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.

TOP Tips for Eat Healthy While Traveling Abroad

Amsterdam hummus

Traveling abroad during the holiday season is a delight not only for those seeking to be with their loved ones during this special time of year, but also for people who want to celebrate this magical season in a different part of the world.  To keep you eating well and feeling great while traveling, I’ve shared my TOP tips with AutoEurope. A big part of traveling is the enjoyment of trying different regional cuisines. My tips include a list of the “healthy” and “not-so healthy” dishes you may encounter in different countries. Enjoy them ALL! Just balance out the “not-so healthy ” with the “healthy” dishes.It’s SO much easier to stay on track with healthy eating if you’re prepared before you leave for your destination. Enjoy your trip. Happy holidays! 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, travel nutrition, 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.

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.

What’s NEW in Nutrition: NEW Food Trends You Should Know

fnce-2016-exhibition-hall

Having just returned from FNCE 2016 (Food and Nutrition Convention and Exhibition) in Boston, we are excited to share some of our findings in the nutrition field as well as new product trends. FNCE is the largest annual nutrition meeting in the U.S. This year approximately 10,000 Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) attended this four-day meeting where food and nutrition professionals learned from some of the most outstanding leaders in the field. It was interesting to see that many of the hot topics in the meeting halls, such as the Gut Microbiome and  the emphasis of plant-based diets in disease prevention, aligned with a variety of products on the exhibition floor.

Foods that improve gut health (aka The Microbiome) were the key players in the Exhibition Hall. From foods formulated to be FODMAP-friendly and gluten-free, to those with high probiotic content, intestinal health ruled. We loved the products from Farmhouse Culture. There product line includes healthy probiotic-laden krauts (as in sauerkraut) and “gut shot” beverages to help feed the Microbiome.

farmhouse-culture-2             farmhouse-culture

 

There were also pasta products made entirely from beans, such as Explore Cuisine. It’s great that you can have a serving of pasta that includes the same amount of protein as 3 ounces of chicken, meat or fish, plus 14 grams of dietary fiber. Trust us–it also tastes great!

explore-cuisine

Another tasty product line comes from Mediterra. They make savory bars from whole grains and other ingredients,  such as black olives and walnuts. It’s a delicious snack when you are on-the-go and need healthy fuel.

mediterra-foods

 

We look forward to what’s in store at FNCE 2017. Please let us know if you have tried any new foods that are worth sharing. We are here to help you stay healthy and fit as you travel the globe!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

How to Eat Well in a Persian Restaurant

Chicken Kebabs and RiceIf you have never had the pleasure to enjoy a meal in an Iranian or Persian restaurant, you should add it to your bucket list and  make a plan to go without delay. If you’ve experienced this cuisine, you’ll never forget the wonderful flavors and fragrances that permeate this delectable food. Persian food includes a wide variety of vegetables, including eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes, rice dishes and combinations of herbs and spices that are unique to this cuisine, including cinnamon, sumac, saffron, and cumin.  Many of the foods are grilled, making it a healthy  choice for most. Like other Middle Eastern countries, the food of Persia has been influenced by its’ neighbors and conquered regions at various stages throughout its’ history. Thus there has been shared culinary influences to and from Turkish, Mesopotamian, Levantine, Greek and Central Asian cuisines, with smaller touches from Russian cuisine. Persians love their rice, so you will also see a vareity of rice dishes available to accompany the main course. The rice with sweet and sour cherries ( Abdalo Polo) is a MUST. You shoould definitely not miss this fabulous dish!

Dishes You Will Likely See On A Persian Menu

Appetizers
Kashk-Bademjan: Cooked eggplant in homeade tomato sauce topped with yogurt
Mirza Ghasemi: Mashed grilled eggplant with tomato, garlic & egg
Dolmeh: Grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs
Humus: Crushed chickpeas, tahini paste & seasoning
Babaganoosh: Baked eggplant with tahini paste, garlic & seasoning
Sambuseh: Crispy fried dumplings stuffed with chickpeas & herbs; served with spicy chutney
Stuffed Pepper: Green pepper stuffed with ground lamb, rice & herbs, slowly simmering with light tomato sauce
Salad Olovieh: Chicken & potato salad with eggs, green peas & carrots

Kebobs
Vegetarian Kebob: An assortment of grilled vegetables served with humus                                      Fish Kebob: Usually salmo,n char-grilled with spices                                                                              Chicken Shish Kebob: cubes of marinated boneless chicken;char-grilled                                             Jujeh Kebob: Pieces of bone in Cornish hen in lemon saffron marinade; char-grilled
Koobideh Kebob: Skewers of chopped beef; char-grilled
Beef Shish Kebob: Cubes of Angus beef lightly marinated & char-grilled
Lamb Shish Kebob: Cubes of marinated boneless baby lamb; char-grilled

Accompaniments
Mast Khiar: Homemade yogurt mixed with cucumbers& mint
Mast Esfenaj: Homemade yogurt mixed with sautéed spinach & garlic
Panir Sabzi: Fresh basil, tarragon, mint, radish, scallions & feta cheese
Torshi: A traditional Persian mix of chopped pickled vegetables                                            Mediterranean Chopped Salad: Usually includes chopped tomato, cucumber, green pepper, parsley, lemon and olive oil.

Tips for Eating  Well in a Persian Restaurant

It’s easy to make good choices in a Persian restaurant as the entrees all tend to be grilled.

  1. Portions tend to be large, so sharing is ideal. The platters of rice tend to be quite big, so it’s wise to order just one plate or rice for two to four people.
  2. A good way to start the meal is with a plate of the various dips. This will provide you a taste of many flavors, all to be enjoyed with the delicious pita bread.
  3. For dessert, share one serving of baklava or ask for fresh fruit.
  4. Try mint tea to accompany your meal as a healthy alternative to soda or alcohol.

Tips For Various Health Issues

If you are trying to lose weight: Opt for grilled vegetable, fish or chicken kebab. Ask for extra vegetables in place of the rice. Or share one plate of rice with the table. As all portions are usually large, consider sharing your main course if you are also having an appetizer.

If you have heart disease or high cholesterol: Choose the vegetable or fish kebab as these are the lowest in saturated fat. If they have salmon, that’s an excellent choice.  For an appetizer, the humus, babaganoosh or salad would all be ideal. The yogurt is made from whole milk, so it will be high in saturated fat. Share with the table if you would like to try it.

If you are vegetarian or vegan: Choose the vegetable kebab as your main dish. There are many side dishes that are vegetarian and/or vegan. If you are vegan, try the humus or babaganoosh. Most salads are also vegan. You can always ask for the cheese to be deleted. For vegetarians, there are many yogurt dips to also partake. These pair well with the delicious pita bread on the table.

If you have prediabetes or diabetes: All of the kebabs are good choices. To lower the glycemic index of the meal, ask for vegetables in place of the rice. When it comes to dessert, if you desire something sweet, ask for fresh fruit. Mint tea is a great way to end the meal. It also promotes healthy digestion.

Favorite Persian Restaurants in NYC

Just in case you’re planning a trip to NYC in the near future, here are our fave picks. Enjoy!

Revagh

Persepolis

Colbeh

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She loves traveling the world and experiencing new foods and cultures, and meeting interesting people. 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: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy (Nirvana Press 2012). Lisa maintains a nutrition practice in NYC and Huntington, Long Island where she specializes in weight management, diabetes and travel nutrition. Lisa is also the CEO of Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs to get healthy dishes on the menu. For more info on Lisa, visit here.