Staying Healthy While Traveling with Prediabetes

cropped-20140803-210352-758327041.jpgIf you have prediabetes, hopefully you are familiar with strategies to lower your blood glucose and avoid the progression to diabetes down the road. Making the right 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 at home, 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. However, you should strive to keep up the healthy lifestyle choices you keep at home. 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.

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

  • Avoid sugary drinks. Drinking sweetened beverages is a quick way for blood glucose levels to rise. Avoid sodas, juices, and sugary coffee beverages. Instead, enjoy water, seltzer, or unsweetened tea or coffee.
  • For breakfast, skip the sugary cereals and baked goods. Try some oatmeal or 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.
  • Make sure you eat balanced meals when going out for lunch or dinner. Fill half of your plate with fruit or vegetables, and include whole grains and lean protein, such as tofu, beans, grilled fish, veggie burgers, or chicken.
  • 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.
  • For dessert, try to order fresh fruit or some plain yogurt and fruit. If you order something very sweet, try to keep your portions smaller.
  • Keep up your exercise. A great and easy way to do this while traveling is to walk to some of your nearby destinations. Aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking per day.
  • 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, rice cakes, or some mixed nuts. Stock up on some of these snacks before you leave home, so you always have a healthy snack on hand.
  • 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 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, Anita Renwick. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here.

Vacation Tips: Encouraging Your Kids To Eat Healthfully

old orchard beach, maine

While it may be hard enough to get ourselves to maintain a healthy diet while on vacation, ensuring that our children stick to one can be quite the challenge. It is common for children to consume lots of processed snacks and restaurant comfort foods while on vacation. However, with some planning and creativity, a vacation can easily turn into a learning experience for kids to try new foods and gain an understanding of what healthy options they can choose from when they are away from home.

Follow these tips to promote a healthy family vacation:

  • Plan ahead. Look up restaurants online ahead of time and plan where you are going to eat. Going to restaurants that you know offer healthy options is more beneficial than driving around looking for places to eat.
  • Limit soda intake. Order water for everyone at the table. To make it more interesting, you can ask for lemon and lime slices on the side for kids to add to their glasses to make their own infused water. By allowing them to create their own drinks, they may be more encouraged to drink more water.
  • Pack your own travel snacks. Provide options for your children so they do not feel restricted with only one kind of snack. Giving them the power to choose between healthy snacks will give them more of a sense of satisfaction with the snacks you have provided.
  • If you have to stop somewhere to buy snacks, pick a few healthier options like nuts, fresh fruit, popcorn, and whole grain pretzels for them to choose from. That way, they won’t head straight for the potato chips, but will still be happy to have the opportunity to choose which snacks they would prefer.
  • Create some ground rules. Maybe a rule you set is that your children have one treat per day. Making the treat something specific to the locale you are in (like clam chowder bread bowls in San Francisco) makes the treat particularly special and not something they will be able to desire daily. Perhaps the rule could be ‘one sweet drink per day’. Instead of water, your children may be able to order a small serving of chocolate milk or juice during one meal. Setting up rules ahead of time lets your children know what to expect so they are not surprised if you put limits on what they are allowed to order.
  • Focus on new foods. Check out the lacl cuisine before you get to your destination. Children are more open to trying new foods while they are visiting new locations. Introducing them to new healthy foods (like kale or salmon) while on vacation can instill a lasting preference for those foods later on.

Family vacations are about enjoying time spent with loved ones and having fun. Though it won’t hurt to have a treat once in a while, setting good guidelines and examples for your children can instill good habits, whether they are on the beach or at home.

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.

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.

Eating Healthfully in Amsterdam

A beautiful city rich in history, art, culture, architecture and canals, Amsterdam, if you haven’t been, is a magical place you should add to your bucket list. Its a great walking city with so much to see and do. Try to visit in spring so you can catch the gorgeous tulips in full bloom. Walking along the canals and viewing the beautiful houseboats is a great way to spend an afternoon. It’s also a great way to build up an appetite. Amsterdam is a melting pot of ethnic  cuisine, with a lot of Asian influence, due to it’s history as a major trading port.

Amsterdam houseboats

Although never thought of as much of a food town, Amsterdam is slowly coming into it’s own. One of the wonderful things we noticed on our recent trip was the delicious variety of vegetable-laden dishes offered on many menus. Unlike many eating places, where vegetables take up just a small  spot on the plate, restaurants here placed the vegetable front and center. After a beautiful morning visiting the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, a delicious lunch was had nearby at Warsteiner, a cute pub that dates from 1753. Order a vegetable omelette and be pleasantly surprised. Loaded with an abundance of fresh vegetables and salad, this glorious egg dish was a lovely light meal to fuel lots of walking.

veg omelette Amsterdam

For a delightful dinner, I highly recommend Humphrey’s, where the menu is heavy on plant-based fare. The Eggplant Sushi was terrific. We will definitely be going back there on our next trip.

Amsterdam eggplant sushi

There are also delicious ethnic places to choose from. Sir Hummus is a wonderful hummus and falafel spot and a great choice for lunch. Probably some of the best hummus I’ve ever tasted outside of Tel Aviv.

Amsterdam hummus

Stepping into a tavern to escape the afternoon rain was also another experience for another tasty lunch. Nieuwe Zijde is a cozy wine bar with great food. This delicious Grilled Vegetable Sandwich was a standout.

Amsterdam grilled veg sw

 

Last, but not least, do try to enjoy a favorite local Indonesian meal known as Rijsttefel, which literally means “rice table.” It’s approximately 44 courses (give or take) of small plates composed of Asian vegetable dishes with chicken, meat, fish or tofu. And served along with a bowl of steamed white rice. It can be quite spicy. If you love Asian food, don’t miss out. And a great place to give it a try is Sampurna.

 

Amsterdam rijsttafel

It was such a great experience, to not only explore all Amsterdam has to offer in art and history, but also to savor delicious cuisine. We will be back!

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 also the author of the ebook 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.

 

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.