An international adventure does not feel complete to me without a trip to the grocery store. I love seeing how individuals of my host culture shop for their daily necessities and what they value, nutritionally. Plus, if the trip is a longer one, buying a few meals from the grocery store (if it's the right stuff) usually gives the digestive system, and wallet, a little break from all the indulgent restaurant foods. In this photo, we're enjoying a homemade breakfast on our honeymoon after a trip to the local market.
Here's what I look for when grocery shopping abroad:
I like finding nuts, high fiber bars, and fresh fruit to carry with me when I'm traveling. Nuts are pretty straight forward since they don't often have added ingredients (unless they're candied). As for reading nutrition labels on bars, in latin-alphabet languages, calories will usually look like a derivative of the actual word "calorie", or a derivative of the word "energy". Sugars tend to take the same place in a nutrition label worldwide, near the bottom of the list, above percentages of nutrients. When shopping for fruit, try to ask around (or research ahead) to know what's seasonal and remember to wash your fruit with bottled water if you're traveling somewhere with unsafe tap water.
As with meal planning in the states, I like to look for whole grains, clean proteins, and easy ways to sneak in vegetables. Most recently, on our trip to Spain, I made a veggie-based pasta with onions, zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic. I added in some local sausage and it was a tasty, easy meal. Not only did it give us a little nutritional boost, the flavors were familiar, which can be a nice change of pace on a long trip.
I hope you'll enjoy incorporating this new tradition of a grocery run and home cooked meal on your next international adventure!