Staying Trim on Summer Vacation

Italy_V_Amalfi_Beach

As the weather starts getting warmer, you may be looking to plan a summer getaway. Before you set off on your summer excursion, make sure to follow some of the tips below to stay fit and trim on your vacation. With the many options at restaurants and all of the snack temptations around, you may find that it may be easy to over-indulge. However, the key to staying trim and fit on vacation is to eat in moderation. When you get home, you will feel recharged and not have to worry about any of the decisions you made while you were away. Eating in moderation still allows you to enjoy the local foods but also helps you keep healthy habits!

Travel Tips:

  • Know your portion sizes. Don’t be afraid to ask to have a portion of the meal boxed up to take back to your room for later. You can also split an entree with a friend and save money at the same time!
  • Opt for healthy fats. Instead of eating deep-fried and buttery foods, order foods rich in unsaturated fats like nuts, olives, and local seafood.
  • Customize you meal orders. Request to change a side order of fries to a salad, order sauces on the side, and opt for whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
  • Exercise regularly. Walk to attractions whenever possible, go swimming, use the hotel gym, or go on a local hike. Find time every day to be active.
  • Drink enough water. Traveling may dehydrate you a little extra during the summer. Make sure to drink enough every day by keeping a refillable water bottle with you wherever you go.
  • Eat in. You don’t always have to go to restaurants to eat every meal. Visit local markets and buy breakfast supplies that you can toss together in your hotel room. Buy local fruits and vegetables for snacks to take with you throughout the day to satisfy your hunger.
  • Eat comfort-style foods in moderation. You do not have to cut yourself completely off from trying local rich foods, but limit your intake so you can still enjoy the foods, while staying trim in the process.
  • Drink Sparingly. Though it is expected that alcohol may be consumed, avoid consuming sugary alcoholic drinks, and limit consumption to one or two drinks. Wine or a wine spritzer are two good choices.
  • Make meals more satisfying by focusing on consuming fruits and vegetables. Adding at least five portions of fruits and vegetables per day will keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day and provide the fiber necessary to maintain digestive health.
  • Savor your meal time. Though you may be eating on the way to the next destination, try to eat a sit-down meal instead of eating fast food or eating while traveling. This way, you will enjoy your food more, and feel more satisfied throughout the day.

Keep these tips in mind on your summer trip to ensure a healthy getaway!

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.

Healthy Travel Tips For Before You Go Abroad

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Getting ready to travel abroad for even a few days can be truly exasperating. From making sure your passport is ready to-go, to making sure your hotel  (and for some, school courses) is confirmed and any required vaccinations are up-to-date. There are SO many loose ends to pull together, it can make your head spin. But don’t fret. Make a list of what you need to have done, so by the time you get comfortable in your plane seat, all of your to-dos will be checked off. Keeping a list and checking it off as you finish a task will help you reduce any stress. If you want to keep a list online in one convenient place, try the Finish app (available for free) in the Apple store. You can list your “to-dos,” set deadlines, and check them off as they get completed.

Order Your In-Flight Meal
If you aren’t usually fond of the typical airplane fare, or have special dietary requests, you can order a special meal usually up to 48 hours before you depart. Many airlines will let you order your special meal request online. There’s a vast variety of meal selections to choose from. If you have any allergy or intolerance such as celiac disease, you can be assured that you can find dairy-free or gluten-free  in addition to a host of other diet modifications.  To find the list of available meal selections, visit your airlines website and do a search for special meal requests.

Familiarize Yourself in the Local Food Culture
Familiarize yourself with the local cuisine where you will be traveling. Learn the  names of popular dishes and what is in them. Becoming familiar with the food will help you when dining in restaurants. You can check the Internet for the cultural foods at your destination country. Then you’ll be aware of the foods offered on local menus, whether you’re grabbing a meal at the hotel cafe or fancy restaurant. It’s also wise to plan ahead and check out the menus online of any restaurant you plan to visit. This way you’ll know if you should make a reservation or find another spot. Especially if you have food allergies or intolerances, you need to be informed in advance of the local cuisine and the potential allergens or ingredients it may contain.

Pack Some Food
Quite often when we are overwhelmed with just the thought of travel, we somehow forget about the food. You don’t want to get to the airport and take for granted that you will get a delicious meal served to you inflight and will find all the foods you love at home, when you get to your destination. So what should you do? Plan ahead! Staying well-fueled with good food will keep you feeling healthy and energized. Buy some healthy foods that are portable to bring along with you on the plane. Healthy granola bars, such as KIND or Kashi, are great for a snack or have two for breakfast! Bags of nuts and dried fruit are also good choices. Trader Joe’s sells large bags of individually-wrapped trail mix that’s great for traveling abroad. You can also pack a couple sandwiches for the flight. Peanut butter and banana on whole grain bread is a healthy sandwich to bring along. Also hummus, avocado and tomato on whole grain bread is delicious and quite portable.
Food To Bring
1 to 2 sandwiches for the plane
Fresh or dried fruit
Energy bars
Trail Mix
Individual bags of nuts

Bon Voyage!

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.

How to Eat Well in a Persian Restaurant

Chicken Kebabs and RiceIf you have never had the pleasure to enjoy a meal in an Iranian or Persian restaurant, you should add it to your bucket list and  make a plan to go without delay. If you’ve experienced this cuisine, you’ll never forget the wonderful flavors and fragrances that permeate this delectable food. Persian food includes a wide variety of vegetables, including eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes, rice dishes and combinations of herbs and spices that are unique to this cuisine, including cinnamon, sumac, saffron, and cumin.  Many of the foods are grilled, making it a healthy  choice for most. Like other Middle Eastern countries, the food of Persia has been influenced by its’ neighbors and conquered regions at various stages throughout its’ history. Thus there has been shared culinary influences to and from Turkish, Mesopotamian, Levantine, Greek and Central Asian cuisines, with smaller touches from Russian cuisine. Persians love their rice, so you will also see a vareity of rice dishes available to accompany the main course. The rice with sweet and sour cherries ( Abdalo Polo) is a MUST. You shoould definitely not miss this fabulous dish!

Dishes You Will Likely See On A Persian Menu

Appetizers
Kashk-Bademjan: Cooked eggplant in homeade tomato sauce topped with yogurt
Mirza Ghasemi: Mashed grilled eggplant with tomato, garlic & egg
Dolmeh: Grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs
Humus: Crushed chickpeas, tahini paste & seasoning
Babaganoosh: Baked eggplant with tahini paste, garlic & seasoning
Sambuseh: Crispy fried dumplings stuffed with chickpeas & herbs; served with spicy chutney
Stuffed Pepper: Green pepper stuffed with ground lamb, rice & herbs, slowly simmering with light tomato sauce
Salad Olovieh: Chicken & potato salad with eggs, green peas & carrots

Kebobs
Vegetarian Kebob: An assortment of grilled vegetables served with humus                                      Fish Kebob: Usually salmo,n char-grilled with spices                                                                              Chicken Shish Kebob: cubes of marinated boneless chicken;char-grilled                                             Jujeh Kebob: Pieces of bone in Cornish hen in lemon saffron marinade; char-grilled
Koobideh Kebob: Skewers of chopped beef; char-grilled
Beef Shish Kebob: Cubes of Angus beef lightly marinated & char-grilled
Lamb Shish Kebob: Cubes of marinated boneless baby lamb; char-grilled

Accompaniments
Mast Khiar: Homemade yogurt mixed with cucumbers& mint
Mast Esfenaj: Homemade yogurt mixed with sautéed spinach & garlic
Panir Sabzi: Fresh basil, tarragon, mint, radish, scallions & feta cheese
Torshi: A traditional Persian mix of chopped pickled vegetables                                            Mediterranean Chopped Salad: Usually includes chopped tomato, cucumber, green pepper, parsley, lemon and olive oil.

Tips for Eating  Well in a Persian Restaurant

It’s easy to make good choices in a Persian restaurant as the entrees all tend to be grilled.

  1. Portions tend to be large, so sharing is ideal. The platters of rice tend to be quite big, so it’s wise to order just one plate or rice for two to four people.
  2. A good way to start the meal is with a plate of the various dips. This will provide you a taste of many flavors, all to be enjoyed with the delicious pita bread.
  3. For dessert, share one serving of baklava or ask for fresh fruit.
  4. Try mint tea to accompany your meal as a healthy alternative to soda or alcohol.

Tips For Various Health Issues

If you are trying to lose weight: Opt for grilled vegetable, fish or chicken kebab. Ask for extra vegetables in place of the rice. Or share one plate of rice with the table. As all portions are usually large, consider sharing your main course if you are also having an appetizer.

If you have heart disease or high cholesterol: Choose the vegetable or fish kebab as these are the lowest in saturated fat. If they have salmon, that’s an excellent choice.  For an appetizer, the humus, babaganoosh or salad would all be ideal. The yogurt is made from whole milk, so it will be high in saturated fat. Share with the table if you would like to try it.

If you are vegetarian or vegan: Choose the vegetable kebab as your main dish. There are many side dishes that are vegetarian and/or vegan. If you are vegan, try the humus or babaganoosh. Most salads are also vegan. You can always ask for the cheese to be deleted. For vegetarians, there are many yogurt dips to also partake. These pair well with the delicious pita bread on the table.

If you have prediabetes or diabetes: All of the kebabs are good choices. To lower the glycemic index of the meal, ask for vegetables in place of the rice. When it comes to dessert, if you desire something sweet, ask for fresh fruit. Mint tea is a great way to end the meal. It also promotes healthy digestion.

Favorite Persian Restaurants in NYC

Just in case you’re planning a trip to NYC in the near future, here are our fave picks. Enjoy!

Revagh

Persepolis

Colbeh

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 and 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.