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Saturday 20 August 2022

Travel Gut Health with Bio-Kult

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (www.momsmeet.com) to use and share my honest opinions.  

You know I'm a big fan of traveling, right?

Well, there's one aspect of travel that I'm not so much a fan of. Well, maybe a few things - unpacking and doing all the washing when we get home is never fun, and sometimes the costs involved are a little eek. But that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the toll that travel takes on my gut.

Yep - I'm talking about guts!

Most of us who love travel know all about "Bali Belly" and the risks involved in drinking tap water in certain destinations, but what I'm talking about is the havoc eating out for every single meal takes on gut health. Now, I'm not going to lie - I love eating out at restaurants when we travel. It's a great way to try local cuisines, the food is generally pretty yummy, and it's certainly a nice break from having to cook dinner every night at home. But there's often a reason that restaurant food tastes so much better than the food we make at home - and that's ingredients like butter, oil and salt. If you've ever watched a tv cooking show with professional chefs you'll know that a chef's idea of "a little" oil seems rather excessive compared to what most of us use at home. Plus, of course, there are often ingredients that our stomachs simply aren’t used to when we travel to a new country. And all of the extra treats that we tend to find ourselves eating when we travel!

So, how do I avoid dreaded gut issues when on the road? Keep reading for my top tips!

Opting for lighter cuisines
First up, I try to limit the amount of greasy or heavy food that we eat. Not always easy, especially when it comes to kids' menus which are often limited to chicken nuggets, pizza, mac and cheese, and fish and chips. We don't avoid these types of foods all together, but I try to mix things up and add in lighter meals. My kids are always down for sushi, so when possible we'll go out for Japanese food every few days when on the road. It's generally lighter than other cuisines. Mexican and Thai are other great options with lighter meals filled with veggies. Opting for a salad is also great, but my kids don't eat salad so we don't tend to go to places with a lot of salad options on the menu.
Dining in the supermarket
When we're traveling in the US we'll often visit Whole Foods or similar markets for dinner or lunch. Eating meals in a supermarket might sound odd (especially when there are lots of great restaurants around), but stores like Whole Foods have some fantastic options in the "Prepared Foods" department. The salad bar and hot food bar are both great for veggies. Now, I know I mentioned that my kids don't like eating salad, but they do love eating a lot of salad ingredients - just not in salad form. Kids are weird! So when we eat at Whole Foods they'll take a scoop of corn, a scoop of beans, a scoop of carrots etc. It's a great way to get a lot of veggies into our diet, plus most of the options are pretty tasty. This is also my go to for travel (or at home) when everyone wants to eat something different. Rather than finding a restaurant with a lot of cuisine options we can hit up the Prepared Food department of the nearest Whole Foods and we can all eat something different. Along with the salad and hot food bar there are generally prepackaged options like sushi and wraps, as well as fresh options like pizza and pasta. Most Whole Foods stores have a dining area so we generally eat right there, but sometimes we'll head back to our hotel or find somewhere outside to eat if the weather is nice - which brings me to the next tip...

Picnic lunches
Picnic lunches are a great way to add in lighter meals and a lot of fruits and veggies when traveling - plus it's always a nice change to sit outside and eat. We'll visit a supermarket or a local farmer's market and pick up fresh fruits and veggies, bread, crackers, dips, deli meats and cheese. Cherry tomatoes, mini cucumbers, bell peppers, baby carrots, jicama sticks and avocado are all easy for picnics. This is an especially good option if we're road tripping and have a cooler in the car or if we have a fridge in our hotel room. Left overs make for quick and easy snacks back in our hotel room too.

Accommodation with a kitchen
Booking accommodation with kitchen or kitchenette makes eating healthier meals while traveling much easier. It's not always an option and not something we tend to do if we're just stopping for a night or two, but being able to cook some of our meals makes a huge difference - to our bellies and our budget! When we have accommodation with a kitchen we tend to stick to making simple meals that don't require a lot of preparation. Fresh filled pasta with sauce from a jar is my go to. Cheap, easy, not too heavy, and I know that everyone is going to enjoy it. Premade meals from stores like Trader Joe's are generally pretty good too. Even just having a fridge and microwave in a hotel room can make a difference to what we eat. Having a fridge in the room means we can keep perishables like berries, yoghurt, cheese, dips and veggies on hand for healthy snacks. 

Taking a probiotic supplement
This one is the winner in my book! Looking after our gut health is always important, not just while traveling. Taking a daily probiotic supplement helps to ensure that my gut is ready for whatever travel throws at it - and let's face it, travel can throw some pretty iffy foods our way! Probiotics are live, beneficial microorganisms that help maintain the balance of good bacteria in our digestive tract. When we consume bad bacteria (or do something that kills all the bacteria, such as taking antibiotics) our digestive and immune systems can end up out of whack, so taking a probiotic supplement can help restore the balance. I generally take a probiotic every day at home as it is, but if my gut starts to feel a little off while we're traveling I up the amount from one or two capsules a day to four capsules a day and that really helps. There are a lot of probiotic supplements on the market, but my favorite brand is Bio-Kult. 

So, why do I choose Bio-Kult? Well, first of all, it's a respected brand that has been around for a long time. It was my go to probiotic back home in Australia before we moved to the US eleven years ago, and I was glad to see it here too. It's always nice to find familiar brands when you move countries. In fact, Bio-Kult has been the number one probiotic supplement in the UK for twenty five years! It contains fourteen probiotic strains proven to survive the high acidity of the gut* and it's safe for the whole family to take. It comes in capsule form and can be swallowed whole or opened to mix into food or drinks. Mixing it into a spoon of jam or Nutella is my go to trick for capsules for kids who are too young to swallow pills. Bio-Kult is gluten free, GMO free and is vegetarian friendly. Best of all, unlike some other probiotic brands, Bio-Kult does not need to be refrigerated making it perfect for travel. It comes in blister packs which also more space efficient than a bottle or jar if you're traveling light.

Little Hiccups readers can save 20% on their entire order at bio-kult.com with the promo code MOMSMEET20. This promotion is valid through 12/21/2022. Bio-Kult can also be purchased at amazon.com and walmart.com.

What do you do to look after your gut health while traveling? Do you take a daily probiotic supplement too? I'd love to hear!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

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