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How to (try) and go sugar free when travelling

Sugar free

In case you’ve been in hibernation for the first 10 months of the year (and we wouldn’t blame you TBH, it’s been a weird one) going sugar free is a big thing in 2016. It’s definitely not for everybody, but if it’s a thing you’re willing to try, many people have seen a lot of success doing so.

There are a few variations of the method, but to be clear, this usually doesn’t mean cutting ALL sugars out of your diet; without natural sugars you wouldn’t have very much to eat at all. Refined sugar is usually the target, while specific types of sugar like fructose can be singled out as well. It’s hard enough to follow at home, but on vacation? Lord help us.

Here are some tips on how to try it for yourself:

A croissant and coffee on a table.

Learn the words

Whether you have to repeat it 100 times on your flight over or carry around a little cheat card to show your waiter, communicating your dietary needs in the native tongue of your destination is the best way to ensure nothing is lost in translation.

Learn the words for ‘sugar’, ‘natural’, ‘fresh’, ‘no’ – whatever will help you best scan your menus and convey your message clearly.

Do your research

Learning about local dishes and what they contain before you go is a key part of knowing what you can and can’t eat while you’re away. Once you’re familiar with the cuisine, research/ ask locals for their recommendations for the best places to find those dishes.

Chances are there’s a sugar-free blogger who’s been to where you’re going as well, so look out for their food recommendations before you go.


Buffet it up

If you’re finding menus difficult to navigate, a gold ol’ fashioned buffet might be your saving grace. You might not be able to read the ingredient list for each dish, but you’ll be sure to find some familiar foods that you can piece together for a sugar-free feast.

Manage the snack situation wisely

Let’s face it, you’re bound to have a day or two when you strike out and find yourself surrounded by absolutely nothing but macarons. Some people might see this as a blessing or a sign to #treatyoself, but if you’re determined to be good, snacks will be KEY.

Whether you bring them with you from home or find a grocery store abroad, you should always carry sugar-free snacks around with you in case of a dire situation. Choose snacks that are easy to transport and that you actually enjoy, or else the temptation may just win the battle. And make sure they’re in your day bag/ purse and not just getting crumpled in your suitcase either.

Stick to shots

Your mother may not give you the same drinking advice, but strictly sugar-speaking, shots are your go to. Travelling is usually a time when you drink a bit more than usual and try new local bevvies, but those fun and fruity cocktails are a no-no.

Stick to the hard stuff like gin and vodka, make a healthier cocktail with some soda water, cucumber and mint, and if wine is the only option, stick to red.


Try out Vegan, Paleo, Raw etc.

We know, some of those terms may not be at all what you’re into, but if you’re really in a pinch for a suitable restaurant, these other types of diets often feature a lot of sugar free menu items as well.


The fresher the better

If you can watch them prepare it, there’s a higher chance that there won’t be any sneaky sugars stuck in there. Avoid pre-packaged and preserved menu options whenever possible.

Have a late-night strategy

If there’s ever a time when you’re gonna go off the rails and indulge in the sweet life, it’s probably after last call when you’re ready to call it a night. Street and late night eats are almost definitely chalk full of sugars, so either have a safe option in mind before you drink or make sure there’s an approved late night snack waiting for you in your hotel room.

Night out