Eat Well Shanghai is back online after an extended summer holiday. Alas it was not all play and no work. Part of my time was spent looking at the differences between the Chinese and the western diet. (More on this project in upcoming posts. ) Many of the differences are quite obvious to those of us living here in China but I am always amazed when reality matches the stereotypes.
Sitting in the airport in Canada waiting to board my flight to China I was struck by a literal contrast in how the Chinese eat versus a western person. While we were all indulging in a pre-boarding snack, most of the Chinese passengers were eating apples and oranges and the westerners were enjoying Tim Horton’s mini-bites and croissants from Starbucks. It isn’t hard to reason why Asians tend to be thinner than westerners. It comes down to choices, people !
Being a frequent traveler I often look at the variety of food offered in airports and roadside stops. It helps me gauge how the seemingly ever present nutrition messages are succeeding in changing peoples’ habits. To my surprise, I did see fresh fruits, vegetable plates with hummus and sandwiches on whole grain breads being offered at most traveling venues. My amateur conclusion is that the healthy options are there but that it will be awhile before nuts and berries and yogurt parfaits are the first choice.
Being an expat in China automatically qualifies you as a frequent traveler and being a frequent traveler puts you into a position where you will have to make food choices within limited boundaries. You can have some control over what you eat on the road. If the healthy choice is there, choose it. If you have the opportunity to pack food ahead of your trip, do that. Generally the sandwich you make and the fruit/ nut mix or the yogurt you bring from home will be healthier and tastier than what you will find at the airport or on the plane. You may only be able to do this for part of the trip but all studies indicate that every little bite of good nutrition helps.
Frequent travel doesn’t have to be an obstacle to a healthy diet. Changing your mind about food on the road is the first step to changing your habits and once you realize that traveling doesn’t equal fast food and candy bars, you will be eating apples at the departure gate too. Make the right choice because, to be sure, someone is always watching !
Moving on….starting next week I will be back to updating you on the nutrition scene in Shanghai and predictably there is lots going on.
Mark your calendar for the return of the Jiashan Market on Saturday, August 27th. Eat Well Shanghai will be there as well as plenty of your favorite food vendors.
Eat Well, Live Well , Have Fun !