Don’t Let the Flu Catch You: TOP Tips to Avoid the Flu

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Flu season is here.  Why wait until it creeps up on you when you can follow some key strategies to help avoid it. Having a strong immune system can help reduce your risk of getting sick.  So plan your strategy and do your best to stay well this season. Getting sick means missing work, having to cancel upcoming social activities and impending travel plans. So make the right food and lifestyle choices and stay healthy. Here are four tried and true tips for beating the nasty flu. To your health!

strawberry-salad

1. Eat foods that boost your immunity. Foods that will help keep the flu away include almonds, mushrooms, fruits high in vitamin C such as strawberries, tomatoes, mangoes, oranges and grapefruits, fermented foods, which contain probiotics, such as yogurt with live cultures, kimchi or miso, green tea, kombucha, and pickles. Include at least a few of these foods in your daily diet. At breakfast, enjoy an orange or a small pink grapefruit along with your cereal or yogurt. At lunch, try an almond butter sandwich with an orange and a cup of green tea. At dinner, a grilled portobello mushroom burger or a bowl of steamy mushroom soup with an avocado and tomato salad are two great ways to wind down your day.

2. Get enough zzz’s! Sleep impacts your immunity, so don’t try to cut your sleep time short. Teens need 9 to 10 hours of sleep daily while adults can manage well with 7 to 8. Just like you would put work and the gym on your daily schedule, don’t forget to pencil in sleep!

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3. Exercise! A good workout will reduce your chances of getting sick. Aim to exercise at least four times per week. If you can’t get to the gym, workout with an app or grab your pedometer (aim for 10,000 steps per day) and go for a walk.

4. Wash your hands. Keep germs at bay by washing your hands frequently throughout the day.

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is an award-winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is passionate about helping people transform their lives with optimal nutrition. She received the 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year from the New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Lisa is an entrepreneur, speaker, private practitioner, and writer. She consults with food startups and restaurants to help put health on the menu. Lisa 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). In her private practice she specializes in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her two degrees in Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and virtually. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here.

Six Tips for Staying Trim During the Holidays

Christmas tree NYC 2015

Thanksgiving just passed and the holiday season is now quickly upon us. With this time of year comes an array of parties and events to attend, and any excuse  to cook, or simply (let’s be honest!) eat lots of tasty holiday treats. Cookies, cakes and pies galore. Oh my!!! During this festive month we are tempted with so many decadent spreads of food. According to a study, by the National Institutes of Health, the average weight person typically gains one to two pounds over the holiday season. And people that are overweight tend to gain five pounds during this time. The real issue is that most people don’t lose the weight gained, thus the pounds obtained over the winter holidays accumulate year by year. But with the right knowledge, you don’t have to join the group of “weight-gainers.” You can enjoy the holidays and maintain your weight and healthy habits. Whether traveling or enjoying the holidays at home, maintenance is KEY. Don’t look to lose weight over the holidays (but if you do, that’s awesome!). Here are six tips to keep you on track:

1. Follow your meal routine. Eat every three to five hours. Avoid skipping meals. Skipping meals so you can indulge later typically backfires. When you skip a meal your blood sugar level may drop. This can lead to intense hunger. You may end up eating more than you usual and your desire to make healthy decisions will go out the window. Tip: eat a healthy snack or meal before you go out so you don’t overindulge at a party. Try to combine some protein with a complex carbohydrate and you may feel full longer. Think a small handful of nuts or a KIND bar and a fresh fruit. Or a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread.

2. Balance your plate. For the party meal, think MyPlate guidelines: ½ of the plate should be non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts or salad, ¼ of the plate can be from protein sources like grilled salmon, sautéed tofu, beans or chicken breast and ¼ starch consisting of pasta, rice or sweet potatoes. Add in a small serving of dessert if you so desire or very small portions of several desserts. Think volume for the vegetables and portion control of the more decadent sides and desserts.

3. Don’t drink your calories. We all love those holiday punches, ciders, cocktails and hot comforting drinks but know what is in your glass before indulging. Always start the party off with water or a glass of seltzer. If you want to get or remain svelte, stick with the two aforementioned beverages! If you must imbibe, one to two glasses of wine or 2 oz. of vodka, gin or rum with seltzer or a splash of juice should be your limit. Just an FYI: Egg Nog is one of the richest holiday drinks, containing 350 calories, 19 grams of fat and 22 grams of sugar per 1 cup (8 ounce) serving! CalorieKing (www.calorieking.com) is a great website (and FREE app) for nutrition information on drinks and food.

4. Fill your kitchen with healthy whole foods so you eat well at home. Purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, hummus, tofu, fish, chicken, lean meat, nuts and nut butters and whole grains, such as quinoa, whole wheat pasta and couscous, cereals and popcorn.

5. Maintain your exercise routine. Exercise helps prevent weight gain and relieves holiday stress. Walking at a brisk pace, just 20 minutes daily, is quite beneficial.

6. Aim to maintain weight, not lose it. Enjoy the holiday season and the time you spend with friends and family. You will get more enjoyment out of laughing with those you are closest to than indulging in unhealthy holiday foods. Don’t let the buffet table become your focus!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the 2015 The 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 plant-based eating and optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs. She is also the author of the e-book The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed book 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 and diabetes for teens and adults. Contact Lisa here or visit here for more info.

Stay Trim and Eat Healthy in China

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To truly immerse yourself in a culture, especially one that is far removed from your ow,n is the true definition of traveling. Whether you travel to the exhilarating Machu Pichu or soak up the rays in Turks & Caicos, there’s one factor in vacation destinations that can’t be ignored: the food. Depending on one’s taste buds and food preferences, that can dictate travel excursions. No matter how much you factor in food, China should definitely be at the top of your list of travel destinations!

You should head to China with a few ideas of where you want to go and how to best enjoy the food. Although making healthy food choices when traveling is probably not on your radar, you don’t want to end up feeling sick  when you are away. You want to feel GREAT so you can enjoy your experience. So let’s review Chinese cuisine!

Chinese soup

Here are some smart tips for healthy eating in China:
1. Limit fried foods.
2. Choose more vegetable dishes.
3. Go easy on refined carbohydrates: rice, noodles, dumplings, and sticky buns
4. Eat with chopsticks. Not only will it slow down intake, but locals will be more likely to give you menu and meal suggestions when they see you immersing in the culture.
5. Try a bit of everything, but don’t eat everything. Having a couple bites can help limit overindulging while getting the exposure to different flavors.
6. Cold beverages are deemed harmful to digestion of hot foods, so hot tea or hot water are served with meals. Tea is believed to help with the digestion of greasy foods.
7. Food is often prepared and served on small plates, “family style.” Be ready for direct pick-up and communal eating.

China-meal

While China can be divided into 57 cuisine regions, below are four of the more popular regions:
Szechuan (Sichuan): known for spicy, hot flavor; uses a great mixture of poultry, pork, beef, fish, vegetables, tofu in combination with pepper and chili; fast frying is most commonly used method
Cantonese: characterized by tender, slightly sweet taste; sauces are often light and mellow, including hoisin, oyster, plum and sweet and sour sauce; often see spring onions, sugar, salt, rice wine, corn starch, vinegar and sesame oil used; garlic can be heavily used; prefer stewing, sautéing or braising food, which helps to preserve the flavor
Hunan: “land of fish and rice”; fresh vegetables cooked “al dente”; favors steaming, stir frying, smoking and sautéing; special seasonings include soy sauce, tea seed oil, Chinese red pepper, fennel and cassia bark and spicy oil
Jiangsu: moderate saltiness and sweetness; places emphasis on the making of soups; abundant in freshwater fish and seafood from the Yangtze River and Yellow Sea

More to know about Chinese meals:
Desserts are less common, with sweet foods introduced during meal. For example, basi fruit and sizzling sugar-syrup coated fruits are eaten with other savory foods.
If dessert is served at the end of the meal, often times it is fresh fruit.
Soup is often served at the end of the meal to satiate appetite.

For any of you that have traveled to China, what other tips can you share? It’s hard to give specific “restaurant recommendations” as a lot of the great food is on the street kiosks and depending on what flavors you’re looking to try! Remember, when traveling, go in with an open mind and have fun! What regional cuisines are “must eats” for you?

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the new e-book The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed book The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy (Nirvana Press 2012). Lisa is a nutrition specialist in travel nutrition, weight management and diabetes for teens and adults. She is in private practice with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Contact Lisa at eatwellrd@yahoo.com or for more info: www.lisastollmanrd.com. This blog was written by my nutrition blogger intern and world traveler Nikki Nies.