Summer Travels: Staying Trim On A Beach Vacation

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Making arrangements and reservations for vacation can be anything but relaxing. Sometimes we need a vacation from a vacation, as all the planning is exhausting. Rather than eliminating vacation from your schedule, a relaxing beach holiday where you’re able to lounge and recharge is sometimes what is most needed. Yet, before you jet off to the beach, make sure to use some of the below tips to stay trim and healthy while away. With so many restaurants serving large portions, finishing all that’s on our plates and justifying frequent splurges of higher calorie menu selections, moderation of meals is definitely needed to stay trim while vacationing at the beach. Trust me—-you’ll be much happier when you return home.

Useful Travel Tips:

• Instead of equating dining out while on vacation as an opportunity for carte blanche, remove your indulgences from solely food and instead focus on indulging in a mystery book, massage or quality time with the family. When you redirect your indulgences to other great experiences in life, you will be less likely to overindulge in calories!
• Order half sized portions, appetizers, share entrees or opt to take leftovers home for tomorrow’s meal.
• Don’t be afraid to ask to ‘have it your way.” Restaurants are more accustomed to guests requesting modifications to dishes. For example, it’s not unheard of to ask for dressings, sauces and/or gravies on the side or for diners to ask for part of the meal “doggy bagged.” You may also find that many restaurants will prepare your sandwich on whole grain bread or, if vegan, add avocado or chiickpeas to your salad in place of the cheese. As long as the restaurant has the requested items on hand, you’d be surprised what modifications can be made.
• Aim to “eat in” once a day! Staying in for breakfast, brown bagging your lunch for the beach or eating last night’s doggy bag can save calories and dollars. Bringing along some low sugar oatmeal, cereal and/or breakfast bars, and peanut butter can do the trick. Head to the local farmer’s market or grocery store to keep fresh fruit and vegetables on hand for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
• Sample rich foods in “moderation” instead of feasting. Keeping calorie-laden foods to a small portion once a day will allow you to enjoy the “local” food while maintaining your desired weight.
• Take advantage of surroundings and go for a morning run on the beach or an afternoon hike. Take every opportunity to sightsee via walking.
• The mini bar in room is the start of many guilty extra snacks and drinks! Your wallet and waistline will thank you if you hide the key!
• As you know, traveling can dehydrate you. Add a few days in the sun and water requirements increase exorbitantly. If you can, keep ice cold bottles of water stocked in your fridge and have some water on hand wherever you go. Also, keep the triple digit calorie drinks at bay with unsweetened hot or cold tea, coffee, sparkling water, club soda or by adding some lemon or lime to ice water. Enjoying a drink or two is expected, but keep in mind that each alcoholic drink can add an extra 150-450 calories and added sugar.
• Challenge yourself to 5 a Day. Every day, make every effort to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables. You won’t only meet your daily fruits and vegetables quota, but you will feel more satisfied with the added fiber.
• Go easy on the condiments. Half of the grams of fat in Arby’s Southwest Chicken Wrap or Ultimate BLT Wrap comes from the ranch sauce or mayo. Limit intake of creamy sauces or soups, opting for ketchup, marinara, mustard or BBQ sauce, which tend to be about 25 calories per tablespoon.
• Take advantage of the abundant amounts of seafood in the nearby ocean. Seafood is a delectable way to get your weekly dose of fish that are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Make sure to order grilled or non-buttered fish as they are lower in fat and calories than the fried or battered dishes.

For your next beach trip, keep these tips in mind so you can have a little cake and eat some fruits and vegetables, too.

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. Her passions include traveling the world and experiencing new foods and cultures. 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: 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. For more info on Lisa or to schedule a consultation, visit here. Special thanks to Nikki Nies for her contributions in writing this blogpost.

Airport Nutrition 101: How To Make The Best Choices

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You may feel that once you hit the entrance of the airport for vacation, you’ve got a pass to indulge in all food that comes your way. However, we all know you’ve worked so hard to maintain a healthy weight, you don’t have to throw it out the window for a cinnamon bun, ribs and draft beer in one sitting. With simple strategic tips, you can kick off your vacation, yes, still at the airport, without overloading on calories, excess sugar and fat. In addition, since traveling can cause an increased risk of dehydration, constipation, circulatory problems and added stress, it’s more imperative than ever to be more mindful of how to select healthier options.

While each airport prides itself on their unique layout, many airports share the same staples of restaurants and food options, which is great for us, as a lot of the following tips can be used for domestic and international airports. Instead of just providing broad suggestions, we’ve taken a closer look into some fliers favorite go to kiosks, providing suggestions on how to opt for the less guilt free version of foods.

Tips for healthier airport beverage options:

• At Starbucks, skip a 16 oz. Caramel Frappuccino Blended Beverage with caramel sauce, milk, ice and whipped cream and opt for Caramel Frappuccino Light Blended Beverage with ice and milk, this will slash more than half the calories

Caramel Frappuccino Blended Beverage

Caramel Frappuccino Light Blended Beverage

Calories

410

140

Carbohydrates

37 g

29 g

Fat

3g

0g

Fiber

0g

0g

Protein

6g

3g

Sodium

100 mg

0 mg

Or, better yet, just drink it black (5 calories!).

Smart Tips For Healthy Airport Eating

1. When choosing salads, ask for the dressing on the side, or better yet, stick with olive oil and vinegar.

2. Choose fiber rich fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants. Many airport kiosks offer bananas, oranges and/or apples to go. Fresh fruit is a great airplane snack.

3. Prior to heading to airport, research airport’s website for the best place to grab a healthy meal. If you’re short on time for searching, Starbuck’s usually has healthy options.

4. Bring healthy, portable snacks with you to enjoy on your flight (i.e. apples, peanut butter sandwiches, carrots, nuts, dried fruit, etc). This is truly the best option if you have the time to pack up some food.

5. Before picking the first restaurant you see at the airport, take a lap around the terminal and check out what’s offered. Who knows, you may find a new favorite.

6. Stay hydrated by purchasing bottled water or unsweetened iced tea.

7. Avoid rich, greasy, fried foods as it can trigger acid reflux (also known as GERD) or an upset stomach on flight.

8. Aim for lower salt foods to avoid feeling bloated during your flight. Good choices to bring along include fresh fruit, cut up raw vegetables and unsalted nuts.

If you’re looking for a bit more direction in what to eat, look no further than your smartphone! With the Calorie King app, created and maintained by registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), it identifies menu options and their nutrition facts from over 200 chain restaurants, so you can make the best choices, whether traveling or at home. By using the above tips, your next flight and vacation should go smoothly, with a bit of healthy flavor, too!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is the author of The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad. For more info on Lisa, please visit here.  Special thanks to Nikki Nies for helping with the writing of this post.

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.

Healthy Eating Abroad- When in Rome

rome-restaurantRome, where civilization and religion essentially began, is a place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Enter a place where beauty is at every corner and one can spend hours admiring the craftsmanship put into a single building, a piece of artwork or a pasta dish that has been perfected over the years. The cuisine is something not to miss and as much a part of the experience of Rome as any other. When you experience a meal in Italy, you experience traditions that have been passed down for generations and embedded in every Italian. Meal time is family time and the typical Italian meal spans the course of 2-3 hours. There are also certain dining etiquettes one should be aware of beforehand. Check on dining etiquette in Rome. The traditional Italian meal consists of five courses. The first being an antipasti dish such as a charcuterie board or bruschetta. The main course is divided into 2 courses, the first called primo which is a pasta or rice dish, the second called secondo piatto is a meat or fish dish and contorni or side dishes may be ordered al-la cate. Dessert or dolce concludes the meal. So how does one not expand their waist line with a food culture characteristic of pizza, pasta, cheese and gelato? Here are a few tips that will allow you to enjoy the cuisine without overindulging.
1. For breakfast, order the cornetto semplice (similar to a croissant) without the fruit or cream filling. These cornettos are typically made with more sugar than croissants thus yielding a sweeter product to begin with. Biscotti are another lighter choice compared to other pastries as they typically do not contain butter. Also, opt for standing at the espresso bar to keep yourself on the go, to avoid additional charges that incur when sitting at a table and mingle with the locals.
2. Don’t feel pressured to order every course. Skip the antipasti and choose either a pasta or meat/fish course or chose to share one of each. Red sauce pastas are lighter than the cream based but there are just some dishes one must try while in Rome, Cacio e Pepe being one. Made with only butter, pecorino cheese, pepper, and pasta, the result is decadent and if done correctly the true test of Italian cuisine. Share this with your fellow diner.
3. Eat the bread with the meal not as a means to fill up before the meal arrives. Italians use the bread as an accompaniment to the meal, to scoop up the extra sauce but the bread is typically delivered to the table before the order is even placed. So you can cut an easy 200 calories by not eating 2 slices of bread before the meal.
4. Add in a hefty serving of vegetables. Artichokes and tomatoes in Rome are delicious! Order a salad and choose vegetable side dishes to accompany the main course. Or have them as your meal. For pizza and pasta, choose vegetarian.
5. Skip the dessert at lunch and dinner but enjoy single serving of gelato during the day when you are more active. Gelato is often enjoyed on-the-go by Italians. So have your sweet treat mid-day as you are walking around the city.
6. Engage in the Italian approach to mealtime. Italians eat leisurely, enjoying both the food and company. As a result they eat more slowly and allow themselves to experience the feeling of satiety before they over eat. It takes about 20 minutes for our brains to actually register that we are full. So, when you eat slowly, you will likely eat less.
And above all else, enjoy the Italian cuisine as it is not one to miss. Just keep portion sizes and moderation in mind. Buon appetito!
Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN. CDE, CDN is a nationally-renowned teen and adult weight management expert with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Lisa is the author of 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), the premier guide on healthy eating and weight management for teens. She loves to share her enthusiasm of eating healthy, traveling and staying fit. To find out more about Lisa, visit her website.

Vegetarian or Vegan: What’s the Diff?

Chicken Kebabs and Rice With increasing scientific studies promoting the health benefits of consuming plant-based foods, it’s no wonder vegetarian and vegan diets have surged as popular ways to eat. Many people choose to follow either diet for a variety of reasons. Animal rights, protecting the planet, religious beliefs, and improved health are just a few. Followed correctly, each can offer substantial health benefits such as lowering the risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer. However, if animal products are not substituted appropriately, the risk for developing deficiencies in certain nutrients, including protein, vitamins, and minerals is increased. Plant-based eating can improve your health–just make sure that your meals are well-planned, so you consume the nutrients your body needs.

If you’re interested in following either diet you should be fond of vegetables, whole grains and non-meat alternatives such as tofu, nuts, and beans as these will all serve as the basis for many of your meals. It is essential you take the time to educate yourself on how to properly follow these diets. If well-thought out and well-planned, nutrition deficiencies can be avoided, health benefits gained and you will be fit and fueled. To guarantee you follow a well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet, you should meet with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) to receive expert nutritional guidance.

Let’s look at these two styles of eating and see how they differ:

Vegetarian Diets

*Vegetarian diets can be sub-divided into a few different categories:
True vegetarians (also known as lacto-ovo vegetarians) avoid all meat, fish and poultry but do consume eggs and dairy products.

* Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but avoid eggs, meat, fish and poultry, and ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but avoid dairy, meat, fish and poultry.

*Similarly, “flexitarian” and “semi-vegetarian,” which are basically the same, describe a diet that consists largely of vegetarian items with the occasional meat, fish or poultry source thrown into the mix.

*Vegetarians who also eat fish are known as pescatarians.

True vegetarians typically obtain protein from dairy (milk, yogurt and cheese), eggs and soy products. Tempeh, a texturized protein made from soybeans, brown rice, millet and barley, and seitan, made from wheat gluten (a protein found in wheat), are two meat alternatives many vegetarians also include in their diet. With a wide variety of protein sources available, the vegetarian diet is easy to follow with little risk for deficiency.

Vegan Diets

Compared to the vegetarian diet, following a vegan diet requires more planning to ensure that adequate protein, vitamins and minerals are consumed. Vegans omit all foods from animal sources. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy and butter are avoided. Many vegans also avoid honey. With fewer options for protein, plant-based proteins, such as soy products (tofu and soy milk), protein-fortified almond milk, tempeh, beans, nuts, legumes, seitan, vegetables and whole grains become the staples at meals.

Those who want to follow a vegan diet need to make sure that they get sufficient nutrients, such as protein and calcium. To ensure adequate protein is consumed, a variety of these plant-protein foods mentioned above should be consumed regularly at meals. As stated before, you may want to meet with a RDN to ensure that the diet is well-planned. Because vitamin B-12 is found only in animal products, vegans need to supplement their diet with this vitamin.  Vegans may seek out fortified food sources, such as soy milk fortified with vitamin B-12, to obtain this vitamin or simply take in the form of a pill supplement. Since dairy products are not consumed, calcium can also become an issue so appropriate food alternatives, such as calcium-fortified tofu, soy or almond milk and dark green leafy vegetables, need to be included in the diet daily. If nutritional needs for calcium can’t be obtained through food alone, a calcium supplement should be taken. Vegans also need to pay special attention to getting enough vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc and iodine. In order to obtain the health benefits of either a vegetarian or vegan diet, either diet needs to be followed properly.

Differences between Vegetarian and Vegan Diets 

Vegetarian
Foods included: Milk, cheese, butter, eggs, grains, tofu, seitan, tempeh, nuts, beans, fruits, vegetables,

Foods avoided: Meat, fish, chicken

Vegan
Foods included: Tofu, seitan, tempeh, nuts, beans, whole grain breads and cereals, fortified-soy and almond milk, fruits and vegetables.
Foods avoided: Milk, cheese, butter, meat, fish. chicken, eggs, dairy (some vegans also avoid honey)
Nutrients which may be lacking:
Vegetarians should be able to easily meet all of their nutrient needs if they make healthy food choices.
Supplements required: Vegans need to take a vitamin B12 supplement. If food sources of vitamin D, iron, calcium, zinc and iodine don’t meet nutritional needs, a supplement may be needed.
Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN. CDE, CDN is a nationally-renowned teen and adult weight management expert with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  Lisa is the author of 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), the premier guide on healthy eating and weight management for teens. To find out more about Lisa, visit her website.

Stay Trim and Eat Healthy in China

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To truly immerse yourself in a culture, especially one that is far removed from your ow,n is the true definition of traveling. Whether you travel to the exhilarating Machu Pichu or soak up the rays in Turks & Caicos, there’s one factor in vacation destinations that can’t be ignored: the food. Depending on one’s taste buds and food preferences, that can dictate travel excursions. No matter how much you factor in food, China should definitely be at the top of your list of travel destinations!

You should head to China with a few ideas of where you want to go and how to best enjoy the food. Although making healthy food choices when traveling is probably not on your radar, you don’t want to end up feeling sick  when you are away. You want to feel GREAT so you can enjoy your experience. So let’s review Chinese cuisine!

Chinese soup

Here are some smart tips for healthy eating in China:
1. Limit fried foods.
2. Choose more vegetable dishes.
3. Go easy on refined carbohydrates: rice, noodles, dumplings, and sticky buns
4. Eat with chopsticks. Not only will it slow down intake, but locals will be more likely to give you menu and meal suggestions when they see you immersing in the culture.
5. Try a bit of everything, but don’t eat everything. Having a couple bites can help limit overindulging while getting the exposure to different flavors.
6. Cold beverages are deemed harmful to digestion of hot foods, so hot tea or hot water are served with meals. Tea is believed to help with the digestion of greasy foods.
7. Food is often prepared and served on small plates, “family style.” Be ready for direct pick-up and communal eating.

China-meal

While China can be divided into 57 cuisine regions, below are four of the more popular regions:
Szechuan (Sichuan): known for spicy, hot flavor; uses a great mixture of poultry, pork, beef, fish, vegetables, tofu in combination with pepper and chili; fast frying is most commonly used method
Cantonese: characterized by tender, slightly sweet taste; sauces are often light and mellow, including hoisin, oyster, plum and sweet and sour sauce; often see spring onions, sugar, salt, rice wine, corn starch, vinegar and sesame oil used; garlic can be heavily used; prefer stewing, sautéing or braising food, which helps to preserve the flavor
Hunan: “land of fish and rice”; fresh vegetables cooked “al dente”; favors steaming, stir frying, smoking and sautéing; special seasonings include soy sauce, tea seed oil, Chinese red pepper, fennel and cassia bark and spicy oil
Jiangsu: moderate saltiness and sweetness; places emphasis on the making of soups; abundant in freshwater fish and seafood from the Yangtze River and Yellow Sea

More to know about Chinese meals:
Desserts are less common, with sweet foods introduced during meal. For example, basi fruit and sizzling sugar-syrup coated fruits are eaten with other savory foods.
If dessert is served at the end of the meal, often times it is fresh fruit.
Soup is often served at the end of the meal to satiate appetite.

For any of you that have traveled to China, what other tips can you share? It’s hard to give specific “restaurant recommendations” as a lot of the great food is on the street kiosks and depending on what flavors you’re looking to try! Remember, when traveling, go in with an open mind and have fun! What regional cuisines are “must eats” for you?

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the new 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). Lisa is a nutrition specialist in travel nutrition, weight management and diabetes for teens and adults. She is in private practice with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Contact Lisa at eatwellrd@yahoo.com or for more info: www.lisastollmanrd.com. This blog was written by my nutrition blogger intern and world traveler Nikki Nies.

Four Tips to Avoid the Flu

Orange picFlu season is here! Why wait until it creeps up on you when you can follow some key strategies to help avoid it. Having a strong immune system can help you feel great and stay healthy. So plan your strategy and do your best to stay well this season. Here are four tried and true tips for beating the nasty flu. To your health! 1. Eat foods that boost your immunity. Foods that will help keep the flu away include almonds, mushrooms, fruits high in vitamin C such as strawberries, tomatoes, oranges and grapefruits, fermented foods such as yogurt with live cultures, kimchi or miso, green tea, kombucha, and garlic. Include at least a few of these foods in your daily diet. At breakfast, enjoy an orange or a small pink grapefruit along with your cereal or yogurt. At lunch, try an almond butter sandwich with a cup of green tea. At dinner, a grilled portobello mushroom burger or a bowl of steamy mushroom soup are two great ways to wind down your day. 2. Get enough zzz’s! Sleep impacts your immunity so don’t try to cut your sleep time short. Teens need 9 to 10 hours of sleep daily while adults can manage well with 7 to 8. Just like you would put work and the gym on your daily schedule, don’t forget to pencil in sleep! 3. Exercise! A good workout will reduce your chances of getting sick. Aim to exercise at least five times per week. If you can’t get to the gym, workout with an app or grab your pedometer (aim for 10,000 steps per day) along with your dog and go for a walk. 4. Wash your hands. Keep germs at bay by washing your hands frequently throughout the day. Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the new 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). Lisa is a nutrition specialist in weight management and diabetes for teens and adults. She is in private practice with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Contact Lisa at eatwellrd@yahoo.com or for more info: www.lisastollmanrd.com.

Eating Vegan While Traveling Abroad

IMG_2605Following a vegetarian, vegan or plant-based lifestyle has become extremely popular in today’s culture. Whether for health, sustainability of the planet or animal rights, the number of people adapting a plant-based diet is at an all time high. If you are a vegetarian, it is usually not difficult to consume a nutritious diet as you can omit the meat in restaurants, but still include dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt and eggs. If you adhere to a vegan diet, it can be a little tricky to meet your nutritional needs, especially when traveling, without some careful planning. People that are vegan do not consume any foods derived from animals. That means no meat, dairy or eggs. Many vegans also exclude honey from their diets.

If you follow a vegan diet and enjoy eating in restaurants, you may become familiar with the various establishments in your locale that offer vegan menu options or will oblige special requests and modify dishes to meet your needs. However, when you travel abroad you may find it difficult to find restaurants that will satisfy your vegan preferences. Google websites for vegan restaurants where you are traveling. You should find this quite helpful. Also be aware that you can order a vegan or vegetarian meal for your flight, but do so at least 48 hours in advance. You should be able to do this on the airline’s website.

If you follow a vegan diet exclusively, you should be aware that there are a handful of nutrients that you need to pay special attention to so you don’t develop a deficiency. These nutrients include protein, Vitamin B12, zinc, iron and calcium. Almost all foods except for alcohol, fruit, sugar, and fat provide some protein.

Protein’s role in the diet is to repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also important for growth and development in children, teens, and pregnant women.Vegan protein sources include: lentils, chickpeas, tofu, peas, peanut and other nut butters, soy milk and protein-fortified almond milk, almonds and other nuts, peas, seitan (wheat gluten), edamame and tempeh.

Vitamin B12  is required for the formation red blood cells, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. Vitamin B12 is predominately found in animal foods. It can be difficult to get sufficient amounts from plant-based foods. If you are traveling, it may be wise to bring a package of Red Star nutritional yeast that you can add to foods for protein and Vitamin B12. Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast contains only 45 calories, but has 6 grams of protein and 100% of the RDA for Vitamin B12. If you bring a small container of it to restaurants, you can add it to soups, pasta, rice and stews.

Zinc has many important functions in the body.  It’s needed to maintain the body’s immune system. Zinc is also required for cell division, cell growth, wound healing and the digestion of carbohydrates. Zinc is also essential for both smell and taste. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly. Plant-based food sources of zinc include white beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas, zinc-fortified breakfast cereals, wheat germ and pumpkin seeds. While traveling, try to  order entrees which include beans when dining in restaurants.

Iron’s role in the body is to carry oxygen to all of the cells. Iron sources for vegetarians and vegans include iron-fortified breakfast cereals, spinach, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, turnip greens, molasses, whole wheat breads, peas, and some dried fruits (dried apricots, prunes, raisins). For vegetarians, egg yolk is also a good source of iron.

Calcium is the most plentiful mineral found in the human body. The majority of calcium is found in the teeth and bones. Nerve cells, body tissues, blood, and other body fluids contain the rest of the calcium.  In addition to building strong bones and teeth, calcium also helps blood to clot, sends and receives nerve signals, and maintains a normal heartbeat. Calcium food sources for vegans include calcium-fortified soymilk, calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and orange juice, almonds, tofu made with calcium sulfate, and dark-green leafy vegetables, including broccoli, collard, turnip and mustard greens, bok choy. Vegetarians can get adequate calcium from milk, cheese and yogurt.

If you are a vegan and traveling, don’t forget to bring a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement that is 100% of the Daily Value (DV). Taking a daily multiple vitamin/mineral supplement that provides sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12, calcium, zinc and iron is a good way to ensure adequate nutrition while you travel.

Some helpful tips for ordering vegan meals in restaurants abroad include:

1. If the restaurant doesn’t have a vegan option, request a vegetable plate.
If there is a salad that includes meat or cheese, and no vegan option, request that the meal and cheese be omitted. Ask for beans and/or avocado to be added.
2. Bring packets of oatmeal, bags of nuts and vegan protein bars from home when you travel.
3. Download Happy Cow, the free app for iPhone, to find vegetarian and vegan restaurants around the globe.

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the new ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012). 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. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit: http://www.lisastollmanrd.com

What Can I Eat: Ideas for Healthy Meals and Snacks

   As a nutritionist, I’m regularly asked by my clients what are good foods to eat for meals and snacks. To answer that questions, over the years I’ve composed and updated this list. These meals and snacks all easy-to-prepare, high in fiber and will keep you full for several hours. Whether you are traveling or staying local at home. these suggestions can help you stay on track with healthy eating. Please note: I am not a consultant for any of these food companies. It is my professional opinion that they are all high-quality foods.

Breakfast:

*1 cup cereal such as Multigrain Cheerios or Barbaraʼs Cinnamon Puffins + 1 cup skim or almond milk + 1 small banana
*1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese mixed with 1 cup blueberries + 1 Thomasʼs Whole Grain Bagel Thin
                                                                                                                                                        *1 Arnoldʼs Whole Grain Sandwich Thin + 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter + 1 small banana
*Make a parfait: 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt + 1 cup cereal + 1/2 cup sliced strawberries (add 1 packet or teaspoon of sugar if not sweet enough)
                                                                                                                                                                                    *Breakfast sandwich: 1 Arnoldʼs Whole Grain Sandwich Thin + 1 scrambled egg + 1 slice 2% cheese (such as Cabotʼs or Baby Bel) + tomato slices + 1 orange

If you are in a hurry: grab 1 granola bar + 1 cup nonfat yogurt and 1 apple

Lunch:

*1 Arnoldʼs Whole Grain Sandwich Thin + 2 tbsp hummus + 1/4 avocado slices + 2 tomato slices + side of carrot sticks and cucumber slices. Finish the meal with 1 apple or banana.                                                                                              *Spinach salad: 1 bowl (2 cups) of baby spinach. Add 3 ounces grilled chicken + 1/2 cup small white beans + 1 tbsp sliced almonds or chopped walnuts + 1 orange, peeled and sliced. Dressing: 2 tbsp. lite vinaigrette.   *Whole grain wrap with baby greens + shredded carrots + sliced tomato with 2 ounces low fat mozzarella cheese. Finish the meal with an apple or orange.                                                                                                                                                                                                      *Turkey sandwich: 2 slices whole grain bread + 3 ounces turkey breast + 1/4 avocado, sliced + side of raw carrot sticks + 1 orange or banana.                                                                                                                                                                                     *Veggie burger: 1 Arnoldʼs Whole Grain Sandwich Thin + 1 veggie burger (Amyʼs, Morningstar Farms, Gardenburger or Dr. Praegerʼs are all good choices) + 1/4 sliced avocado or 1 ounce cheese. Complete the meal with 1 cup of fresh strawberries or blueberries.

Dinner:

*Pasta and veggie toss: 1 cup whole wheat pasta, cooked + 2 cups chopped and sautéed broccoli and cauliflower or 1 bag broccoli slaw, sauteed. Add 1 cup sliced grape tomatoes. Use 2 tsp. olive oil + 2 cloves sliced garlic for sautéing. When veggies are done, add pasta to pan and mix together. Complete the meal with 1 orange or small pink grapefruit.
*3 ounces grilled salmon on a bed of sautéed peppers, onions and mushrooms. Add a salad (2 cups) of mixed greens with 1 tbsp. lite vinaigrette. Complete the meal with a cup of strawberries.                                                                         *3 ounces grilled chicken + 1/2 cup brown rice + 2 cups roasted veggies (zucchini + red peppers + onions). Roast veggies with 2 tsp. olive oil and pinch of salt at 400 degrees till slightly browned. Make a salad with baby spinach + 1/4 avocado, sliced and fresh orange slices. Timesaver: You can make extra roasted veggies for the next day! Make a sandwich (for lunch) with the roasted veggies + 2 tbsp. hummus or 2 ounces low fat cheese OR toss with 1 cup whole grain pasta for dinner.                                                                                                                                                                                           *2 cups homemade vegetable soup or 1 can such as Amy’s + large salad (3 cups baby spinach or mixed greens + 1 tbsp chopped nuts + 1 chopped cucumber + 1 chopped carrot + 1/2 cup grapes (cut in half). Dressing: 2 tbsp lite vinaigrette.

Snacks:

*1 granola bar + 1 fresh fruit
*1/2 cup cottage cheese + 1 cup blueberries                                                                                                                                             *Smoothie: 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt or skim, almond or soy milk + 1 cup fruit. Fill blender with ice to top. Blend and enjoy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            *1 cup whole grain cereal (such as Multigrain Cheerios, Kashi Heart to Heart or Barbaraʼs Cinnamon Puffins + 1 cup skim, soy or almond milk                                                                                                                                                                                             *1 can Amyʼs soup, such as Minestrone or Vegetable Barley (look for soups that have 100 calories or less and at least 4 grams of fiber per serving                                                                                                                                                                                                                 *100 calorie bag of popcorn and 1 fruit

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the new ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012). 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. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit: www.lisastollmanrd.com