Away from home, the buffet breakfast is compelling; it’s easy, stress free but dangerous. After years of practice, I generally leave the dining room having consumed triple the calories eaten at home. This type of indulgence can’t continue if one wants to remain the same weight!
One solution in Hamburg is the quality venues serving food on the go. The main railway station, the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, has a particularly pleasant range of cafes, bars and takeaway kiosks. Smaller stations are also well supplied, cafes and kiosks are plentiful throughout the city, many offering healthy food.
The Benefits of Food On the Go
- Business travel often means eating alone, restaurants can be awkward, kiosks with seating, make us part of the bustle
- Meals can be smaller. Restaurant portion sizes are hard to control, if we over eat, it effects our sense of well-being
- Meals can be quick, tucked into the schedule while getting from A to B.
- Or we can take time, catch up on emails, read a newspaper, and blend into the background
- There are no set meal times, we eat when it suits us
- The variety of cuisine is huge: local specialities, international fare and the ubiquitous junk food
Hamburg is rich in opportunities to eat nutritious food, especially whilst out and about.
Typical Foods on Offer to start the day:
Massive German pastries, around 300kcal each, I tried one, too stodgy to be worth the kcals. Try instead:
- Tubs of yoghurt with berries or muesli topping, 170kcal, a much better choice
- Fresh fruit juices and smoothies
- Chopped fruit and fruit salad 70kcal a cup
On Sunday, many locals head to the fish market (Fischmarkt) for fresh grocery shopping, and breakfast. The fish trading happens at the crack of dawn, but breakfast continues later into the morning and is an amazing experience.
My friend enjoyed the Bismarck roll, which contained pickled herring with horseradish; the fried fish, in bread with mayo and salad, was more popular, but I couldn’t embrace these exotic breakfast options and stuck to a safe, tasty waffle.
At 9am some revellers were still enjoying their Saturday night out, but they weren’t the only ones drinking beer with breakfast and enjoying the music from a live band. More sedate folk, like me, stuck to the cheap yet very decent house coffee.
Lunch Time and Beyond: the Bad and the Much Better
- Sausages, burgers and fries equals processed meat, saturated fat and loads of salt! Needless to say, all generally linked with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers.
- Baked potatoes abound, high in carbohydrates and fibre, much better for you, yet too much sour cream for me, but popular with the locals
- Curry, sushi, noodles – every kind of international fare is available, so choose according to your taste but keep an eye out for the lower fat options.
- Granary rolls filled with ham, cheese and salad; fresh, tasty and quite nutritious
- Tubs of pre-prepared salad, pleasant but uninspiring
- My favourite’s Flammkuchen, wafer thin flat bread traditionally baked with sour cream, red onions and bacon, or try the more modern recipes with smoked salmon and capers or sun blush tomatoes and rocket. The traditional recipe is about only 400 – 500 calories per serving.
Hamburg is an easy city to navigate, and the bonus of dining in casual eateries is the opportunity to mingle with the locals. On the way back to the hotel, I wrapped up the day at the Hauptbahnhof, where Police were breaking their shift with a serving of chicken curry, the office workers were having a beer on their way home, while shoppers enjoyed their kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) – yum! So much variety to tempt you as you go about your business…
© Extravitality 2014