Grocery Shopping Abroad

Blame air travel or too much kanelsnegl, but my husband and I have both come down with colds on this trip. As per usual, it took me a few days to realize I was sick and remember how to take care of myself. But when we arrived in Germany, I sprung into action.

In general, I love grocery shopping abroad. I love to see the range of products that we don’t have in the U.S. and the different techniques other countries use while shopping. For example, while in Amsterdam last summer, I was surprised to see eggs kept out on shelves rather than refrigerated.


And delighted to find a do-it-yourself orange juicing machine.


Many countries also ask you to weigh and label your fresh produce, which I find practical and a good way for me to expand my fruit and vegetable vocabulary in another language.


When I am sick in another country, grocery shopping is essential. Here are 5 of my go-to items that I buy when I’m not feeling well while traveling:

1. Grapefruit. Or really any fruit that I can find high in Vitamin C. Other great candidates that are even easier to eat (no utensils required) include kiwis and strawberries.

2. High protein snack. When I’m sick, I try to avoid sugar, dairy, and wheat because I find it increases congestion. This nixes the possibility of quickly fixing a cheese sandwich. A nice alternative (if you can find it) is hummus and bell pepper. Bonus: The hummus often contains garlic, which will help fend off the cold, and the bell pepper is high in Vitamin C.

3. Vegetables. If I’m staying in an apartment, I’ll pick up some bok choi to sautée or some cauliflower or broccoli to steam. If I’m staying in a hotel, this becomes rather tricky. In Germany, I was grateful to find an abundance of green smoothies at the grocery store, which offered a perfect shot of nutrition that I could consume even during my brief hotel stay. My favorites were made with spinach, kale, fruit juices (apple, peach, pear, mango, lemon) and often ginger.

4. Soup. Again, when staying in an apartment, canned soup (or, jarred soup in Amsterdam) has been a savior. I try to pick options with both vegetables and beans to make a full meal out of it.

5. Herbal tea. Drinking lots of fluids when sick is key, and buying tea serves as a good reminder. I also find it comforting, and it helps clear out my sinuses. Yogi Tea’s Breathe Deep (made with eucalyptus, licorice, basil, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper…) is a favorite. I’ve taken to packing a few bags in my suitcase, just in case.

What about you? What groceries do you pick up while abroad?


5 replies »

  1. Like you mention, I reveled in the idea of unrefrigerated eggs (and even did some research about them!) and enjoyed their creamier, cohesive, and oftentimes orangey yolks. UK yogurt is scrumptious and I grew very fond of their baked beans; whose American counterparts are loaded with tons more sugar and weird stuff. And finally, THE CANDY!

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