As the customer service team lead for IQS, I speak to plenty of people every day about the challenge of staying sugar-free while travelling.
Trust us, we understand how tough it can be. But last year I had the opportunity to put my own advice to the test with the trip of a lifetime to Canada!
If you’re visiting the land of maple syrup sometime soon, here are my top tips on how to keep your trip sugar-free…
Keep it plane and simple.
Plane food is notoriously high in sugar, salt and unhealthy oils. I like to pack my own food when I travel and give the in-flight meal the flick. But if you’re on a long haul flight and want to enjoy a hot meal, simply suss out the special meal options before you go. Some airlines offer a bland meal alternative which is a very basic meal that’ll boost your serves of veggies for the day and keep sugar-filled sauces and dressings off your plate! The downside is that there will also be a festival of plastic on your tray and some sugary treats that you’ll need to offload to your neighbours.
Find a farmers market!
There are great markets right across Canada but Jean-Talon in Montreal was my absolute fave! Soak up the vibe, sample the local produce and stock up on snacks and goodies to enjoy on the road. Plus, if you’re staying in hostels or Airbnb’s, you can then cook up your delicious market finds too!
Search for berried treasures.
Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries… Canada is literally your low-fructose fruit heaven. Canada is the second largest producer and exporter of blueberries – and for good reason – they’re cheap and delicious! For a quick brekkie before a hike, I often tossed a handful of wild blueberries with some oats and yoghurt. Yum!
We’re going on a beer hunt…
Beer and wine are low in fructose, so it’s easy to enjoy Canada’s nightlife! It’s no secret we love a red wine with dinner, so make sure to try the unique cool-climate wines. My favourite was the Larch Hills Winery in British Columbia. Enjoy a glass of their full-bodied and earthy Marechal Foch while admiring the view. If beer is more your thing, sample some local bevvies at a microbrewery!
At IQS we’re all about sustainable seafood – and Canada has an abundance of options. My fave was the wild-caught sockeye salmon that’s high in omega 3 (and low in omega 6). Enjoy its rich and fresh flavour in a poke bowl! And – if it’s the right time of year – make sure you check out the annual salmon migration (AKA “salmon run”)!
99 problems, but this ain’t one!
At IQS, it’s no secret we LOVE our dark chocolate and it seems, Canada does too! In fact, 99% varieties are widely available at most supermarkets so don’t be afraid to enjoy an intense chocolatey treat. Serve with a few berries for a tasty snack and make sure your stock up before you head home.
Don’t sugar-pack your hikes.
Canada has some of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever seen, but some of the more popular energy bars I saw on the trails contained around 19g of sugar (that’s 4.5 teaspoons!). While they may give you a short burst of energy, they’ll also spike your blood sugar and send you crashing back down. Instead, finish your hike on a high by packing plenty of energy-dense snacks like boiled eggs, fresh veggies, nuts or gummies in your bag to keep you fuelled.
So, what’s the deal with maple syrup?
You knew this was coming… and yes, the Canadians LOVE the stuff! It’s literally hidden everywhere – in salad dressings, marinades and even drizzled over fruit. I know I feel best when I keep my fructose intake low, so I decided to avoid maple syrup when I could. But if you just have to try some, make it a special treat and savour EVERY mouthful.
How do you stay sugar-free when travelling? Share your tips with us in the comments below!