Greece Travel Food Guide for Athletes
This is a guide for athletes traveling to Greece, what to expect and how to be prepared.
For athletes traveling around the world, there are challenges not only finding food that you like, but finding healthy food that can meet your requirements as an athlete. For someone traveling to a new country and culture, this may seem overwhelming. Sometimes it is just knowing where to look. This article is to help guide someone who is planning to travel to Greece in their chosen sport.
General Greek Food Guide
There is a broad range of eating places from fancy restaurants to street side stalls, with everything in between.
Self catering is relatively easy to do in Greece. There are lots of mini-marts and supermarkets which are cheaper, and stock a large range of foods. It is usually cheaper to self-cater, and for planning purposes it can be better for you as you will know what you are getting. For athletes with food allergies or intolerances this is always the best option. Most accommodation will not have facilities to enable you to cook your own meals.
Greek Food Guide For Athletes
Initially different foods may not be appealing to you. Don’t be afraid as a lot of foods you should recognise. The following are some characteristics of Greek food and cooking:
- Nothing is very spicy and seasonings used are the very common
- There are lots of meat-based dishes available in the form of stews, casseroles and meatballs
- Often the meals are very low carbohydrate options
- Look out for pastas, rice, potato and breads
- Legumes meals are common
The Greek people love their bread, and you will find many bakeries around with a wide range of baked good available at a cheap price.
Dairy products are common in Greece.
- Yogurt – yogurt is available in supermarkets, but is usually only in full-fat varieties. Flavours are fairly unique, tropical fruit, orange and ? plus the standard strawberry.
- Cheese – cheese is also not a common item in Greek cuisine, although you can buy it in the shops. It tends to be the processed cheese varieties that are available, and again not many low-fat options.
Greece has a varied climate. In summer it can be very hot, meaning hydration will be a challenge for anyone traveling there (even if you're not competing). Hydration for most athletes will become a real focus and is very important to maintain good hydration practices. Even when simply standing around and walking at a low pace, sweat rate will be high. Many venues are air-conditioned, but not to a chilling degree, but planning to stay indoors with air-con will help to keep you cool and reduce possible sweat rate. See more information on hydration
Many staff at establishments including the big hotels will speak English, but some places won't. Menus may not always be easy to decipher either, so you may need to ask wait staff for descriptions of what is in dishes.
Don't be afraid to ask the waiter or host for information
"Tea eeneh aftoe?“ means, “What is this?”
The waiter generally will not come up to your table, if you want something else it is your job to get his attention.
Here are words for some basic items that might come in handy:
- Neró = water
- Chymós = juice
- Psomí = bread
- Kotópoulo = chicken
- Giaoúrti = yogurt
Be careful not to confuse pasta with PATSA! Patsa is tripe or cooked intestines. If you see it on a menu it is not a typo!
Things you may need to bring from home?
Gels, supplements, a drink bottle, medications
- Sports Nutrition for the Traveling Athlete
- Travel Nutrition Guidelines for Athletes
- List of tips for travel – mostly for on the plane
- Olympic Games Nutrition in Athens 2004
- Food Safety — When traveling, foods and water can be a source of contamination and have the potential to make you sick.
- Guide to watching what you eat while traveling.
- If you are traveling to a hot climate, hydration also becomes a very important issue.
- Fitness and Traveling
- Tips For Healthy Restaurant Eating — while traveling you may need to eat at restaurants.
- For information about foods available around the world, read Clare Wood's travel food blog.
- About Sport in Greece