8 Healthy Traveling Tips for Prediabetes

salad-nicoise-montreal

If you have prediabetes, hopefully you’re familiar with strategies to lower your blood glucose and avoid the development of diabetes down the road. Making smart 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, 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. Eating mindfully while you travel will let you enjoy a variety of foods, but continue to keep your blood glucose in check while you’re away.  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.

Salad Caneel Bay

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

  1. Avoid sugary drinks. Drinking sweetened beverages is a quick way for blood glucose levels to rise. Instead of sodas, juices, and sugary coffee beverages,  enjoy water, seltzer, or unsweetened tea or coffee.
  2. For breakfast, skip the sugary cereals and baked goods. Try some oatmeal or plain 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.
  3. Make sure you eat balanced meals. Fill half of your plate with fruit or vegetables, and include whole grains and lean protein, such as tofu, beans, grilled fish, veggie burgers, eggs or chicken.
  4. 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.
  5. For dessert, try to order fresh fruit or some plain yogurt and fruit. If you order something sweet, try to keep your portions smaller (eat mindfully and she with your dining companions).
  6. Make time for exercise everyday. An easy way to do this while traveling is to walk to some of your destinations. Aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking per day.
  7. 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 or some  nuts. Stock up on some of these snacks before you leave home, and visit a local market at your destination, so you always have a healthy snack on hand.
  8. 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 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, food influencer, 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.

Traveling Abroad Gluten-Free

strawberry-salad

Traveling abroad with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity may pose a challenge at first. But if you do your homework before you leave home, 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. And very important, especially for those with celiac disease, make sure you are well-versed in avoiding cross-contamination with gluten. If you feel that you are lacking in basic celiac disease nutrition and how to order in restaurants, meet with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) who specializes in celiac disease before you leave for your destination. You can find a RDN to help you on The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Don’t let your diet restriction stop you from enjoying this amazing experience on which you are about to embark!

Amsterdam hummus

Here are  three areas to familiarize yourself with: the food customs, language and the new locale:

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 http://www.TriumphDining.com to order gluten-free dining cards.

3. Locale: 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.

Mendocino food pic

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 on healthy 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, peanut butter, 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. 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.

Gluten-free in major cities abroad: Do some research online before you travel, so you have a list of GF dining options in your locale. Below are some of the GF establishments that we found in our searching.

Italy: the land of bread, pasta and pizza is very welcoming 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.

Rome:

La Soffitta Renovatio
Piazza del Risorgimento, 46/a

Il Viaggio
Via Isonzo, 14

Voglia Di Pizza
Via dei Giubbonari, 33

Florence:
Ciro and Sons – Ristorante Pizzeria Firenze
Via del Giglio, 28

Da Garibardi
Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 38R

Ristorante Hostaria Il Desco
Via delle Terme, 23/ r

Paris: Many restaurants and bakeries offer gluten-free fare. Here are a few recommended choices.

The Chambelland Boulangerie

Twinkie Breakfasts

NOGLU – GF Bakery

London:

Niche Gluten-free Dining
British menu in all-day cafe/restaurant
197-199 Rosebery Ave

LEGGERO
Gluten-free Italian restaurant
64 Old Compton St

Beyond Bread
Gluten-free bakery & cafe
2 Charlotte Pl

Barcelona:

La Lluna
Calle Santa Anna, 20

Gut
Carrer del Perill, 13
Cozy · Casual · Locals

Ristorante Pizzeria Il Piccolo Focone
Carrer del Dos de Maig, 268
Cozy · Casual · Locals

Conesa
Carrer de la Llibreteria, 1
Casual · Locals

A terrific website is www.glutenfreepassport.com 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, here are stories from gluten-free travelers.

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: Avoid Weight Gain While Traveling Abroad

 

rome-restaurantWhile traveling abroad, you may feel at times that things are out of your control. Flights may be delayed, reservations may have been cancelled, or luggage may be lost in transit. Unfortunately, this is the reality of traveling abroad. However, weight gain while traveling does not have to be a reality. You can take total control of your exercise and food choices while traveling so you return home without unwanted pounds. As you should know, being on vacation is not the time to try to lose weight, unless you’re at a health spa. Maintaining your weight while traveling is much more sensible and doable. Enjoying the wonderful food is part of the traveling experience. It may seem like it might be difficult to maintain your weight while on vacation, but mindful thinking and a little planning can put you on the right track. Follow the tips below to plan your healthy trip abroad.

Mendocino food pic

  1. Plan on when you are going to eat meals. It may be tempting to keep buying snacks throughout the day, but if you stick to planned meal times and one or two snacks, you will not engage in mindless eating which can lead to weight gain.
  2. Split large portions. Ask your server how big the plates are, and don’t be afraid to share an entree with someone else or ask for half of it in a to-go box.
  3. Engage in some kind of physical activity on most days. Instead of taking the bus to a nearby location, walk there instead. Look for nearby walking tours or hiking trails to discover. By walking, you get to experience new places close-up while burning calories.
  4. Look for accommodations with a kitchen–think AirBNB. Traveling abroad doesn’t mean that every meal has to be consumed in a restaurant. Part of the fun in having a kitchen abroad is visiting farmer’s markets and buying local ingredients to create your meals. In preparing your own meals, you can choose the foods you love or would like to try, and give yourself the appropriate portions to avoid overeating. If don’t have access to a kitchen on your trip, see if you can order a mini fridge with your room to store some healthy snacks. You can also keep many breakfast foods, such as yogurt and cheese, in a small fridge.
  5. Pack healthy snacks. You can buy some nutritious snacks before you leave for your destination, or at local markets while you walk the city streets. Having healthy snacks on hand keeps you energized between meals as well as helps you avoid buying unhealthy snacks on impulse from street vendors.
  6. Drink sufficient water. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger and we grab a snack when really we need to hydrate. In addition, drinking water can help you feel full between meals to help you avoid snacking. Bring a durable reusable water bottle to keep with you at hand during your daily travels.
  7. Avoid buffets, if possible, or learn how to control yourself around them. If the breakfast buffet is too tempting, store some cereal or whole wheat bread, peanut butter and fruit in your room to help you start your morning right. If you ever find yourself at a buffet, think about appropriate portion sizes before you eat and stick to eating the amount you plan to eat.

veg omelette Amsterdam

Remember to enjoy yourself! Being smart about eating and exercise during vacation can bring the best result: enjoying new experiences abroad while not having to worry about your weight. 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 and award-winning 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. Special thanks to Anita Renwick, nutrition intern, for her wonderful contributions to this blogpost.

Healthy Traveling Tips for 2016

earth-1426389-639x631The New Year is here, which is a great time to plan your personal travel itinerary for the upcoming year. Where do you want to go? What places are on your bucket list yearning to be scratched off? Traveling makes memories that stay with you forever. Experiencing new places and cultures, plus the added potential to meet new people, adds to your personal growth. Traveling  can enhance your life in so many ways. When you travel , whether for business or pleasure, you want to feel your best as you take on the world. The worst thing is to end up staying hankered down to your hotel room because you aren’t feeling well. One of the smartest things you can do to ensure a great trip is to plan ahead and get a healthy diet in place before you embark on your journey. Then upon departure you keep up the healthy eating plan as you travel to your destination, Once there, keep the healthy eating momentum going. Feel great and enjoy your time away. And when you return home, you should continue to reap the rewards of a healthy diet. Your energy level will be soaring, your weight will likely be the same, and you will feel great. Enjoy your trip!

Here are four tips to help you have a fabulous trip:

  1. Before you leave for your trip, start adding more plant-foods to your diet (aka fruits, vegetables, whole grain, beans and nuts). Eating more of these nutrient-rich foods will help increase your immunity to prevent getting sick before you embark on your trip, or on the plane which is an atmosphere rampant with unfriendly germs. And the added fiber will help keep your digestive system running smoothly. Thus, plant-foods are a win-win!
  2. Bring snacks from home for your trip. Fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables and hummus, nuts and energy bars are great to keep on-hand for your flight. Some airports have definitely improved upon the healthy snacks you can purchase to bring onboard. Energy bars and individual bags of plain instant oatmeal are also good to bring along for a light breakfast when you travel. Bring enough energy bars so you can have one per day, if needed.
  3. When you get to your destination, visit a local produce stand or market to buy fruits and vegetables for your room. Quite often, travelers have problems with regularity as the fiber content of foods in most restaurants can be quite low.
  4. When dining out, opt for fruits and/or vegetables at each meal. if fruit salad is on the breakfast menu,  add it to your order. At lunch, ask if your sandwiach can be made on whole grain bread. Or order a salad or vegetable-based soup, such as Minestrone as a main course. At dinner, have a side salad or an entree salad or grilled vegetable plate as your main course. Fresh fruit is great for dessert. If not on the menu, enjoy the fruit you purchased when you return to your room.

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.

Great Travel Snacks

travel_agentsTraveling makes healthy eating a bit more challenging. Whether you go by car, train or plane, when you aren’t in your normal environment it’s just easier to get off track and forget about your meal routine. And while you shouldn’t try to lose weight when on vacation, you don’t want to back track either. So taking a few minutes to pack snacks for your trip will help prevent you from stopping at the corner stop for a candy bar or pulling into the fast food lane for a milkshake. That being said some convenient stores and airport vendors do have healthy snacks to choose from, you just have to choose wisely. Here are a few suggestions for healthy snacks to bring along on your trip. Nuts Full of healthy fats, fiber and plant proteins- nuts are also calorie dense so just a small handful can be pretty satisfying and hold off your hunger for your next meal. Choose any kind you want- roasted peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, etc or make a variety pack. Fresh fruit Choose less perishable fruit such as bananas, oranges, apples, plums, apricots. Fruit is hydrating, full of nutrients and low in calories so it can be a good way to satisfy the munchies that pop up during a long trip. Raw veggies Great for a road trip. If you can bring along a cooler, pre-wash and cut veggies such as radishes, carrots or celery, place all in a plastic bag and put on ice. These make a great dipper for hummus or homemade ranch using plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Crackers Choose whole grain crackers which are more filling and contain more fiber than the “enriched” counterpart. Choose those with 5 or less ingredients. Triscuits are a great choice and offered in a variety of different flavors. Pair with hummus, natural peanut butter or cheese. Popcorn Popcorn is actually a whole grain, just be sure to choose unbuttered, unsalted to avoid unnecessary processed ingredients, trans fats and sodium. Flavor it yourself with garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, pepper, sea salt or even hot sauce for a kick. Popcorn lets you “volume eat” since you get a three-cup serving for only 100 calories. Trail mix
Make your own! Mix together a whole grain cereal such as Wheat Chex or Cheerios, nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate pieces. Place in individual baggies.. The snack doesn’t require refrigeration so can last the length of your trip. Energy Bars Choose those with few ingredients, low in added sugar (less than 6 grams), contain some protein (more than 3 grams) and fiber (at least 2 grams)per serving. Kind Bars and Lara Bars are excellent choices because they are satisfying, tasty and contain more “whole food” ingredients. If you don’t pack ahead, good news! Most of the aforementioned items can be found at most convenient stores or airport vendors. Happy snacking!

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: www.lisastollmanrd.com