Airport Nutrition 101: How To Make The Best Choices

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You may feel that once you hit the entrance of the airport for vacation, you’ve got a pass to indulge in all food that comes your way. However, we all know you’ve worked so hard to maintain a healthy weight, you don’t have to throw it out the window for a cinnamon bun, ribs and draft beer in one sitting. With simple strategic tips, you can kick off your vacation, yes, still at the airport, without overloading on calories, excess sugar and fat. In addition, since traveling can cause an increased risk of dehydration, constipation, circulatory problems and added stress, it’s more imperative than ever to be more mindful of how to select healthier options.

While each airport prides itself on their unique layout, many airports share the same staples of restaurants and food options, which is great for us, as a lot of the following tips can be used for domestic and international airports. Instead of just providing broad suggestions, we’ve taken a closer look into some fliers favorite go to kiosks, providing suggestions on how to opt for the less guilt free version of foods.

Tips for healthier airport beverage options:

• At Starbucks, skip a 16 oz. Caramel Frappuccino Blended Beverage with caramel sauce, milk, ice and whipped cream and opt for Caramel Frappuccino Light Blended Beverage with ice and milk, this will slash more than half the calories

Caramel Frappuccino Blended Beverage

Caramel Frappuccino Light Blended Beverage

Calories

410

140

Carbohydrates

37 g

29 g

Fat

3g

0g

Fiber

0g

0g

Protein

6g

3g

Sodium

100 mg

0 mg

Or, better yet, just drink it black (5 calories!).

Smart Tips For Healthy Airport Eating

1. When choosing salads, ask for the dressing on the side, or better yet, stick with olive oil and vinegar.

2. Choose fiber rich fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants. Many airport kiosks offer bananas, oranges and/or apples to go. Fresh fruit is a great airplane snack.

3. Prior to heading to airport, research airport’s website for the best place to grab a healthy meal. If you’re short on time for searching, Starbuck’s usually has healthy options.

4. Bring healthy, portable snacks with you to enjoy on your flight (i.e. apples, peanut butter sandwiches, carrots, nuts, dried fruit, etc). This is truly the best option if you have the time to pack up some food.

5. Before picking the first restaurant you see at the airport, take a lap around the terminal and check out what’s offered. Who knows, you may find a new favorite.

6. Stay hydrated by purchasing bottled water or unsweetened iced tea.

7. Avoid rich, greasy, fried foods as it can trigger acid reflux (also known as GERD) or an upset stomach on flight.

8. Aim for lower salt foods to avoid feeling bloated during your flight. Good choices to bring along include fresh fruit, cut up raw vegetables and unsalted nuts.

If you’re looking for a bit more direction in what to eat, look no further than your smartphone! With the Calorie King app, created and maintained by registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), it identifies menu options and their nutrition facts from over 200 chain restaurants, so you can make the best choices, whether traveling or at home. By using the above tips, your next flight and vacation should go smoothly, with a bit of healthy flavor, too!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is the author of The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad. For more info on Lisa, please visit here.  Special thanks to Nikki Nies for helping with the writing of this post.

Three Reasons To Visit Lake Como

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Lake Como in northern Italy is truly one of the most breathtaking spots on the planet. Just picture a large lake surrounded on one side by spectacular mountains coupled with winding roads and exhilarating hairpin turns lined with homes painted in various hues of terra cotta. Complete this vision with a beautiful green lushness of trees and flowers. Exquisite sums it up. Lake Como is a great place to slow down, unwind and just take in the beauty. In addition to the postcard views, there are three other great reasons to visit this town. These include 1. fabulous food (this is Italy–there is always delicious food!), 2. shopping (Lake Como is famous for its’ silk–they even have an excellent silk museum that is definitely worth the visit) and 3. a terrific place to unwind and relax. It has a slow pace which is ideal when you need to lower the stress level from daily living back home.

Things to do

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1.Take the boat taxi that will take you around the lake to each town. You can get a day-pass and get on and off at your leisure. A great way to see Lake Como. Make sure to visit the magnificent town of Bellagio. Great shops, restaurants and fabulous lake views.

2. Visit the Silk Museum. Lake Como is the silk capital of Italy. The museum captures the history of silk making through the ages. From the cocoon through the finished product, you will walk away with an understanding of the background of silk. Fascinating.

3. Town of Como–quaint shops and outdoor cafes combine to be a great place to stroll and spend a nice afternoon. Many stores offer gorgeous silk ties and scarves.

Great Places to Eat

Restaurants

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Acquadolce–Located on Lake Como in the town of Cernobbio. The restaurant is situated cliffside with dramatic views of the lake. And the food is wonderful. Delicious choices include chickpea soup with squid and pasta with baby artichokes. Wonderful grilled vegetables.
Ristorante Rico–What a wonderful gem hidden in the village of Como. Go for the delicious truffles, pasta and fresh seafood. They also serve an array of wonderful vegetable side dishes (also know as contorni).

Staying Healthy and Fit While You Travel

It’s great to come back from vacation and not gain weight. So how can you do this? There are two simple tips to implement:1. Fill up on vegetables. Order a grilled vegetable plate at lunch. Or enjoy a salad with legumes or seafood. A grilled vegetable sandwich is also served regularly on the menu in northern Italy. The vegetables here are amazing, so take advantage. At dinner, again focus on vegetables. Have them as a main course or as a side dish. Do enjoy the pasta and pizza. They are great. But don’t have them everyday.  2. Walk. It’s amazing how much you can walk when you are sightseeing. All the steps you take while traveling will help you come home feeling great. On my recent trip to Lake Como, we walked over 14,000 steps each day, without even realizing it. Use the outdoors as your gym!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is based on Huntington, Long Island and New York City. Her expertise is in weight management and travel nutrition. She was recently honored as the 2015 Distinguished Dietitian of the Year Award by The New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. To find out more about Lisa, visit here.