5 Tips for a Healthy Memorial Day

happy-memorial-day-from-briggs-freeman-sothebys-international-realty-1With Memorial Day kicking off this weekend, summer is officially here. So I thought it would be wise to offer some advice on how to eat well at the endless array of BBQs destined to mark your calendar during the upcoming summer months. These gatherings are a great way to get together with friends and family, enjoy the weather, relax, and just enjoy life. You’ll typically be faced with a smorgasbord of food options, so trust that you can still get your fill and also feel good about what you are eating. Here are five tips for you to take to your next gathering.

  1. On the grill: Plant-based proteins are always the better choice. If available, enjoy a grilled veggie burger, portobello mushroom or veggie dog. If plant-based options aren’t on the menu, choose lean proteins such as fish or chicken . But, let’s be honest! Low fat options at your typical gathering (unless it’s your casa) are often slim. Most likely it will be hamburgers and traditional hot dogs. Remember– you don’t have to try everything just because it’s there. Select what you really like. Enjoy it and aim to just have one serving. You can always make a delicious meal from grilled vegetables (if they are available) and salad.
  2. Condiments: Go easy with the mayo, creamy dressings and cheese you consume.     For a healthier alternative, try a couple slices of avocado. Bulk up your burger or sandwich with as much lettuce, onions, tomatoes and pickles as you desire.
  3.  Sides: Go heavy on the salsas and fresh vegetable options; go lighter with the         mayonnaise-based sides, such as macaroni salad and dips. Don’t overdo the chips, as they are empty calories that won’t fill you up. Opt for crackers, pretzels or  baked chips and aim for one handful. If raw vegetables are being served, indulge in them. They are always the BEST choice!
  4. Desserts: Limit to one small portion if it’s a decadent dessert. If there is fresh fruit, that’s– hands down– the better choice!
  5. What to bring: A watermelon (everyone will love this!), vinegar-based coleslaw, salsa, hummus and raw vegetable tray, chickpea salad, salad with fresh nuts and berries with vinaigrette or fresh fruit salad (this is my personal favorite!). While these are all healthier options, if it tastes good, people will eat it.

Above all else, enjoy your time with your friends and family. Enjoy summer!

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.

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.

6 TOP Travel Snacks

photo-9Traveling 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 backtrack 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 and fries. 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.

  1. Nuts: Great source of healthy omega-3 fats, fiber and plant proteins. Nuts are also calorie dense, so just a small handful (1/4 cup) 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. Measure them out and put in baggies.
  2. Fresh Fruit: Choose less perishable fruit, such as bananas, grapes, apples, plums and 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.
  3. Raw Vegetables: Great for a road trip. If you can bring along a cooler, pre-wash and cut veggies such as radishes, carrots, fennel and 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.
  4. Popcorn: Popcorn is actually a whole grain. Pop up a batch and flavor it yourself with garlic powder, onion powder,rosemary, oregano, pepper, sea salt or even hot sauce for a kick. Or to keep it simple, pick up the 100 calorie bag servings at the grocery store for built-in portion control.
  5. Trail Mix: Make your own! Mix together a whole grain cereal such as Wheat Chex or plain Cheerios, nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate pieces. Place in individual baggies.. This snack doesn’t require refrigeration so can last the length of your trip.
  6.  Energy Bars: Choose those with few ingredients, low in added sugar ( 6 or less grams of sugar per serving), contain some protein (more than 3 grams) and fiber (at least 3 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 an award-winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, author, blogger and speaker. She 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.). Lisa is the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year from The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her expertise includes teen and adult weight management, travel nutrition and diabetes. Lisa loves to ignite passion in her clients for the taste of delicious and healthy plant-based foods. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York and on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. To find out more about Lisa or to schedule a nutrition appointment, please visit here.