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!

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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.

 

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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.

Traveling with Food Allergies

 

travel_agentsHaving a food allergy can definitely add some stress to traveling, but should never dissuade you from getting out there and exploring the world. With some careful planning, you should be able to travel and eat confidently, being able to enjoy the new places you discover without worries. As always, being prepared is key!

Before The Trip

  • When booking your flight, check to see what snacks the airline serves during flights, if any. If exposure to peanuts/tree nuts affects you, some airlines will serve a non-peanut/tree nut snack on flights upon request, so let your booking agent know about your allergy ahead of time.
  • Pack your own safe food for eating on the flight. Make sure you check airline policies for what you can and cannot take on the plane.
  • Download the app AllergyEats. This app can make it easier to find allergy-friendly restaurants across the U.S.
  • A excellent website for more in-depth info on specificfood allergies is Food Allergy Network .

At the Airport and On the Plane

  • Reconnect with the airline staff and make sure that they are aware of your food allergy. That way, they can make any last-minute changes to make sure you have a great and safe flight.
  • Inspect your seating area and tray table for any crumbs or spills and wipe them down with wet wipes to avoid any cross-contamination that might happen if you set down any food on those surfaces.
  • Double check that meals and snacks you are offered are safe for you to eat. This is especially important when you’re miles up in the air, away from medical facilities.
  • Store your allergy medications with you, and not in the overhead bin for the easiest access. Remember to keep the labels and even the prescriptions from your doctor on hand to display when you go through security, to be able take your medications on board with you.
  • Let the airline staff and people you are traveling with know what to do in case you experience an allergic reaction. Let them know where you keep your medications so they can access them quickly in needed.

On Vacation

  • Ask your doctor to write prescriptions for you to take on your journey, so you can display them at pharmacies and get what you need. Know the brand names of your medications in the location you will be visiting so access to medications will be easier.
  • For meals at restaurants, carry some chef’s cards with you (business cards with your allergies listed) in both English and the language of the location you are visiting, to give to staff upon ordering.
  • Befriend a translator or plan ahead and learn how to say what you are allergic to in the language of the location you are traveling to. Ask hotel staff and locals what common dishes typically include what you are allergic to, to know what foods to avoid.
  • Bring non-perishable food that is safe for you to eat with you when alternative foods that are safe for you to eat are not easily available.

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 to get healthy meals on the table. She is the author of the “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, travel nutrition and diabetes for teens and adults. For more info, contact Lisa via email or visit here. Special thanks to Social Media Intern Anita Renwick for writing this blog.

The Healthy and Not-So Healthy Dishes From Around The Globe

Pasta pic_s4x3_lgEnjoying the experience of trying new foods is truly one of the highlights for many travelers. Whether dining in a swanky restaurant, eating traditional fare in a local cafe, or veering off the path and finding that ultimate food venue, for many travelers, it’s truly about the sights, the people, the museums, the shopping, and the FOOD. You want to try lots of new dishes, but you still want to feel great. To help you make some nutritious choices, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the healthy and not-so heathy dishes that you may encounter as you travel (or you may even experience these dishes where you live). The dishes in the not-so healthy list are there because they are either high in unhealthy fats, or added sugar and/or sodium. If you’re not a so-called “foodie”, it’s time to break out of what you usually choose and let your taste buds have fun. Trying foods that are new to you will help you stretch your culinary journey and add to life’s joys. Eating the same foods all the time can get boring fast. You may be surprised how adding new foods into your diet and experiencing various ethnic restaurants can enrich your life.  So get ready to explore. Bon Appetit!

List of The Healthy and Not-So Healthy Menu Choices

Cuisine Healthy Choices Foods to Limit
American Grilled chicken sandwich on whole grain bread, Grilled or baked chicken, fish or pork, broth based soup and salad, Veggie burger on whole grain bread, Sirloin steak French fries, cream soups, fried chicken, fried fish, cheesy or casserole-like sides, fried sandwiches, loaded baked potato
Italian Minestrone soup and salad, Grilled, vegetables, Mussels, Margarita Pizza, Grilled fish Chicken or Veal Marsala, Spaghetti with tomato sauce, Pasta Primavera, Salmon and Roasted Potatoes, Pasta with chicken or seafood (Note: request whole wheat pasta) Shrimp Alfredo Pasta, Stromboli, Calzone, Manicotti, Lasagna Bolognese, Cheese or Beef Ravioli, Chicken Parmesan, Penne ala Vodka, Baked Ziti, Pepperoni or pasta on Pizza, sausage, Sopressa (salami), Mortadella
Chinese Seafood soup, Steamed Vegetables, brown rice, dishes that are Jum (poached), Chu (broiled), Kow (roasted) or Shu (barbecqued), Shrimp or chicken with broccoli, Mixed Vegetables, Vegetable soup, Egg drop soup, Tofu with Mushrooms, brown rice Won ton soup, Fried rice, Egg rolls, Lo Mein, Chow fun, Spare ribs, General Tsao’s chicken, Crispy beef, Sweet and Sour Pork
Japanese Tofu and vegetable soup, seafood soup, miso soup, edamame, seaweed salad, grilled, steamed or roasted plates (upon request), yakitori, sashimi, crab and avocado sushi roll, sushi (ask for cucumber in place of rice), Teriyaki with salmon, tofu or chicken. Tempura, fried dumplings, donburi (fried pork), fried sushi rolls, sushi with spicy mayo or cream cheese
Greek Hummus with pita, baba ghanoush, Tzatziki (limit to 2 tbsp.), potatoes, Greek salad with dressing on the side, chicken souvlaki, grilled octopus, lamb or fish with steamed vegetables, bean salad, gigante beans, horta (dandelion greens) Fried calamari, fried fish, mousaka, pastitsio, Pita with Giro (pork), Desserts: baklava, loukoumades (fried doughnuts), galactopoureko (custard in phyllo)
Middle Eastern    (Israeli, Lebanese, Persian) Hummus, babaganoush, shish kebab, Grilled fish, chicken or lean meat, tabouli, kibbeh, labneh, falafel (this is fried, so limit to 2 to 3 balls), pita bread, halvah (small piece) Kofta, fried fish, chicken  and meats
French Mussels, Grilled fish, Roasted chicken, Coq au Vin, Sautéed vegetables, Salad Nicoise, Seafood platter, French baguette (bread), Croissants, Pain du chocolat (croissant stuffed with chocolate), Foie gras (goose or duck liver), organ meats, rich creamy sauces
Spanish Grilled fish, chicken and meat, Jambon (ham), grilled vegetables, Paella (traditional rice dish), olives Fried fish, fried tapas

 

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. This post is excerpted from The Trim Traveler.

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.