Healthy Travel Tips For Before You Go Abroad


Getting ready to travel abroad for even a few days can be truly exasperating. From making sure your passport is ready to-go, to making sure your hotel  (and for some, school courses) is confirmed and any required vaccinations are up-to-date. There are SO many loose ends to pull together, it can make your head spin. But don’t fret. Make a list of what you need to have done, so by the time you get comfortable in your plane seat, all of your to-dos will be checked off. Keeping a list and checking it off as you finish a task will help you reduce any stress. If you want to keep a list online in one convenient place, try the Finish app (available for free) in the Apple store. You can list your “to-dos,” set deadlines, and check them off as they get completed.

Order Your In-Flight Meal
If you aren’t usually fond of the typical airplane fare, or have special dietary requests, you can order a special meal usually up to 48 hours before you depart. Many airlines will let you order your special meal request online. There’s a vast variety of meal selections to choose from. If you have any allergy or intolerance such as celiac disease, you can be assured that you can find dairy-free or gluten-free  in addition to a host of other diet modifications.  To find the list of available meal selections, visit your airlines website and do a search for special meal requests.

Familiarize Yourself in the Local Food Culture
Familiarize yourself with the local cuisine where you will be traveling. Learn the  names of popular dishes and what is in them. Becoming familiar with the food will help you when dining in restaurants. You can check the Internet for the cultural foods at your destination country. Then you’ll be aware of the foods offered on local menus, whether you’re grabbing a meal at the hotel cafe or fancy restaurant. It’s also wise to plan ahead and check out the menus online of any restaurant you plan to visit. This way you’ll know if you should make a reservation or find another spot. Especially if you have food allergies or intolerances, you need to be informed in advance of the local cuisine and the potential allergens or ingredients it may contain.

Pack Some Food
Quite often when we are overwhelmed with just the thought of travel, we somehow forget about the food. You don’t want to get to the airport and take for granted that you will get a delicious meal served to you inflight and will find all the foods you love at home, when you get to your destination. So what should you do? Plan ahead! Staying well-fueled with good food will keep you feeling healthy and energized. Buy some healthy foods that are portable to bring along with you on the plane. Healthy granola bars, such as KIND or Kashi, are great for a snack or have two for breakfast! Bags of nuts and dried fruit are also good choices. Trader Joe’s sells large bags of individually-wrapped trail mix that’s great for traveling abroad. You can also pack a couple sandwiches for the flight. Peanut butter and banana on whole grain bread is a healthy sandwich to bring along. Also hummus, avocado and tomato on whole grain bread is delicious and quite portable.
Food To Bring
1 to 2 sandwiches for the plane
Fresh or dried fruit
Energy bars
Trail Mix
Individual bags of nuts

Bon Voyage!

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. 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 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. For more info, contact Lisa via email or visit here.

How To Eat Well In An Indian Restaurant

Indian meal VeraswamyWalk into an Asian Indian restaurant and the rich aroma will warmly welcome you in. The mingling of exotic spices such as curry, cardamom, clove and turmeric propels Indian food into a unique and distinctive flavor unlike any other. The rich bouquet of this cuisine permeates the delicious dishes resulting in a wonderful culinary experience you won’t forget. If you’ve had the pleasure to enjoy Indian food, you know what I mean. If you have not had the pleasure, you are truly missing out on a real treat. Don’t be afraid to try this cuisine because you don’t fare well with spicy food. Simply ask for your food to be prepared “not spicy.” Unlike many ethnic cusines, Indian food can be ordered to the degree of spiciness you prefer. So definitely put this cuisine on your bucket list and GO!

Below you will find an overview of a standard Indian menu along with how this cuisine can fit into a variety of diets.

Overview of an Indian Restaurant Menu

Onion bhajia:  A mixture of gramflour, onions, fresh coriander and cumin deep fried.

Aloo channa poori: Spicy chickpeas & potato served with tamarind chutney & a poori.

Samosa: Vegetable or spiced minced lamb deep fried pastry parcels

Prawn Poori: King prawns in a light sauce served wth a poori

Haryali tikka: Chicken marinated in green herbs and hot spices cooked in the tandoor.

Sheekh kebab: Lean minced lamb spiced with green chillies and onions grilled in the tandoor.

Chicken Saslick: /Chicken breast pieces cooked with peppers & onions in the tandoor

Mains Dishes

Murgh Tikka Masala:  Chargrilled chicken marinated in fresh ginger & garlic then simmered in a sauce of tomatoes, butter and cream

Murgh Jalfrezi: Chicken breast pieces stir fried in special hot spices, with onions, tomatoes, green & red peppers

Murgh Korma: Chicken in a mild cream, coconut & cashew sauce

Murgh Chilli Masala: Chicken in a tomato sauce with ginger, garlic & shredded fresh green chillies

Nilgiri Murgh: Tender Chicken pieces cooked in fresh coriander, mint, garlic & ginger sauce

Saagwala Gosht: Lamb cooked with garlic, ginger, onions & spinach

Garlic Chilli Prawns: King Prawns in a chilli & garlic sauce with spring onions

Goan Fish Curry: Tilapia fish curry cooked in a hot spicy coconut cream sauce

Karai Paneer: Juicy chunks of paneer in a tomato, onion & green chilli sauce with green herbs

Tarka Daal: Lentils tempered with onions & spices

Daal Makhani: Black lentils simmered slowly with kidney beans & cream

Biryanis: An elaborate dish of rice with spiced lamb, chicken or vegetables with nuts & sultanas, sprinkled with saffron. Served with yogurt or vegetable sauce. May be made with either chicken, lamb or vegetable.

Channa Masala: Chickpeas with ginger, garlic & spices

Saag Paneer: Paneer (similar to large curd cottage cheese) with finely shredded spinach

Aloo Ki Subz: Potatoes in an onion & tomato sauce with cumin

Brinjal Aloo: Eggplant and potatoes with cumin & fennel seeds

Rice & Breads
Naan: Traditional leavened bread baked with refined flour, eggs and milk.

Garlic naan:  Traditional leavened bread baked with refined flour, eggs, garlic and milk.

Peshauri Naan: Stuffed with ground almonds, cashews & coconut

Tandoori Roti: Light unleavened bread

Paratha: Layered flat bread made with whole wheat flour and butter.

Pilau Rice: Basmati rice seasoned with cloved, cinnamon, mace & cardamoms

Saffron Rice: Basmati rice flavored with saffron

Meal Suggestions For Your Special Diet

  1. Diabetes-Friendly Dishes: Limit your intake of rice to one cup or less. One cup of rice is 45 grams (or 3 exchanges) of carbohydrate. Try the daal, which is made from lentils and is high in fiber. The vegetable, fish and chicken dishes are all great choices. If you order bread, limit to one or two small servings.
  2. Heart-Healthy Dishes: Choose any of the vegetable, chicken or fish dishes. Ask for your entree to be made without cream or ghee.
  3. Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly Dishes: Choose any of the vegetable dishes if you are vegetarian. For those who are vegan, request that your vegetable dish be made with out ghee, cream or cheese (paneer). Chana masala and daal are terrific dishes for plant-based eaters. It’s so easy in an Indian restaurant!
  4. Gluten-Free: Most dishes are gluten-free. Avoid the naan, paratha, roti and other breads and desserts made with wheat flour.

Five Tips for Eating Well in an Indian Restaurant

  1. Limit the rice to one cup or less at your meal.

2. Ask that your food be cooked without ghee (clarified butter) to reduce calories and saturated    fat.

3. Enjoy a variety of vegetable dishes for healthy fiber and enhanced satiety.

4. Have a soothing cup of tea for dessert. If you desire something sweet, share it with your companions.

5. As long as you go easy on the rice and bread, Indian cuisine is quite healthy. Enjoy!

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 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). Lisa is a nutrition specialist in weight management, travel nutrition 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 or visit here.


Traveling Abroad Gluten-Free


Traveling abroad with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity may pose a challenge at first. But once you do your homework you may find it quite manageable. The key is to do your research so you are not left starving or unsure if what you are eating is in fact gluten-free. Make sure you are well-versed in avoiding cross-contamination with gluten. Don’t let your diet restriction stop you from enjoying this amazing experience on which you are about to embark!

Remember these three areas to familiarize yourself with: the food customs, language and the new surroundings.

1. Food customs: have an understanding of how traditional dishes are prepared and the ingredients used so you know what is gluten-free, what to avoid and what can be modified.

2. Language: be able to communicate your needs and identify key words that indicate sources of gluten. Have a smart phone? Download a translation application to ease the language barrier. Google Translate is a user friendly app. Although English may be spoken as a second language in your city of travel, it is unlikely the word gluten or celiac is understood so know the translation in the area’s primary language. An excellent resource for gluten-free dining out is the app GF Card (free for iPhone or iPad) which contains gluten-free dining cards in fifty languages. Simply show your iPhone to your server. If you don’t have an iPhone, visit to order gluten-free dining cards.

3. The surroundings: know where you can stop in to purchase packaged snacks or fresh fruits to fuel your travels. If you are staying in a place with a kitchen it may be a good idea to stock up on gluten-free dried pastas, bread, cereal, quinoa, crackers and rice to break up the meals eaten out.

Pack gluten-free snacks to avoid searching aimlessly for gluten-free options, taking away from valuable sightseeing time. Airports are also a great spot to stock up packaged snack foods. KIND bars, NuGo Free Dark Chocolate Trail Mix protein bars, dried fruit and nuts are some examples. Dehydrated rice noodles, bean soups and gluten-free oatmeal packets are easy to carry along and just require hot water, easy to come across in most hotels, cafés or corner stops. Look for gluten free wraps you can carry along so you can simply request the sandwich fillings be made in your wraps and even bring along plastic gloves just in case. Know that continental breakfasts will unlikely have gluten free breads/cereals and the risk for contamination is likely going to be quite high. Yogurt, cheese, eggs and fresh fruit are good options for breakfast when dining out.

Before booking a hotel, it would be wise to ask if special arrangements can be made depending on your length of stay. Request to have a small refrigerator in your room. Stock up on inexpensive grab-n-go breakfast food such as gluten free granola bars, dried fruit and rice cakes with a nut butter spread.
 For eating out, research the area beforehand to find those restaurants which will accommodate the gluten-free traveler. Look on the Internet for restaurants which serve gluten-free dishes. Choose those places that understand risk of cross-contamination. –

When ordering here are a few requests you might need to ensure cross-contamination is avoided:

1. Make sure your meat is cooked on a clean surface, meaning not the same grill where bread/buns are toasted.

2. Make sure the vegetables have not been cut on the same cutting board as any flour products.

3. Gluten free pizzas need to be cooked on clean surfaces and gluten free pasta needs to be boiled in clean water, not the same water previously used to cook wheat pasta and the same thing goes for any fry order

4. Tip generously especially if the restaurant or café makes special plates and is very accommodating. This will only encourage similar behavior for the next traveler.

By Country:

Italy: the land of bread, pasta and pizza, is very conducive to the gluten free traveler. The Italian Coeliac Society certifies restaurants claiming gluten-free on their menu to assure the consumer there will be no risk for cross-contamination. Florence is home to several restaurants offering gluten free pasta and there is always the option for a Caprese salad, freshly sliced meats, antipastos and risotto.

France: Many restaurants and bakeries offer gluten-free fare. The Chambelland Boulangerie in Paris is a gluten-free bakery located in the 11th Arrondissement.

Spain: The Attic Restaurant in Barcelona offers selections specific for those with celiac disease. Menu options included pastas, fries, and other gluten-free selections.

A terrific website is for finding info on restaurants, traveling tips, travel language guides and a variety of gluten-free and food allergy apps. Take the time to review it before you embark on your trip. For more specifics by country: if you are traveling to Mallorca, France, Indonesia, Bolivia, Chile, Easter Island, Thailand, Finland, Australia, Montreal, Abu Dhabi, Sweden, Italy, Columbia or Sri Lanka just to name a few, follow this link for stories from gluten-free travelers.

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as The Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.i She 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 addition, Lisa is the CEO of Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs and restaurant owners to enhance the health aspects of  menu selections. She is a nationally-recognized Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a specialty in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. 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: