Four Tips for Staying Trim While You Travel 

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We’ve all heard from friends who like to travel how they rarely can make it home without unwanted pounds. Traveling and weight gain don’t have to go hand in hand. Yes, you can enjoy wonderful meals and maintain your weight. One of the pleasures of travel is the experience to try new and delicious food. Whether at a corner cafe in Amsterdam, a taverna in Athens or a food truck in Austin, the joy in trying and enjoying new flavors is truly part of our travel memories.

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Traveling is a wonderful time to enjoy yourself and your surroundings. But you don’t want to be so concerned about what you can and can’t eat to avoid gaining weight. Don’t allow any  negative energy to zap some of the pleasure from your trip. To help you enjoy your trip and avoid weight gain, I’ve put together four “tried and true” tips  to help you enjoy new cuisine and stay svelte. So pack your bags and enjoy your trip. No worries about gaining weight!

Four Tips For Avoiding Travel Weight Gain

1. Eat more at breakfast and lunch. Yes, enjoy the hotel buffet.

2. Make dinner your lightest meal. Soups, salads, grilled vegetable platters, grilled fish or lean meats are all good choices.

3. If you have dessert, share it. Or better yet, forgo the rich pastry and enjoy a dish of fresh fruit.

4. Limit alcohol which contributes additional calories to your diet. In addition, alcohol can increase your appetite and cause you to eat more. If you’re going to imbibe, choose wine or vodka, rum or gin on the rocks. Skip the sugary mixes.

To maintain your weight while you travel, emphasize healthy choices. But most important, enjoy your trip!

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, vegetarian nutrition 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.

 

8 Healthy Traveling Tips for Prediabetes

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If you have prediabetes, hopefully you’re familiar with strategies to lower your blood glucose and avoid the development of diabetes down the road. Making smart food choices and exercising regularly to keep blood glucose levels within normal range are key strategies for staying healthy. These lifestyle choices should be practiced during your daily routine, but can also be easily incorporated into your plans while traveling. It can be tempting to savor new foods and indulge on sweet treats when you’re away. Eating mindfully while you travel will let you enjoy a variety of foods, but continue to keep your blood glucose in check while you’re away.  If you have questions regarding your diet while traveling, meet with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) prior to your departure to gain more knowledge on foods and physical activity that can keep your blood glucose within normal range. If you check your blood glucose at home and are still working on getting it into a healthy range, bring your glucometer with you so you can stay on track when you travel.

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

  1. Avoid sugary drinks. Drinking sweetened beverages is a quick way for blood glucose levels to rise. Instead of sodas, juices, and sugary coffee beverages,  enjoy water, seltzer, or unsweetened tea or coffee.
  2. For breakfast, skip the sugary cereals and baked goods. Try some oatmeal or plain yogurt with fresh fruit, or egg whites on whole grain toast. Bring some packets of plain oatmeal with you and a bag of nuts or energy bars, such as KIND, so you have healthy choices readily available.
  3. Make sure you eat balanced meals. Fill half of your plate with fruit or vegetables, and include whole grains and lean protein, such as tofu, beans, grilled fish, veggie burgers, eggs or chicken.
  4. Eat every three to five hours to keep your blood glucose level steady. Have a meal or snack which includes a carbohydrate rich in fiber, such as fruit or whole grain crackers, paired with a healthy protein,  like nuts or hummus.
  5. For dessert, try to order fresh fruit or some plain yogurt and fruit. If you order something sweet, try to keep your portions smaller (eat mindfully and she with your dining companions).
  6. Make time for exercise everyday. An easy way to do this while traveling is to walk to some of your destinations. Aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking per day.
  7. Be smart about your snacks. Do not just grab the most convenient snacks; choose them wisely! Between meals, enjoy a fresh fruit, vegetables with hummus or some  nuts. Stock up on some of these snacks before you leave home, and visit a local market at your destination, so you always have a healthy snack on hand.
  8. Do your research. If you are traveling abroad and want to try some of the traditional foods in your locale, do some research online to check ingredients or ask your waiter. If a dish is rich, order it as an appetizer or share with your dining partner. For the most part, try to stick with grilled fish, seafood, chicken or vegetarian proteins, such as tofu and beans. Enjoy salads and vegetables dishes. Have fun on your trip!

Helpful Travel Apps

For U.S. travel:

  1. Eat Well Eat Out-find healthy dining options in your locale complete with nutrition information. Developed with The American Diabetes Association.
  2. Food Tripping-healthy food establishments located wherever you are traveling
  3. FitTravel Guru-plan your trip and workouts with one app

Traveling abroad:

  1. EatWell EU-the Europe healthy food travel guide
  2. EatAway-fully customizable diet translator for most diet restrictions

 

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is an award-winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is passionate about helping people transform their lives with optimal nutrition. She received the 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year from the New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Lisa is an entrepreneur, food influencer, speaker, private practitioner, and writer. She consults with food startups and restaurants to help put health on the menu. Lisa is the author of the ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice she specializes in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her two degrees in Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and virtually. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here.

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.

Eating Healthy and Staying Trim in the U.S.V.I.

St. John beach view

Sit back in your chair and close your eyes. Picture white sandy beaches with water the color of clear, cool aquamarine. Colorful fish you can see simply just standing on the beach. Yes, the water is that clear. The rhythm of the day drops a few notches down from what you are used to at home. You have arrived in the U.S Virgin Islands. It’s a great place to visit for unwinding and enjoying nature. And the beautiful climate, lovely people and delicious Caribbean food pull it all together to have a uniquely memorable trip.

St. Thomas hotel and sea view

If you are like me, when you travel you want to enjoy the local food, feel great, continue to stay fit and avoid coming home with extra unwanted weight. The goal during a vacation, even if you’re trying to lose weight, is weight maintenance. Don’t try to lose weight when you are away. Enjoying the local food is part of the experience. But be mindful when making food choices. That is always key to good health. Read below for my tips on healthy eating in the USVI and staying fit. The USVI includes St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. For this blog, we will limit our exploration to St. Thomas and St. John. We hope to cover St. Croix on another Caribbean trip.

 

Healthy Eating Tips:

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  1. Try to avoid fried foods, which are aplenty on these islands. Ask for grilled fish and chicken, instead of fried. Ask for salad or vegetables in place of the French fries.
  2. Portions are large in the USVI.  To keep calories down, share a salad and an entree with your dining partner.
  3. Choose more salads, grilled fish and vegetable-based dishes when you travel here.
  4. For dessert, order fresh fruit. They grow many delicious fruits here, including mangoes. Yum.
  5. Go easy on the alcohol. Yes, these islands are known for their rum and it is abundant. Instead, save your calories, and enjoy seltzer with lemon and a splash of juice.

Salad St Thomas

 

Staying Fit:

  1. Go for a hike. These islands are covered with lush greenery and trails. Or walk the beaches.
  2. Swim and snorkel. The water is gorgeous and the sea life is amazing. Think colorful fish, sea turtles and stingrays.
  3. Walk through the towns and take in the amazing history of these beautiful islands.

Restaurants we recommend:

St. Thomas Mafolie view

Jen’s Island Cafe (St. Thomas) Amazing curries and other Indian dishes. Many vegan options. Highly recommend for a casual lunch while strolling through the picturesque town of Charlotte Amalie.

Mafolie Restaurant (St. Thomas) The food is delicious Caribbean cuisine with many plant-based options. The restaurant is located cliffside and the view is beyond outstanding.

ZoZo’s (St. John) Simply the best restaurant in St. John. Terrific Italian dishes with  an emphasis on fresh seafood and vegetables.

Conclusion: The USVI is a fabulous place to unwind and enjoy nature. The local people are so friendly and the weather can’t be beat. And the beaches…..they have the most beautiful soft, white sand and are lush with palm trees. Many restaurants offer delicious local produce and fresh-caught seafood. What more could you want when you need a little R and R? We highly recommend this travel destination.

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.

Six Tips for Staying Trim During the Holidays

Christmas tree NYC 2015

Thanksgiving just passed and the holiday season is now quickly upon us. With this time of year comes an array of parties and events to attend, and any excuse  to cook, or simply (let’s be honest!) eat lots of tasty holiday treats. Cookies, cakes and pies galore. Oh my!!! During this festive month we are tempted with so many decadent spreads of food. According to a study, by the National Institutes of Health, the average weight person typically gains one to two pounds over the holiday season. And people that are overweight tend to gain five pounds during this time. The real issue is that most people don’t lose the weight gained, thus the pounds obtained over the winter holidays accumulate year by year. But with the right knowledge, you don’t have to join the group of “weight-gainers.” You can enjoy the holidays and maintain your weight and healthy habits. Whether traveling or enjoying the holidays at home, maintenance is KEY. Don’t look to lose weight over the holidays (but if you do, that’s awesome!). Here are six tips to keep you on track:

1. Follow your meal routine. Eat every three to five hours. Avoid skipping meals. Skipping meals so you can indulge later typically backfires. When you skip a meal your blood sugar level may drop. This can lead to intense hunger. You may end up eating more than you usual and your desire to make healthy decisions will go out the window. Tip: eat a healthy snack or meal before you go out so you don’t overindulge at a party. Try to combine some protein with a complex carbohydrate and you may feel full longer. Think a small handful of nuts or a KIND bar and a fresh fruit. Or a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread.

2. Balance your plate. For the party meal, think MyPlate guidelines: ½ of the plate should be non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts or salad, ¼ of the plate can be from protein sources like grilled salmon, sautéed tofu, beans or chicken breast and ¼ starch consisting of pasta, rice or sweet potatoes. Add in a small serving of dessert if you so desire or very small portions of several desserts. Think volume for the vegetables and portion control of the more decadent sides and desserts.

3. Don’t drink your calories. We all love those holiday punches, ciders, cocktails and hot comforting drinks but know what is in your glass before indulging. Always start the party off with water or a glass of seltzer. If you want to get or remain svelte, stick with the two aforementioned beverages! If you must imbibe, one to two glasses of wine or 2 oz. of vodka, gin or rum with seltzer or a splash of juice should be your limit. Just an FYI: Egg Nog is one of the richest holiday drinks, containing 350 calories, 19 grams of fat and 22 grams of sugar per 1 cup (8 ounce) serving! CalorieKing (www.calorieking.com) is a great website (and FREE app) for nutrition information on drinks and food.

4. Fill your kitchen with healthy whole foods so you eat well at home. Purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, hummus, tofu, fish, chicken, lean meat, nuts and nut butters and whole grains, such as quinoa, whole wheat pasta and couscous, cereals and popcorn.

5. Maintain your exercise routine. Exercise helps prevent weight gain and relieves holiday stress. Walking at a brisk pace, just 20 minutes daily, is quite beneficial.

6. Aim to maintain weight, not lose it. Enjoy the holiday season and the time you spend with friends and family. You will get more enjoyment out of laughing with those you are closest to than indulging in unhealthy holiday foods. Don’t let the buffet table become your focus!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the 2015 The Outstanding Dietitian Of The Year by The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a speaker, blogger, entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about spreading the message of healthy plant-based eating and optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs. She is also the author of the e-book The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed book The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice, with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lisa specializes in weight managment and diabetes for teens and adults. Contact Lisa here or visit here for more info.

Stay Trim: Avoid Weight Gain While Traveling Abroad

 

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

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  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.

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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.

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.