Spending money on food while traveling in Europe is probably one of the most difficult things to handle when it comes to budgeting.
You always spend more than you had planned, and yet, it’s hard to cut down since you need it to live.
However, just because you need to cut down on your food budget, doesn’t mean you should have to cut down on your health.
Cooking your own food is the cheapest way to get around when traveling, especially in western countries.
It’s easy to just fall back on the typical student food with pasta and tomato sauce, which is fine, but if you want to eat a little healthier and have a more varied diet, check out these alternatives:
Lentils are my favorite food. I used to absolutely hate them, but once I found out their possibilities I’ve made some amazing meals with them.
A very simple and cheap meal to make is Faki Lentil Soup.
Lentils are high in fiber and helps to prevent heart disease. The magnesium content found in lentils contributes to blood flow and the passage of oxygen through the body.
But best of all, lentils are high in iron, and are also suprisingly filling.
2. Canned Corn
Fry it, boil it or eat it raw, no matter how you eat it it’s always tasty. Corn is high in Vitamin B, which gives you some good energy – mix in with rice and tuna, or have it in your bean wrap, tortilla or couscous salad.
3. Chick peas
Chick peas (also known as Garbanzo beans) are fat free and packed with protein. Since they’re so high in fiber they help your digestion, which can be very helpful when traveling.
They also keep blood sugar levels stabilized making you feel full longer.
One of my favorite snacks is hummous (an Arabic dip), great as a spread, in hot meals, to the salad or as a side dish, where the main ingredient is chickpeas.
They’re also great in salads, pots and curries.
4. Black Beans
I’ve already talked about couscous and all the amazing recipes you can make with it. Well, couscous (or Quinoa, quite similar type of food), can make a great meal with black beans.
And why not add some of that canned corn to it as well. Spice it with some cayenne pepper, garlic, onion and vegetable broth – and you have a hearty meal in front of you.
Health in a can, black beans contain a compound that significantly reduce pre-cancerous cells.
Black beans are also loaded with anthocyanins, specifically ten times more when compared to other dark colored fruits and vegetables.
You can also use the black beans in the bean wrap recipe, it works great.
It’s a great food to have for breakfast, either dry, soaked (together with raisins in hot water) or cooked as porridge.
Oats helps to relieve constipation, a pretty common problem for travelers. Add some prunes in the breakfast and you double the effect!
6. Canned Tuna
Tuna is also a food that easily can be mixed in countless of variations; On the sandwich, in the rice, in the salad etc.
Protein, omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, potassium, selenium, vitamin B12, niacin and phosphorus – the list of the great nutrients you get from canned Tuna is long.
Plus, it’s easy to carry along for a backpacker since it doesn’t need to be in a cool environment, and it’s in a good packanble size.
What are your favorite healthy budget foods you cook a lot with when traveling?