A massive concern for me before travelling was how I was going to maintain a healthy lifestyle while still having fun and sticking to a budget.
Since being in Australia my weight has fluctuated a fair bit. I have found that when travelling up the East Coast over a 2 month time frame I was losing weight, whereas since being in Brisbane for the past 4 months I have struggled to maintain that loss.
Food – What to eat, what to avoid and how to keep it cheap.
You probably already know that Australia isn’t exactly cheap when it comes to the cost of living. Therefore it is important to save money where ever possible. Unfortunately it is often the more unhealthy foods that tend to be cheap; 85 cents for a loaf of white bread, 65 cents for pasta and so on.
So, how do you avoid living off carbs but still spend your money wisely?
- Shop around for fruit and veg; go to weekly farmer’s markets or local fruit and veg stores and see which places offer you the cheapest prices for fresh goods. Although this is time consuming and more hassle it will save you money in the long run and still gives you the healthy foods you need.
- Know when to spend and when to save; for example, a loaf of bread is definitely a good food supply to have as it can be used as the staple of many meals, however it is worth opting for the more expensive wholemeal/wholegrain option. There are quite a lot of times where the slightly healthier food option is a little bit more pricey but if you really do want to maintain a healthy weight then it is worth the money.
- Eat with friends; if you get a group of friends to cook a meal with this can be a great way to socialise, save money and buy those nicer ingredients that you can’t afford when you’re making a meal for one. By splitting the cost of the food shop you will end up saving money and no ingredients will go to waste. Most packaged foods are designed to serve 2-4 people so when you buy and cook for one person you tend to over eat or waste a lot of the food.
- Plan ahead; before heading to the shop hungry and without an idea of what you’re going to get stop and write a list. If you’re only staying somewhere for a few nights really think about what meals you will want for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Will you be eating out any of the nights or going on a trip where food is provided? Does the hostel provide free breakfast? Is there a free food bin with anything worth grabbing? Its also worth checking out the events and offers going on around the hostel as sometimes there are cheap pizza nights or discounted food in the bar. (This may not be healthy but sometimes the chance to make friends comes before eating healthy!)
- Avoid eating out too often; this is an obvious one. At the start of travelling me and Sam were awful at using the hostel kitchens and would just go out for food most nights. This drained our money but also did nothing for our weight. I tend to opt for the cheapest thing on the menu if i go out which is usually burgers, pizza or some other kind of unhealthy food. Always eat in unless there’s an event or you have no option.
- Meal prep; if you know you’re going to be staying somewhere for a while go out and buy some cheap containers, a big bag of brown rice/wholemeal pasta or whatever else you fancy and cook it all in a big pot with diced tomatoes and any other ingredients you want. Hostels often have free spices and seasonings in the kitchen area which you can use to give it a bit more flavour.once its all cooked separate it out and now you have meals for the next few days all at once. The only problem with this is you will get bored of eating the same food, but if you just mix it up every hostel/every week it shouldn’t be too repetitive.
Exercise – Having fun that incorporates fitness
For me this is the easy part, especially in Australia where there are so many amazing walks, hikes, oceans and rainforests. But my basic rule to getting exercise in is to go and have an adventure. Unless you’re living in the outback you aren’t far from a beach/waterfall/national park which means you really have no excuse for not getting out and doing something energetic. If you don’t have a car and everything is unreachable by public transport then turn to the world of Facebook where there are loads of groups offering car shares and rides to these place and you only need to chip in for the fuel.
I’m currently in Brisbane which means I’m no more than 2 hours away from Mount Coot-Tha, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, the Glass House Mountains, Mount Tambourine, Lamington National Park and Springbrook National Park. All of these spots offer exercise but are mainly great opportunities to have fun. Double win.
If you really hate the outdoors and battling with the heat then there are also some relatively cheap gyms around. Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness both offer open contracts (meaning you can sign up for as little as one month). Both these gym chains are all over the main cities of Australia and your membership allows you access to all of them, which is perfect if you’re travelling around Australia’s cities. But in my opinion why run on a treadmill when you can run along a beach?!
Hope this is helpful! If anyone has any suggestions on how they keep fit while travelling or has a similar blog post comment below 🙂