Eco-TEFLers abroad: How to eat sustainably in a foreign country

Sustainable eating is all about choosing foods that are good to our planet and our bodies. You’ll be happy to learn, you don’t have to do anything extremely life-changing to eat sustainably.

Traditional foods are a huge part of a country’s culture. Here in the UK, visitors can’t wait to try our fish and chips: in Vietnam, everyone swarms to pho; and in Japan, you won’t find anyone who hasn’t tried sushi or ramen. We know that anywhere you choose to teach English abroad you’ll want to try the local cuisine and eating sustainably won’t stop you from doing just that, if anything it will encourage it!

So, to help you eat sustainably whilst TEFLing, we’ve put together the below 5 tips:

Eat local cuisine

This is a great way to eat sustainably as everything is more likely to be locally sourced, plus you’ll also immerse yourself in their culture and experience some amazing food! We’re thinking, paella in Spain, pad thai in Thailand and quesadillas in Mexico – sign us up!

Man holding Japanese food

Eat in restaurants and cafes owned by locals

Eating in local restaurants and cafes means your money is going back into the local economy. We’ve also found it’s a great way to meet locals and try cuisine you might not find elsewhere. Pro-tip – avoid global fast food chains, not only is the food not locally sourced, but your money isn’t going back into that country either.

Eat street food

Street food can sometimes seem daunting in some countries, but believe us when we say, street food is incredible! Also, street food vendors are often locals cooking up their own homemade dishes – it doesn’t get much more authentic than that.

Khmer woman selling street food - Cambodia

Eat less processed food

Processed foods go through many steps, with lots of ingredients coming from all over the world. Which means processed foods have a high carbon footprint due to the travelling, manufacturing and distribution. Try swapping your nutrition bar for a handful of nuts and imported cereal for locally grown oats. This way you’re eating healthier and saving the planet all in one – yay!

Buy locally grown food and shop in food markets

Try shopping locally as food markets will provide food that is grown by local farmers. This way you are cutting down on CO2 emissions from imported goods and, you’ll get tasty, in season, fresh fruit and veg – sounds like a winner to us.

Fresh fruit and vegetables

Now you know how to eat sustainably whilst TEFLing, all that left is for you to hop on that plane and get started!

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