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.

Cutting The Salt When Traveling Abroad

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Whether you should reduce your salt intake due to high blood pressure, congestive heart failure or you’re just simply “salt-sensitive,” meaning after consuming a salty meal you have a spike in your blood pressure which then levels out to your normal, you should be aware of the salt content of your food. Even if your blood pressure is controlled with medication, excess sodium can hinder their effectiveness.  Overtime, either spikes or a consistently high blood pressure can cause damage to your arteries. In actuality, all of us would benefit from some salt (aka sodium chloride) reduction in our lives, especially if our diet is largely composed of processed, pre-packaged foods or if we eat out often. Quite often when people travel, they tell themselves they’re on vacation and let their diet restrictions fly out the window. And eat whatever their palate chooses. But you want to enjoy your trip and feel well at the same time. Who wants to end up sick and, heaven forbid, at the hospital while on a trip? Don’t cut your trip short because you don’t feel well. Taking care of your health should be something you do daily, not only at certain times of the year. Traveling the world while eating less salt may seem utterly impossible. But it can be done. All types of cuisines have regional dishes that are delicious, but lower in salt.

Sodium is a preservative so it will be found in higher amounts in canned foods, convenience foods, and the majority of boxed, pre-packaged food as opposed to fresh foods. When you eat meals out, you have little control over the ingredients used or cooking methods. The majority of fast service restaurants receive ingredients frozen and pre-seasoned, thus equating to high sodium content. The answer then lies in preparing most of your meals at home using fresh, minimally processed ingredients. Easy to do at home, more difficult when you’re traveling. Breakfast is one meal that is easy to have less salt. Think fresh fruit, yogurt or peanut butter, whole wheat toast and soft-boiled eggs. Try it next time at the hotel buffet!

 Here are a few tips to help you cut the salt while traveling:
1. Choose local restaurants. Avoid the chains. Luckily in Europe this is an easier task than in the states. Local restaurants are more likely to serve fresh produce and meats, perhaps even locally sourced. Local restaurants are more likely to cook to order so the chef has more leeway in how the food is prepared and will be more accommodating to special requests you make to cut the salt.
2. Make special requests when ordering. Ask for sauce to be served on the side so you have control over the amount. For salad dressings, opt for olive oil and vinegar or lemon (which in Europe is most often the main option). Ask for no salt added during the preparation of your meal. Choose freshly baked, grilled, broiled meats instead of casseroles which are pre-made and likely contain salt added as a seasoning. For an even healthier option, order a grilled vegetable plate as your main course.
3. Choose side dishes such as fresh vegetables, fruit, baked potatoes or salads. Avoid sides coated in sauces, fried or casserole-like such as macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, etc. When traveling abroad, take the time to learn key phrases to use when ordering. For one it’s a sign of respect and your requests will more likely be met.

Additional Tips Based on Country
Italy:
For salad dressing, eat like the Italians and simply use olive oil and lemon or vinegar. Same goes for condiments; olive oil is really the only condiment to accompany meals. Bread is served before the meal is delivered, but Italians eat the bread with the meal so you should, too. This will help reduce your intake.

Foods to include: Fresh salads, Caprese salad,  grilled vegetables. Fresh fruit.  Pasta Primavera. Fresh pasta with Marinara sauce (tomato sauce), pesto or garlic and olive oil. Grilled fish and seafood. Grilled lean meats and chicken.

Foods to avoid or minimize: Cured meats. These include dried sausage, sopressa, prosciutto, mortadella, salt pork, spalla, lardo, pancetta, spec, culatello. You will see an abundance of these cured meats all over the menus in Italy, so either avoid or just eat very small servings. And go easy on the cheese for pasta and pizza.

Spain:
The culinary traditions of Spain include locally grown produce, ham, seafood and fish, eggs, beans, rice, nuts (almonds), cheeses and bread (crusty white bread). Food is often prepared using olive oil and garlic.

Foods to include: Fresh salads. Use olive oil and lemon for dressing. Paella is a popular Spanish stew-like dish composed of rice, broth, onion, garlic, wine, sweet peppers, saffron and a variety of mix-ins such as shellfish, chorizo (sausage), vegetables, chicken or rabbit. When choosing this dish, avoid the chorizo to cut the salt. Gazpacho  (cold tomato soup),  Tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelet), grilled fish and shellfish are all excellent choices.

Foods to avoid or minimize: jambon (ham), cheeses, bacalao (dried salted fish) olives (healthy but high in salt. Go easy!)

Greece:
The bulk of the diet is fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes, seafood and bread. Due to the long coastline, the Greek diet is heavy in fish and seafood with meat typically used as an ingredient rather than the focus of the dish. As you move inland the diet becomes heavier in meats and cheeses. Some staples include olives, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, lentils, beans, lemons, nuts, honey, yogurt, feta, eggs, chicken and lamb. Olives and feta are quite salty, so limit the amount you consume.
Foods to include: Dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice and/or lamb), Greek salad, Horiatiki salad (cucumbers and tomatoes), Gigante beans, Hummus, Gilled octopus, Horta (dandelion greens), Spanikopita (spinach pie), Grilled fish and shellfish, Moussaka (meat and eggplant dish), Souvlaki (lamb or chicken on skewer), baklava (nut and honey pastry in layers of thin dough called phyllo. For the healthiest dessert, fruit is the best option.

Foods to avoid or minimize: Feta cheese is high in salt, so go easy. Casserole dishes may be high in salt. The olives are delicious, but also high in salt so limit your intake.
France:
Fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, cheese and meat make up the bulk of the French diet. The baguette – a thin loaf of crusty bread is a staple. Crepes (thin pancakes) would be a low sodium option.On the coastline seafood makes up many dishes such as mussels, oysters, clams, shrimp, squid. Escargots (snails) cooked with butter, garlic; rabbit and roasted duck are characteristic of French cooking. Choose these fresh meats over the casseroles or cheese-laden dishes.

Foods to include: Fresh salads, Salad Nicoise’, Goat Cheese salad, sautéed vegetables, Grilled and sautéed fish and shellfish, Coq au Vin (chicken cooked in wine), Roasted chicken. Lower sodium cheeses, such as Goat cheese, Brie and Mascarpone are fine.

Foods to minimize or avoid: La choucroute (cabbage dish with sausage) will be high in sodium due to the sausage. Mussels and oysters are delicious in France, but they are high is sodium. So, again, go easy. Share a dish with your mate.  Cheese, which is usually high in sodium,  has a important role in most meals so try to limit your intake. If eating fondue, skip the cheese course.

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, 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. Special thanks to Lauren Zimmerman, MS, RDN for her contributions to this blog post.

Traveling Abroad Gluten-Free

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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 http://www.TriumphDining.com 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 http://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, follow this link for stories from gluten-free travelers. http://www.celiactravel.com/stories/

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: http://www.lisastollmanrd.com

Three Reasons To Visit Lake Como

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Lake Como in northern Italy is truly one of the most breathtaking spots on the planet. Just picture a large lake surrounded on one side by spectacular mountains coupled with winding roads and exhilarating hairpin turns lined with homes painted in various hues of terra cotta. Complete this vision with a beautiful green lushness of trees and flowers. Exquisite sums it up. Lake Como is a great place to slow down, unwind and just take in the beauty. In addition to the postcard views, there are three other great reasons to visit this town. These include 1. fabulous food (this is Italy–there is always delicious food!), 2. shopping (Lake Como is famous for its’ silk–they even have an excellent silk museum that is definitely worth the visit) and 3. a terrific place to unwind and relax. It has a slow pace which is ideal when you need to lower the stress level from daily living back home.

Things to do

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1.Take the boat taxi that will take you around the lake to each town. You can get a day-pass and get on and off at your leisure. A great way to see Lake Como. Make sure to visit the magnificent town of Bellagio. Great shops, restaurants and fabulous lake views.

2. Visit the Silk Museum. Lake Como is the silk capital of Italy. The museum captures the history of silk making through the ages. From the cocoon through the finished product, you will walk away with an understanding of the background of silk. Fascinating.

3. Town of Como–quaint shops and outdoor cafes combine to be a great place to stroll and spend a nice afternoon. Many stores offer gorgeous silk ties and scarves.

Great Places to Eat

Restaurants

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Acquadolce–Located on Lake Como in the town of Cernobbio. The restaurant is situated cliffside with dramatic views of the lake. And the food is wonderful. Delicious choices include chickpea soup with squid and pasta with baby artichokes. Wonderful grilled vegetables.
Ristorante Rico–What a wonderful gem hidden in the village of Como. Go for the delicious truffles, pasta and fresh seafood. They also serve an array of wonderful vegetable side dishes (also know as contorni).

Staying Healthy and Fit While You Travel

It’s great to come back from vacation and not gain weight. So how can you do this? There are two simple tips to implement:1. Fill up on vegetables. Order a grilled vegetable plate at lunch. Or enjoy a salad with legumes or seafood. A grilled vegetable sandwich is also served regularly on the menu in northern Italy. The vegetables here are amazing, so take advantage. At dinner, again focus on vegetables. Have them as a main course or as a side dish. Do enjoy the pasta and pizza. They are great. But don’t have them everyday.  2. Walk. It’s amazing how much you can walk when you are sightseeing. All the steps you take while traveling will help you come home feeling great. On my recent trip to Lake Como, we walked over 14,000 steps each day, without even realizing it. Use the outdoors as your gym!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is based on Huntington, Long Island and New York City. Her expertise is in weight management and travel nutrition. She was recently honored as the 2015 Distinguished Dietitian of the Year Award by The New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. To find out more about Lisa, visit here.

9 Tips For Traveling Abroad With Diabetes

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As any novice or expert traveler knows, planning the logistics of a trip, let alone the process of traveling, can get pretty tricky at times. This can be especially true for the adventurers with chronic medical conditions, namely those with diabetes. If you have diabetes and want to see the world but haven’t yet figured out how to balance the Colosseum with carb counting, or the Great Wall with glucose monitoring, then these tips are for you. Traveling with diabetes, whether Type 1 or 2, can certainly be a little stressful at times, but it is completely possible and should not hold you back from exploring the globe! Below is a list of 9 daily lifestyle tips for traveling with diabetes, made easy to implement in any adventure.

  1. Before you embark on your trip, if flying overseas, it’s good to know that you can order a special meal, usually up to 48 hours in advance. Visit the homepage of your airline and do a search for special menus. A review of Delta’s offerings shows that they serve 17 special menus. An overview of their diabetes menu states it’s low in sugar and avoids syrup and regular desserts. If you have high blood pressure or celiac disease, they also have a low sodium and gluten-free menu. But don’t fret. If you go with the regular menu, figure out your carb quota on the tray, so you don’t end up with a high blood glucose. Also, make sure to bring some healthy snacks, such as KIND bars, nuts, fresh fruit, and 100-calorie bags or popcorn. Keep some glucose tablets on hand in case of an emergency.
  1. Keep all medicines, syringes, inhaler and cartridges, blood sugar testing supplies, and all oral medications in your carry-on luggage. Don’t risk a checked bag getting lost or sitting in an unheated, uncooled cargo hold. If you usually carry a test kit and some exogenous source of insulin with you at all times, it may feel inconvenient to have to keep track of it during your travels. Luckily, medical equipment like test kits are available pocket-sized, and can be found at your local pharmacy. Store your insulin bottles and unopened packages of inhaled insulin between 33 F and 80 F. Don’t freeze insulin or keep it in direct sun. Once you open a package of inhaled insulin, you can keep it at room temperature safely for 10 days.
  1. Be aware of the potential language barrier in your destination country. In whatever area(s) you are traveling, certain words and phrases are critical to know and verbalize in the native language. It is too dangerous to assume that locals will be able to understand English in the event of a low blood sugar episode. Important phrases can include “I have diabetes,” “I have low blood sugar,” “I need medical assistance,” “I need a Coca-Cola” (most countries are familiar with, and carry, the iconic beverage). It is also crucial to carry an identification card or wear a medical ID bracelet that, in case of an emergency, explains your condition, which should have universal symbols that can be understood by any medical caregiver.
  1. In tandem with knowing the local language for speaking purposes, it is equally as important to be able to identify words that mean “bread,” and/or local dishes that are higher in carbohydrates. These can include pasta, potatoes, rice, pita, tortilla, or other local grains like quinoa or couscous. It’s also a good idea to practice reading nutrition labels in the local language; the word “carbohydrate” can be pretty easy to identify in some languages, but make sure you know what they are before leaving home. Also be wary that many European countries use Kilojoules instead of calories as a measurement of energy, and use commas instead of periods to designate decimals (for example, 12,5 grams as opposed to 12.5).
  1. If you are on insulin, you are probably pretty well versed on counting grams of carbohydrates. Despite your possible proficiency in carb counting, it may be helpful to refresh yourself on common exchanges of popular foods, like how 1/3 cup of rice or pasta is one exchange, and that one small slice of bread or dinner roll is one exchange. Also consider the sugar/carbohydrate content in syrups and dried fruit. It’s also a good idea to have a phone app such as HEALTHeDiabetes ($5.99 for iPhone) to check carbohydrate and sugar content of various foods. so you can quickly estimate the amount of carbohydrates in various dishes on the menu, before you order.
  1. You’ve probably heard that it is especially important to be mindful while sitting on a long plane, train, or bus ride. This is true or those with diabetes, as blood sugars tend to rise while remaining sedentary. Make sure to have your glucometer on hand at all times, and aim to test your blood glucose as needed to keep it in check. If you wear an insulin pump, you can temporarily set it to a higher basal rate during your travel, but make sure to go over those plans with your doctor or certified diabetes educator before heading out.
  1. The opposite is just as necessary to consider, as physical activity can deplete your blood sugar at an expedited rate. Make sure you have accessible forms of energy, like a granola bar or portable bottle of juice, to keep those blood sugar levels steady while you roam around Rio or traverse Tibet.
  1. In all cases, whether you’re driving a few states over or flying across the world,make sure you a card with your doctor’s name and phone number. Also keep a list of your current medications in your wallet and keep it with you at all times. And don’t forget a medical ID bracelet or card that states you have diabetes. Bring twice as many diabetic supplies as you think you need. Sometimes things just break, get stolen, or are lost in transport. Back-up supplies include an extra tube of glucose tablets for low blood sugar episodes, a back-uptest kit packed in another part of your baggage, extra insulin and/or oral diabetes medications, and extra medical condition cards in case your wallet is stolen.
  1. Last but certainly not least: eating! For many, traveling to new places is largely defined by new cuisines. Having diabetes has absolutely no hindrance on enjoying these new foods, as long as you stay mindful. If you want to sample a pizza in Florence for example, go for it (it’s practically necessary)! Keep the carb content in check by sharing the meal with a friend, or if you are alone, make sure you’re going to be exerting a lot of energy after your meal (like climbing up to the Piazzale Michelangelo). Limit the pizza to one or two slices and pair it with a salad. If you want to sample local desserts, opt for smaller sizes and try to balance it with a lower-carb meal, like a dish comprised of vegetables and a protein, like fish or a leaner meat source.

These may seem like a lot of things to keep in mind, when all you want to do is explore landmarks and experiment local cuisine like any other traveler. Visit here for more tips on traveling with diabetes. Following these tips can make your adventure run smoothly so you can get back to enjoying these amazing sights, sounds and tastes sooner. You are a traveler, and that means you are capable of dealing with anything that gets in your path on the road to new experiences. Happy travels!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is based on Huntington, Long Island and New York City. She was recently honored as the 2015 Distinguished Dietitian of the Year Award by The New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A special thanks to nutrition and writing intern Samantha Marks for her contributions to this blogpost. To find out more about Lisa, visit here.

Hydration Tips For Traveling Abroad

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Drink up. Staying hydrated is imperative for good health whether home or abroad. But when traveling, we should be even more aware of it. Being away from home often throws off daily habits and drinking fluids is usually one of them. Our bodies are constantly losing water through perspiration and even breathing. Proper hydration supports the heart and all muscles to work more efficiently. After all, we are composed of approximately 70% water, so no wonder we wouldn’t survive more than a few days without it.

Fluid Facts You Should Know

1. Fluid needs vary from person to person. Various factors influence fluid needs such as climate, activity level, clothes, body build and age. Lean body mass is composed of more water than fat tissue, so those leaner with greater muscle tone require even more water than their not so lean counterpart. Certain health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, may elevate fluid needs as well.

2. Thirst often indicates we are already dehydrated. So the goal should really be to avoid this, so you don’t end-up playing catch-up. The color of your urine is an easy indicator of hydration status: clear, light yellow indicates hydrated while dark yellow means drink more water. An outward sign of dehydration is dry skin while some symptoms may include dizziness, headache, or fatigue. Also, be aware that you may feel hungry when you are thirsty as the sensation for thirst is the same as hunger. So to keep your weight down, drink up.

3. For every pound of sweat lost, it takes a pint of water (16 ounces) to replenish. Water, seltzer, unsweetened coffee or tea really should be the beverage of choice. Alcohol can have a diuretic effect, so drink water along with any alcoholic beverage and drink moderately. Sports drinks aren’t necessary unless you are exercising at high intensity for more than 90 minutes. The extra sugar can be tough on the stomach if dehydrated and eating meals and snack throughout the day is sufficient to provide electrolytes.

Is the Water Safe to Drink?

Before you leave on your trip, find out if the tap water is safe to drink. This is a biggie. Water is obviously the best beverage to hydrate, but only if it is purified. If the water is unsafe to drink, so too may be the fresh produce. Just keep this in mind. When purchasing bottled water, make sure the caps are attached to the ring to guarantee you are in fact receiving purified water. Depending on your frequency of travel and length of stay, if the water is unsafe, it may be more economical to purchase a UV purification water bottle. CamelBak makes an All Clear

Bottle for $99 that utilizes UV technology to neutralize microbiological contaminants to EPA standards and has a built-in LCD to confirm purification results.

Hydration Travel Tips

  1. Fruits and vegetables have high water content so snacking on fruits such as apples, pears, and oranges and including salads and vegetables with lunch and dinner can up your water intake for the day.
  2. Always start the day off with a few glasses of water before hitting the pavement.
  3. Keep a water bottle with you as you explore your new surroundings.
  4. Pay attention to the type of climate in which you will be traveling. Hot environments will increase water loss. Lower humidity and higher altitudes will also accelerate water loss. Airplane cabins have very low humidity levels, typically 10-20%, whereas the humidity level in most indoor areas is 65%. So when flying, especially on long international flights, you should make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water and pay attention to any symptoms of dehydration. Try to avoid alcohol on the plane.
  5. Moisturize your skin to help retain moisture, especially in dry atmospheres. Pack a carry size so that you always have moisturizer on you. Spritzing your face can also help reduce the rate moisture leaves your skin.
As always, it’s best to be prepared. Happy travels!
An award-winning nutritionist, Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the 2015 Distinguished Dietitian of the Year by the New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Lisa is the author of the ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad and The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy. Her private practice is based in Huntington, Long Island and NYC. Lisa specializes in travel nutrition, weight management, and diabetes for teens and adults. To find out more about Lisa, visit here.