on your body.

This blog post isn't about watching what you eat in order to lose weight. It's about food tracking's benefits and why everyone should be more mindful about what they eat.

Table of Contents:

What Is Food Tracking?

Let's begin by understanding the basics of food tracking and what it generally involves.

Food tracking is keeping a record of the food you eat. This is done by typically noting it down in a journal, using an app, or another method. With the help of food tracking, you become more aware of your eating habits and nutritional intake. It can be a valuable tool for achieving health and wellness goals.

Food Tracking by Mobile App

Today, the most common (and easiest) way of food tracking is by using a mobile app. Many apps are free and allow you to track the food you have, the amount of it, and showcase the intake of your macronutrients.

Food Tracking by Journaling

The more traditional way of food tracking is by noting it down in a journal. It's perfect for those, who would like to analyze their eating habits and focus more on what kind of food you have instead of the numbers.

Food Tracking by Photographic Documentation

Lastly, for the more visual people out here, photographic documentation is another great way of tracking your food. It increases mindfulness of the food you eat, as you become more conscious of portion sizes, food combinations, and overall meal compositions.

Another benefit of having a visual diary of your food is having a beautiful collection of the most delicious meals you've ever eaten, and maybe being inspired to copy or cook it again.

How Did I Start Tracking My Food?

The most common reason why someone starts with food tracking is for weight loss and so did I.

Over three years ago I constantly complained about not losing weight but eating "healthy". During the pandemic in 2020/2021, I found the time to track my food accurately and soon figured that my assumption of following a healthy diet was the opposite. I ate lots of processed food, simple carbs, and sugar.

Not only did I control my portion size, I ate more vegetables, and replaced simple carbs with grains. The kilos dropped and I soon lost lots of weight.

Today, I've lost almost 20 kilos. I follow a healthy and balanced diet and am more active. Most importantly, I feel so much better in my own body physically and mentally.

Weight Loss Journey
Even post-weight loss, I still track my food and weight. Weight fluctuates, with times when you weigh more and times when you weigh less.

General Benefits of Tracking Food

I already mentioned some benefits of food tracking above but would like to highlight them another time. Here are the five benefits:

Graphic of Food Tracking Benefits

❗️Food tracking does not always have to be connected with weight loss. It’s also a great way to be your best version of yourself.

Benefits of Tracking Food While Traveling

Traveling often disrupts routine, and it can be challenging to maintain healthy eating habits. Tracking your food helps you stay mindful of your choices and ensures you don’t deviate too far from your usual diet. Besides that, there are four more benefits of tracking your food while traveling:

Navigating Unfamiliar Cuisine

Yes, by exploring new places, you’re likely to encounter unfamiliar foods. Let me challenge you with a situation:

You’re at a restaurant and want to order the following: Shakshuka - a Middle Eastern breakfast dish. Since you have no idea about its ingredients you must Google the dish to track it.

Tracking prompts you to check the ingredients of a foreign dish and allows you to understand its nutritional content. It helps you make informed decisions that align with your dietary preferences.

Shakshuka Nutrition Facts

After tracking my shakshuka I knew, that I already had 1/3 of my protein intake covered and that my next dish should be low in fat since I already had a good portion of it. Overall, it was a great breakfast to start my day. 👍🏽

Avoiding Overindulgence

If your scale is scaring you after your vacation because you might have gained weight, overindulgence might be the problem. I get you, trying out all the local delicacies is also a secret mission of mine, and having regular treats can be tempting. It’s part of the cultural experience and nobody should not forego it!

Tracking ensures that you enjoy these treats in moderation and avoid excessive consumption. Spend the whole day exploring the city and walking 20,000 steps and only have a light salad for lunch. Go ahead and take pleasure in a Roti (Thailand Pancake) or anything else you desire.

Meeting Nutritional Needs

One of the biggest issues I have while traveling full-time is meeting my nutritional needs. Traveling can sometimes lead to irregular eating patterns or an unbalanced diet.

In my case, my plant-based diet and traveling led to nutrient deficiencies, like iron deficiency. Nowadays, I need to take supplements and am more cautious about choosing meals that are high in iron.

With the help of tracking meals, you can get insights if you meet your nutritional needs despite variations in meal timings and availability of specific foods.

Friendly Reminder!

Please remember that the goal of tracking food is not to create a rigid or stressful experience but to empower you with information and choices. It’s a tool to help you enjoy your travels while maintaining a balance between indulgence and healthy choices.

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