Eating Well While Traveling on a Budget

Paris view

The day has finally arrived and tomorrow you leave for the vacation you’ve been planning for months.  Of course you have planned everything, including your budget.  You’ve accounted for plane tickets, hotel accommodation, and excursion costs, but did you allow proper food expenses?  And how are you going to eat healthy while staying on budget?

It can be very easy to underestimate how much you will actually spend on food and beverages while away from home, but there are ways to save a little extra in your bank account while keeping the dreaded vacation weight off.  If you dine out frequently, it is easier to put less nutritious food in your body more often than you would otherwise.  However, it is important to not miss out on trying traditional foods of that region. That is part of the fun of traveling, right?  There are plenty of ways to make sure that you eat healthy and not break your bank while you’re at it.  Plan ahead and consider these tips to eat healthy while traveling on a budget!

paris-produce-stand

In Transit:

  • Pack some snacks! Plan ahead and bring a few nutritious items that are easy to pack such as fruit, almonds, or granola bars.  It might even prevent you from stopping at the local gas station for that pop and bag of chips you’ve been thinking about.  Your wallet and body will thank you.
  • Check out the cooler section. The cooler has nutritious options such as veggie snack packs, yogurt, and fruit cups, which are great grab-and-go choices that won’t cost much or add to your waist line and will keep you full until the next stop.

 

paris-market

On Location:

  • Check if breakfast is included in your accommodation or offered at a low cost. If it is, take advantage.  A bonus is that there are usually foods specific to the region available as well as more classic but healthy options like fruit, yogurt, and cereal.
  • Depending where you are traveling to, you may not have access to a refrigerator. Having access to a refrigerator can be wonderful for your budget.  This allows you to purchase food from a grocery store and actually store extras.  Also, if you dine in a restaurant, you can save half of your meal for the next day.  This will not only stretch your budget a little farther but also controls portion sizes.  Ask your hotel if they can supply you with a room refrigerator.
  • Visit local grocery stores or produce stands. This will allow you to purchase nutritious foods at a lower price, saving you money from restaurant dining. If you have access to a kitchen while traveling, cook some of your meals. If you only have a refrigerator, stock up on sandwich ingredients and prepare some of you lunches. From personal experience, this is my favorite way to save money while traveling. You can eat some healthy meals and avoid continuous restaurant eating, since you can control whats going into your meal, enjoy the local produce,  and use healthy cooking/prep methods.

Although you may be on a budget, it does not mean that you can’t eat healthfully while traveling.  With a little planning, you can limit your food spending while eating delicious and healthy meals. Bon voyage!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012). She is a nationally-recognized Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a specialty in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition and her M.A. in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York and on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Special thanks to the fabulous writing contributions of nutrition intern, Emily Pearson. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here.

Staying Healthy While Traveling with Prediabetes

cropped-20140803-210352-758327041.jpgIf you have prediabetes, hopefully you are familiar with strategies to lower your blood glucose and avoid the progression to diabetes down the road. Making the right food choices and exercising regularly to keep blood glucose levels within normal range are key strategies for staying healthy. These lifestyle choices should be practiced during your daily routine at home, but can also be easily incorporated into your plans while traveling. It can be tempting to savor new foods and indulge on sweet treats when you’re away. However, you should strive to keep up the healthy lifestyle choices you keep at home. If you have questions regarding your diet while traveling, meet with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) prior to your departure to gain more knowledge on foods and physical activity that can keep your blood glucose within normal range. If you check your blood glucose at home and are still working on getting it into a healthy range, bring your glucometer with you so you can stay on track when you travel.

Here are some tips to help you stay healthy during your travels:

  • Avoid sugary drinks. Drinking sweetened beverages is a quick way for blood glucose levels to rise. Avoid sodas, juices, and sugary coffee beverages. Instead, enjoy water, seltzer, or unsweetened tea or coffee.
  • For breakfast, skip the sugary cereals and baked goods. Try some oatmeal or yogurt with fresh fruit, or egg whites on whole grain toast. Bring some packets of plain oatmeal with you and a bag of nuts or energy bars, such as KIND, so you have healthy choices readily available.
  • Make sure you eat balanced meals when going out for lunch or dinner. Fill half of your plate with fruit or vegetables, and include whole grains and lean protein, such as tofu, beans, grilled fish, veggie burgers, or chicken.
  • Eat every three to five hours to keep your blood glucose level steady. Have a meal or snack which includes a carbohydrate rich in fiber, such as fruit or whole grain crackers, paired with a healthy protein,  like nuts or hummus.
  • For dessert, try to order fresh fruit or some plain yogurt and fruit. If you order something very sweet, try to keep your portions smaller.
  • Keep up your exercise. A great and easy way to do this while traveling is to walk to some of your nearby destinations. Aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking per day.
  • Be smart about your snacks. Do not just grab the most convenient snacks; choose them wisely! Between meals, enjoy a fresh fruit, vegetables with hummus, rice cakes, or some mixed nuts. Stock up on some of these snacks before you leave home, so you always have a healthy snack on hand.
  • Do your research. If you are traveling abroad and want to try some of the traditional foods in your locale, do some research online to check ingredients or ask your waiter. If a dish is rich, order it as an appetizer or share with your dining partner. For the most part, try to stick with grilled fish, seafood, chicken or vegetarian proteins, such as tofu and beans. Enjoy salads and vegetables dishes. Have fun on your trip!

Helpful Travel Apps

For U.S. travel:

  1. Eat Well Eat Out-find healthy dining options in your locale complete with nutrition information. Developed with The American Diabetes Association.
  2. Food Tripping-healthy food establishments located wherever you are traveling
  3. FitTravel Guru-plan your trip and workouts with one app

Traveling abroad:

  1. EatWell EU-the Europe healthy food travel guide
  2. EatAway-fully customizable diet translator for most diet restrictions

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012.). She is a nationally-recognized Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a specialty in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition and her M.A. in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York and on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Special thanks to the fabulous writing contributions of nutrition intern, Anita Renwick. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here.

Eating Healthfully At The U.S. Open

US Open 2016


The U.S Open is in play and what a joyous occasion for avid tennis geeks and their families and friends. All the top players are there competing for the big prize. Quite often people come and spend at least four hours at a clip taking in the various tennis matches. And they do get HUNGRY! In the past the U.S. Open was not known for their food offerings. But it’s getting better! This year you’ll find sushi, vegetable curry, and seafood salad at the food court. Of course, there will be lots of places serving big steaks and burgers, but, in all honesty, that’s not the healthiest fare.

Here are some tips for staying on track with healthy eating at the U.S. Open and a list of this year’s eating venues. Enjoy the U.S. Open, eat healthy and feel GREAT!!

 

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Healthy Eating Tips

1. Stay hydrated. It’s VERY hot outside, so although you’ll be sitting and watching, you will feel the heat. The best beverage for hydration is water. So keep a bottle handy and drink up.

2. Healthy dishes include salads, fruit plates, grilled chicken and fish. Veggie burgers and hummus platters are great choices for vegetarians, vegans, and health-conscious eaters..

3. Avoid the fried foods and refined carbohydrates (refined white bread, pasta and sugary drinks) which will only tire you out and have your eyes fighting to stay open during the long matches. Go for healthy complex carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and beans.

4. If you order a sandwich, request whole grain bread. If they don’t have it on hand, and if enough people ask, maybe it will be offered in 2017. Whole grain breads provide more nutrition and lasting energy. They’re also a great source of fiber.

5. If you plan to have an alcoholic beverage, have it with a meal as the food will slow down the absorption of alcohol. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Just keep in mind: alcohol can make you tired and leads to dehydration (which you definitely don’t need when sitting under the hot summer sun). For a healthy alternative, have water, seltzer, a Virgin Mary or unsweetened iced tea.You don’t want to miss a game!

Here’s the list of all the eating venues (the GOOD and the NOT-SO-GOOD) this year at the U.S. Open.

Have a great time!!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the new ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012.). She is a nationally-recognized Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a specialty in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition and her M.A. in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York and on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here.

Eating Tips for Late Summer Travels

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With summer coming to an end and fall just around the corner, you may be planning some last minute trips to the beach or to your favorite summer destinations before the weather starts cooling down. Whether you’re heading out on a road trip, riding the waves, or relaxing in a hotel room, follow these tips as you go through these last few weeks of summer to ensure healthy, safe, and delicious meals.

On the road…

  • Packing foods as opposed to buying food along the way is a great way to ensure you are eating healthfully and are not relying on convenience foods which tend to be highly processed.
  • Pack foods that will last a while without refrigeration. Foods like trail mix, popcorn, cereal, carrots, celery, and fresh fruit are good options.
  • Keep perishable foods like fresh fruit and vegetables in a cooler full of ice or ice packs.

On the beach…

  • Bring your own nutritious snacks like nuts, trail mix, fruits, and vegetables.
  • If you purchase food at the nearby food stalls and restaurants, avoid fatty burgers and fried foods. Look for healthier options like salads, veggie burgers, and sandwiches on whole grain bread.
  • Make sure you drink enough water to avoid dehydration.
  • If you are cooking on a grill at the beach, make sure you thaw meats properly and separate utensils and dishes between raw and cooked meat. Bring a food thermometer to make sure foods reach appropriate internal temperatures before serving.

 

Mendocino food pic

At the restaurant…

  • Choose menu items that are steamed, baked, or grilled. Avoid foods that are fried or are drowning in a sauce. If your meal comes with sauce or dressing, ask for it on the side so you can control how much you consume.
  • Eat only as much as you would at home. Restaurant portions tend to be a lot bigger than what they should be for one person. if you have a fridge in your hotel room, you can box the leftovers and eat them another time. Instead of ordering a regular entree, you can order an appetizer and a side salad instead.
  • Choose options that include a variety of food groups: whole grains, lean protein, vegetables and healthy fats for a balanced meal.

 

Petaluma food pic

At the hotel…

  • Depending on how long your stay is, choose a hotel room with the proper amenities. A small kitchen may be useful if your stay spans a few days. You can buy foods at the local market and cook/prepare them to save money and ensure that you are eating healthfully.
  • Keep healthy snacks in the room, such as whole grain cereal, nuts, granola bars, trail mix, and fruit to keep you from raiding the pricey (and usually unhealthy) snacks in the hotel room mini bar.
  • Make substitutions while ordering room service meals. Ask for whole grain options for breads, and substitute unhealthy sides like fries with salad, fresh fruit or steamed vegetables.

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the The 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year by The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a speaker, blogger, entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about spreading the message of healthy eating for optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs to get healthy meals on the table. She is the author of the “The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad,” (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed “The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy,” (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice, with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lisa specializes in weight managment, travel nutrition and diabetes for teens and adults. For more info, contact Lisa via email or visit here. Special thanks to Social Media Intern Anita Renwick for writing this blog.

How to Eat Well at a Music Festival

concert pic1

It’s festival season: you’ve got your summer dress and picnic blanket ready to go for days and nights filled with music, new friends, and lots of fun. Many people spend these hot summer days drinking lots of alcohol and indulging themselves on festival food, which can often be heavy and unhealthy. However, with a little planning, your festival days do not have to be your ‘cheat’ days; you can enjoy yourself without feeling guilty about the choices you made while you were having fun! These tips relate to any festivals or outdoor events you plan on attending this summer!

Before the Festival:

Pack some snacks! Whether you are only going for a day, or are camping for the full weekend, bring snacks to keep you fueled throughout the long, hot festival days. Make sure to grab dried fruit and nuts in bulk. These snacks will last for days and are great for energy. By mixing these, you can make your own trail mix. You can also pack granola bars and whole grain crackers. If you are camping, bring a cooler to fill with water, pressed juices, fruit, and vegetables. You may want to bring your own grill and some breakfast and dinner items to cook, but check the festival’s website first to see what each festival allows you to bring.

On the Way:

Get most of your nutrients during the day: fill up on a large nutritious breakfast. Throughout the festival day, your energy will be utilized (for dancing!) and your body will thank you for fueling up in the morning. Make sure to eat a big breakfast each morning for the duration of the festival. For convenience, you can make pre-prepared breakfasts like overnights oats or smoothies.

At the Festival:

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! This is so crucial, since lots of festivals take place in open fields and deserts, and dehydration is so common. Pack a large water bottle with you, bring more bottles along with you, and refill often! Music festivals often provide water-filling stations throughout the area. If you’re consuming alcohol, you will be increasing your risk for dehydration, so be sure to balance out alcohol drinks with water in between to prevent dehydration. Diluting an alcoholic beverage with water or seltzer is also a smart way to lower your alcohol intake.

As for food, enjoy the snacks you brought, and also scope out the festival food booths and trucks. Festivals are now offering more healthy options, so avoid the temptation-stands with fried foods, fries, and tacos and opt for the salads, falafel and hummus, veggie options, and smoothie stops instead. Choose grilled food over fried food when possible, and stay away from highly processed foods. If the healthy options are sparse at the festival, remember that it is okay to treat yourself in moderation.

These days will be packed with fun, so you will definitely need the energy from eating a healthfully balanced diet to get you through each day. In addition, eating well at festivals will reinforce the healthy habits you furrow at home ! Let loose, enjoy the food, good times, and sunshine!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the The 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year by The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a speaker, blogger, entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about spreading the message of healthy eating for optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs to get healthy meals on the table. She is the author of the “The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad,” (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed “The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy,” (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice, with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lisa specializes in weight managment, travel nutrition and diabetes for teens and adults. For more info, contact Lisa via email or visit here. Special thanks to Social Media Intern Anita Renwick for writing this blog.

Traveling with Food Allergies

 

travel_agentsHaving a food allergy can definitely add some stress to traveling, but should never dissuade you from getting out there and exploring the world. With some careful planning, you should be able to travel and eat confidently, being able to enjoy the new places you discover without worries. As always, being prepared is key!

Before The Trip

  • When booking your flight, check to see what snacks the airline serves during flights, if any. If exposure to peanuts/tree nuts affects you, some airlines will serve a non-peanut/tree nut snack on flights upon request, so let your booking agent know about your allergy ahead of time.
  • Pack your own safe food for eating on the flight. Make sure you check airline policies for what you can and cannot take on the plane.
  • Download the app AllergyEats. This app can make it easier to find allergy-friendly restaurants across the U.S.
  • A excellent website for more in-depth info on specificfood allergies is Food Allergy Network .

At the Airport and On the Plane

  • Reconnect with the airline staff and make sure that they are aware of your food allergy. That way, they can make any last-minute changes to make sure you have a great and safe flight.
  • Inspect your seating area and tray table for any crumbs or spills and wipe them down with wet wipes to avoid any cross-contamination that might happen if you set down any food on those surfaces.
  • Double check that meals and snacks you are offered are safe for you to eat. This is especially important when you’re miles up in the air, away from medical facilities.
  • Store your allergy medications with you, and not in the overhead bin for the easiest access. Remember to keep the labels and even the prescriptions from your doctor on hand to display when you go through security, to be able take your medications on board with you.
  • Let the airline staff and people you are traveling with know what to do in case you experience an allergic reaction. Let them know where you keep your medications so they can access them quickly in needed.

On Vacation

  • Ask your doctor to write prescriptions for you to take on your journey, so you can display them at pharmacies and get what you need. Know the brand names of your medications in the location you will be visiting so access to medications will be easier.
  • For meals at restaurants, carry some chef’s cards with you (business cards with your allergies listed) in both English and the language of the location you are visiting, to give to staff upon ordering.
  • Befriend a translator or plan ahead and learn how to say what you are allergic to in the language of the location you are traveling to. Ask hotel staff and locals what common dishes typically include what you are allergic to, to know what foods to avoid.
  • Bring non-perishable food that is safe for you to eat with you when alternative foods that are safe for you to eat are not easily available.

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the The 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year by The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a speaker, blogger, entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about spreading the message of healthy eating for optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs to get healthy meals on the table. She is the author of the “The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad,” (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed “The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy,” (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice, with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lisa specializes in weight managment, travel nutrition and diabetes for teens and adults. For more info, contact Lisa via email or visit here. Special thanks to Social Media Intern Anita Renwick for writing this blog.

Vacation Tips: Encouraging Your Kids To Eat Healthfully

old orchard beach, maine

While it may be hard enough to get ourselves to maintain a healthy diet while on vacation, ensuring that our children stick to one can be quite the challenge. It is common for children to consume lots of processed snacks and restaurant comfort foods while on vacation. However, with some planning and creativity, a vacation can easily turn into a learning experience for kids to try new foods and gain an understanding of what healthy options they can choose from when they are away from home.

Follow these tips to promote a healthy family vacation:

  • Plan ahead. Look up restaurants online ahead of time and plan where you are going to eat. Going to restaurants that you know offer healthy options is more beneficial than driving around looking for places to eat.
  • Limit soda intake. Order water for everyone at the table. To make it more interesting, you can ask for lemon and lime slices on the side for kids to add to their glasses to make their own infused water. By allowing them to create their own drinks, they may be more encouraged to drink more water.
  • Pack your own travel snacks. Provide options for your children so they do not feel restricted with only one kind of snack. Giving them the power to choose between healthy snacks will give them more of a sense of satisfaction with the snacks you have provided.
  • If you have to stop somewhere to buy snacks, pick a few healthier options like nuts, fresh fruit, popcorn, and whole grain pretzels for them to choose from. That way, they won’t head straight for the potato chips, but will still be happy to have the opportunity to choose which snacks they would prefer.
  • Create some ground rules. Maybe a rule you set is that your children have one treat per day. Making the treat something specific to the locale you are in (like clam chowder bread bowls in San Francisco) makes the treat particularly special and not something they will be able to desire daily. Perhaps the rule could be ‘one sweet drink per day’. Instead of water, your children may be able to order a small serving of chocolate milk or juice during one meal. Setting up rules ahead of time lets your children know what to expect so they are not surprised if you put limits on what they are allowed to order.
  • Focus on new foods. Check out the lacl cuisine before you get to your destination. Children are more open to trying new foods while they are visiting new locations. Introducing them to new healthy foods (like kale or salmon) while on vacation can instill a lasting preference for those foods later on.

Family vacations are about enjoying time spent with loved ones and having fun. Though it won’t hurt to have a treat once in a while, setting good guidelines and examples for your children can instill good habits, whether they are on the beach or at home.

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the The 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year by The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a speaker, blogger, entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about spreading the message of healthy eating for optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs to get healthy meals on the table. She is the author of the “The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad,” (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed “The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy,” (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice, with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lisa specializes in weight managment, travel nutrition and diabetes for teens and adults. For more info, contact Lisa via email or visit here. Special thanks to Social Media Intern Anita Renwick for writing this blog.