5 Ways To Stay Healthy During Your Stay Abroad
When studying abroad, the easiest and cheapest way to survive is to indulge in the local food. Eating out or getting takeout becomes a habit. Usually this is not the healthiest option and we must keep in mind that our health is also very important. Especially when being away from our homes for such a long time. I currently live in Japan and before I came here, I had this image of Japan being the healthiest country in the world. I quickly discovered that yes, you can get amazing healthy food… for a price. If you’re a college student and live on a budget, you can get some delicious food as well (believe me, if you want to indulge in a cheap way, takeout food in Japan is the best), but usually there are no vegetables or fruit included.
Here are a few tips that I include in my daily life to stay healthy and fit.
1. Grab that chef’s hat
I know, I know… cooking by yourself sounds scary. I can relate: in my home country, my dorm was only an hour from my parents’ house and they would usually just give me prepped food for the week. That’s why, the first few weeks in Japan, I just got takeout food every day, because it’s the easy alternative. But soon, I realized that I wasn’t getting enough vitamins into my body. I felt sluggish and tired all the time. So, I found the courage to go out, buy a pot and a pan, and cook myself. By doing this you get to control exactly what goes into your body. For example, instead of going out and getting white rice with pork and kimchi, I make brown rice with broccoli and spinach (just throw them in the pot with the rice) and some tofu (super cheap in Japan) on the side. My takeout meal cost me 500 JPY (about 4.50 USD) and all the ingredients for my homemade meal cost me about 600 to 700 JPY (5 – 6.50 USD), BUT I can make up to about 2 to 3 meals with it.
2. Spice it up
When your first start cooking by yourself, spices seem so overrated. But if you inform yourself, spices are an amazing way to get nutrients into your body. Take turmeric, for example. If you google “health benefits turmeric” the results are endless. The internet is your best friend. Just google some spices, look at their health benefits and add them to your everyday diet. To continue with the example of turmeric, I just add this to my rice every time I cook. If you don’t like the taste of it, hide it in smoothies. The fruit taste will be more powerful than the spice and you’ll be taking it in without even thinking about it.
3. Frozen veg
If you are like me and buy a ton of vegetables and fruit with the good intention of making a huge healthy meal, but you end up using only half of it (or none) and let it go bad, this tip is a life saver: Get frozen fruit and vegetables. It won’t go bad and it’s usually way cheaper than if you buy it fresh. I still buy some fresh food too like apples, bananas, tomatoes, carrots… because I know I’ll eat it immediately and it won’t go bad.
4. Work out
Oh no! That dreadful word! And yet, it’s so easy to incorporate into your daily life. Working out has so many great benefits for your body and mind, and it’s a crucial aspect of our everyday routine. Especially when you’ve been sitting down all day in class or studying for finals (or binge watching Netflix). Every university, whether in your home country or abroad, has free sports programs. This can range from a free university gym membership or free use of the pool, to a big variety of free classes. In my case, my uni in my home country offered free classes but no free gym membership. Here in Japan it’s the other way around. There are also so many YouTube channels that offer free at home workouts like Blogilates, FitnessBlender, POPSugar Fitness… And if you hate all this, go for a walk every day. At least you’ll be moving!
5. H to the O
When traveling around and discovering your new country for the next semester or year, it’s very easy to get dehydrated. So be sure to always have a small water bottle with you. No need to drag along a 2L bottle everywhere you go. Just get a small bottle and refill it a few times a day.
If you guys have anymore tips, feel free to share in the comments!