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Traveling abroad is one of the best life experiences that you can ever invest your hard-earned time, money, and energy into. Not only does it give you a refreshing change of scenery that you won’t find in your home country, but it also exposes you to different cultures and experiences that can open your eyes to new perspectives and ways of thinking.
There’s also the fact that you’ll be making memories during your travels that will stay with you for the rest of your life. So if you haven’t traveled before but you’re thinking about making plans this year, then definitely go for it. You will never regret one moment of it.
With that said, what if you’re looking to make your very first trip a European one, with the express purpose of enjoying their health-conscious foods and cuisines? After all, while it’s great to let yourself go from time to time, especially if you’re in another country, there’s nothing like the guilt-free feeling you get when you dine on something that’s tasty as well as good for you. Going on a healthy international food trip is also a great way to reward yourself if you’ve been working hard to exercise healthy living habits.
If you say yes to this, then read on, as we’ll be listing in this article the top 5 European countries that you have to visit for some healthy eats.
Italy is famous for its carb-heavy dishes like pasta, pizza, lasagna, and so on. So right out of the gate, it doesn’t seem like Italy is a great first choice for healthy eating. However, it’s all about quantity, and Italians rarely pig out with their pasta-heavy cuisine. Take their meals for example: the first course, called the primo, usually consists of a very small amount of pasta. The second, called secondo, is a protein dish with lots of vegetables, a modest amount of meat, and olive oil as a main condiment. So eat like the Italians do and enjoy a filling yet healthy dining experience.
If you’ve looked into the Paleo style of eating and found it perfect for your palate and your waistline, then Ireland should definitely be your next stop. Ireland cuisine has remained true to tradition after all this time, featuring stews and soups that are as filling as they are nutritious. Some notable examples of such hearty dishes include warming stew and creamy mashed potatoes with wilted kale and meat. Walnuts also feature quite a lot in this country’s cooking, which are a great source of protein and nutrients, but if it’s not to your taste, you can always consume walnuts in alternative forms, such as walnut milk. Just make sure to watch your portion sizes!
Sweden is world-renowned for its meatballs, but what’s not common knowledge is that this dish is almost always served with a healthy serving of lingonberries. Lingonberries are not only famous for their delicious tart flavor, but also in their abundance of quercetin and proanthocyanidin, flavonoids that being studied heavily for their anti-inflammatory properties. Besides this, Sweden also features a lot of vegetables and potatoes in its cuisine, so you won’t lack for them here.
The Netherlands diet is a very healthy one, as evidenced by their global obesity rate of only 19.8%—far below the USA’s 33.7% and the Cook Islands’s 50.8%. Moreover, their rate of diabetes is also one of the lowest in the world, measuring at only a measly 6.3%. So if you want to enjoy all the gouda cheese, groningen sausages, balkenbrij meatloaf and stiff rye bread that you’ll only be able to dine on in the Netherlands, then you can do so completely guilt-free since they’re definitely packed with a lot of essential vitamins and nutrients.
Take a Foodie Trip the Healthy Way
Traveling exposes us to new cultures, new surroundings, and new foods to try out and enjoy. However, just because you’re going overseas doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind and eat recklessly—you should still keep an eye on your portion sizes and caloric intake. Thankfully, the above-listed European countries will not only tickle your palate when it comes to their national cuisine, but they will also give you the proper nutrition you need to have lots of energy while still keeping to your healthy habits.