TEFL Teachers – how to eat sustainably when teaching abroad

When traveling to teach abroad, many people wonder what to do about food. Should they try the food that they are used to? Or should they focus on the local food native to that region? And if you want to eat healthy and help the planet, how can one eat sustainably in a foreign country? Well, that’s what this article is for.

It is actually pretty easy to practice sustainable eating when traveling abroad. When teaching English abroad, it is a no brainer that you will want to try traditional foods. You might not have the chance to do so again. But can you still eat sustainably when trying the native food. The answer is yes. Here are some tips on how to eat sustainably whilst TEFLing.

Eat in restaurants and cafes owned by locals

Global fast food chains are everywhere. So, if it seems daunting to try local food, there’s always a McDonald’s near. But that is not sustainable eating. The food is not locally sourced, so you are not trying the food the region is known for. Plus, you aren’t helping the local economy at all. The money does not go back into the country. Instead, you are just supporting a conglomerate. To eat sustainably, it is recommended that you try eating in restaurants and cafes that are owned by locals.

Not only is your money going into the local economy, you can also meet locals. Locally-owned restaurants can help you immerse yourself in the culture and try food that is made from the heart, rather than by the wallet. You’ll get to try cuisine that you might not be able to find elsewhere. It is a truly unique experience.

Eat local cuisine

Similarly, to eating from a locally-owned restaurant, try eating local cuisine in general. The food is most likely to be locally sourced, so you know you are getting good ingredients. You can also become part of the region’s culture. If your teaching English abroad, why not learn more about where you will be staying? Immerse yourself in the region’s food culture. Try the different spices and flavors that the place is known for. Make sure you try what the country is famous for, as well. You might have already eaten a quesadilla before, but it can’t hold a candle to a quesadilla from Mexico. Be sure you don’t miss out on any food items just because you’ve tried them in America. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the differences.

Buy locally grown food and shop in food markets

When looking for groceries and produce, try shopping locally. Skip grocery stores and go to a food market instead. The food is all grown and provided by local farmers, so you know you are eating locally. And CO2 emissions are reduced because you are not buying imported goods. You can help the locals and the planet at the same time. Finally, you will be sure to have tasty and in season fruit and vegetables, which is always a plus.

Eat less processed food

Processed foods involve many different steps and ingredients. And all of these ingredients have to come from around the world. As a result, the processed foods create a much larger carbon footprint because of the travelling, manufacturing and distribution. To prevent this, get rid of your imported food and instead eat local food. For example, swap imported cereal for locally grown oats. You can save the planet one mouthful at a time. And you eat healthier at the same time.