Lucky you! You are in one of my top 5 'still yet to see' countries! I have a few very close friends from Indonesia (And I have been fortunate to travel/live abroad a lot.)
My thoughts are this:
.Follow the 80/20 rule--track and eat as healthy as you would at home 80% of the time, the other 20% ENJOY and experience what Indonesia has to offer you. What if this chance never comes to you again? I'd rather enjoy the hospitality of a home cooked family meal and go for an extra run rather than miss out. Portions are likely to be within reason (everywhere else but America seems to keep it real) but if not take half home with you or share.
I can see why you are a little worried: Indonesian food is a lot of carbohydrates if you load up on rice and noodles (and some cooking oils), but there is a variety of fruits and vegetables. ...And I know someone is going to disagree with me on this: but *do* eat local produce, washed in bottle water. Yes, I have heard all the travel warnings about not eating this or that abroad (esp Africa and Asia) but frankly....I would have starved and been a total jerk in India if I had done that.
Have a wonderful time!
.When I have been abroad, because I walk everywhere, I either maintain or lose weight. In Japan I was obsessed with the food but because it is so portion controlled and healthy I lost weight. In Ecuador I gained...because I couldn't walk anywhere. My understanding of Indonesia, especially if you are in Jakarta, is that walking or being outside for prolonged periods might not be possible so I understand. Russian winters are like this so I followed the 80-20 rule and have workout DVDs.
.Tracking: try as best as you can. When I am vacationing abroad I do not bother but in a living situation I would check or add to the database for those Indonesian foods.
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7/7/13 6:34 A
I agree with others.
If you're only there temporarily - don't miss out on sampling something just because you can't figure out how to track it completely.
That is what travel and adventure is about - working your healthy lifestyle into a way of life that works.
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7/7/13 5:46 A
Chances are, portion sizes in non-Western countries are much more reasonable, unlike in North America and maybe Europe.
"Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us." - Deena Kastor
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22,898 7/7/13 3:37 A
How long are you there? If it isn't very long, I would be inclined to try the local cuisine and not worry about counting calories etc. Just get in plenty of walking. As a thought, you might be able to watch the street vendors and see what they put in their meals, before deciding.
I think that you hit the key to this in your first sentence: "sample the native/national foods", with the important idea being to *sample* them.
It would be a terrible waste to not go out and give lots of things a try while you're there (at least, in my opinion). You are controlling 90% of what you're eating, so why not give yourself 10% of freedom to go and give things a try?
My experience of Indonesian foods is limited, but talking with friends who have lived there for periods of time, it sounds as though there are a lot of veggies, sprouts, spices, and broths. It doesn't seem like much is overly fatty, not very many things breaded, but a fair amount of noodles.
If you go out, could you have a "bite of this" and a "bit of that" and keep the overall volume down to a level that you're satisfied? If you have local friends to go out with, they would likely be happy to explain to you what the basic ingredients are of what you're sampling so that you can make an educated guess to put the nutrition in the tracker. If that's not an option, and you are loaded with self-confidence, you could use the method of a friend of mine who lived in Mali for a while: he'd walk around the restaurant looking at people's plates, decide what looked good, and order by pointing at that plate! Turns out that this was a good method for making local friends - folks in the restaurant who could speak some English recognized his dilemma, started chatting with him, and are now long-standing friends of his.
Good luck, and have fun with it! (Did I mention that I'm envious? What a wonderful adventure!)
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7/6/13 9:20 A
I want to sample the native/national foods of Indonesia when we dine out. How do I determine which foods are the best ones to go with? I don't even know the language yet, but I have learned soup (soto), chicken (ayam), and noodle (mie). Should I just eat chicken noodle soup? And not knowing how it is prepared, how do I know if that is actually a good choice for being healthy? I mean, it could be super high in salt, or loaded with fat. So what should I do? After six months here, we've only been out once to sample the local cuisine, but we would like to get more exposure to the culture and cuisine.
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