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11 Helpful Tips for Healthy Eating on the Go

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

For those of us who travel for business or even for fun, healthy eating on the road can be a challenge.  No matter where you go, fast food stops and gas station mini marts pervade along the path, with too few healthy options in between.  Hotels and airports can be especially challenging when you’re tired and hungry with no backup plan.  We’ve all be stuck with nothing between us and the $6 bag of gummy worms but a growling tummy, and by then it’s usually too late.

So don’t get caught unprepared, try these 11 helpful tips for healthy eating on the go to carry you through!

  1. Whether you’re flying or driving plenty of water in your reusable bottle. Even if you need to dump it before you get on the plane, the flight attendants can refill it for you during the flight.
  2. At restaurants, avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. Did you know that on average 40% of calories consumed come from a cup or a bottle? Even fruit juice has a high concentration of sugar and calories while it lacks some of the nutrients and other benefits of whole fruit. When one cup of apple juice contains 27 grams (almost 7 teaspoons) of sugar, it’s a good idea to limit quantities to no more than one serving per day and substitute fresh, whole fruit as often as possible. Opt for water, coffee or unsweetened tea to quench your thrist without all the sugar (and salt) most bottled beverages contain.
  3. Eat breakfast. At a hotel continental breakfast, choose, plain Yogurt or hard-boiled eggs are good sources of protein. Avoid sugary yogurts, muffins, sweet-rolls, and pre-sweetened cereal.
  4. At a coffee shop or fast food restaurant, look for light options like breakfast wraps or a breakfast burrito, which usually contains less fat and calories than a typical breakfast sandwich.
  5. Eating lunch and dinner on the road usually means going to a restaurant. Don’t spend too much time at fast food restaurants; instead opt for full-service restaurants that offer more healthy choices.
  6. Start your meal with a full glass of water, even if you’re not all that thirsty. Most of us can use the extra hydration, and the temporary feeling of fullness will help you to keep from overordering.
  7. Decide what you’ll eat before you arrive at the restaurant. If possible, check the menu online or if not, visualize your healthy choice before you let the allure of fancy-sounding descriptions entice you. Just ask your server to suggest 2 or 3 lighter entrees that get the most compliments.
  8. Use the Restaurant Rule of Two; you can order and reasonably healthy entrée you want, but you can only have 2 additional items with it. That could be and appetizer and a piece of bread, or a dessert and coffee, or 2 pieces of bread, you just can’t have it all. Studies show that people who apply this rule of thumb eat about 25% fewer calories. And yes, drinks like wine and beer count as an item.
  9. Recognize that many restaurants serve portions containing more calories than are recommended for one person. Consider sharing an entrée, or asking the server if there is a half plate option. If you end up with a super-sized portion in front of you, ask the server to wrap half to-go before you even get started.
  10. In a restaurant, sit where the slim people sit. Brian Wansink, a food psychologist and Cornell-based researcher reports that people order differently depending upon where they’re seated in a restaurant. In fact people sitting farthest from the door eat the fewest salads and are 74% more likely to order dessert. Set yourself up for success by sitting far from the kitchen or bar, in a well-lighted area, near the window, at elevated tables and far from the TV.
  11. Learn menu code. Menu descriptions are designed to make foods sounds as appealing as possible, but some words are a lot more caloric than others. Researchers matched more than 200 menu descriptions of items from chain restaurants with their calorie content. Here are some high calorie and low calorie words to watch.

High Calorie Words:  Buttery, Creamy, Crispy/crunchy, Smothered, Alfredo or white sauce, Fried/Deep fried/Pan fried, Scampi, Loaded

Low Calorie Words:  Seasoned, Roasted, Light, Fat-free, Reduced, Fresh, Marinated, Broiled

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