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Fighting the Road Warrior Flab Battle…and WINNING

2 Nov

Eating healthy is hard.  Eating healthy while maintaining a busy life is even harder, especially if that lifestyle includes travel and busy workdays where meals are often “on the fly” and the majority of the “running” you do is from meeting to meeting or to catch a last-minute flight.  Sound familiar?  As a dietitian with a travel position, I often find it challenging to maintain a dietitian-ESQE lifestyle while on the road.  Here are some tips for preventing TRAVEL FLAB.

1. ALWAYS have healthy snacks along. 

  • Nuts like almonds or walnuts.  Planter’s makes a great South Beach nut mix.
  • Snack bars.  These are great to keep in your suitcase or briefcase.  *Hint*–Watching your weight?  Choose snack bars that are NOT your favorite type or flavor.  This will help to make sure you eat them when you are truly hungry rather than out of boredom.
  • Whole fruit.  Apples, bananas & oranges are great, portable options.  I always throw 1 or 2 in my suitcase before leaving the house.
  • Emergen-C.  No, this isn’t necessarily a “snack”, but it is a necessity when traveling.  Stock your suitcase with a handful of these  vitamin supplements to sip on.  Hotels, airplanes, rental cars, with travel comes LOTS of germs!  Germs paired with long days and late nights can wear you down.  Drinking 1 Emergen-C packet a day will help boost immunity.

Here are a few snacks that I brought with me on this trip…

        

2. Avoid fast food, gas station & airport FOOD TRAPS. 

  • Plan ahead.  Bringing snacks along with you will help to satisfy you before you cave to the Cinnabon smell in the airport. 
  • Grocery stores are your friend.  Stopping at a grocery store, rather than a restaurant will almost always save you some fat, sodium and calories, not to mention some of that per diem$$.  In fact, today I stopped at the grocery store when I got off the plane and picked up a Greek yogurt, string cheese and an apple.  This snack held me over until lunch, and was likely the key to helping me pass up the “reduced fat” coffee cake at Starbucks!

3. Water, water, water!

  • Carry a water bottle at all times.  I’m always sure to throw an [empty] water bottle in my bag that I fill up once through airport security

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  • Would you like a water with that salad/meeting?  It can often be hard to find somewhere to refill a water bottle on the road, so take advantage of GOOD water when it is available.  Order water at a restaurant, accept that bottle of water when a client offers, and choose water over other beverages when stopping at a convenience store.

4. Exercise. 

  • Always pack workout clothes.  You’ll feel guilty unpacking them if they were never worn!  Don’t forget your tennis shoes.
  • Get moving, no matter what.  I get it, you had an early flight, you’re tired, and have 50 emails to catch up on. But, you will feel much better and be more productive if you fit in some activity.  There really is NO excuse when there is a gym just and elevator ride away.  It doesn’t have to be a full workout, but take your book and read on the stationary bike or walk on the treadmill as you watch your favorite sitcom.  Just 30 minutes will help you to relieve stress, sleep better and (whooohooo) burn calories!
  • Take advantage of time traveling.  Traveling back(west) in time zones?  Wake up at your usual time and you just earned an extra 1-3 hours for your morning workout!

And, one final tip for the day….one thing NOT to buy when on the road, gummy vitamins.  I ended up with vitamin syrup after leaving these in my rental car today…

 

Fresh Fruit vs. Dried Fruit

9 Sep

While fresh fruit and dried fruit both provide the body with a variety of nutrients, fresh fruit is typically recommended for weight control diets for a few reasons.  First, dried fruit is more calorically dense than fresh fruit.  For example, picture a half cup of dried apricot  halves and and half cup of fresh apricot halves.  The measuring cup with dried apricots in it will have more apricots, hence more calories.  The reason for this is that the majority of the water is removed from dried fruit.  Now, imagine two people eat this fruit.  Both will eat 1/2 cup of fruit, but the person eating the apricots will be eating more calories than the person eating the fresh apricots.   The water content of fresh fruit helps us to feel satisfied without adding extra calories.  Another reason why dried fruit is often made out to be the “bad guy” when it comes to weight control diets is that it is often coated in sugar, adding additional calories to it. 

While fresh fruit is usually the best choice because it is less calorically dense and it’s higher water content helps to make us feel full, it is not always as convenient as dried fruit.

Dried fruit can be a great snack sometimes!  Here are some tips:

  • Read labels.  Make sure there is no added sugar.  The only ingredient should be fruit!
  • On-the-go snacks.  Dried fruit can be a great snack when fresh fruit is not available.  Think about packing some dried fruit when you travel or keeping some in your desk at work.
  • Shelf stable.  Dried fruit is a nutrient packed snack when refrigeration is not available.  Think about bringing dried fruit on your next hike or roadtrip.
  • Portion control.  Remember, dried fruit is more calorically dense than fresh fruit.  Measure out 1/4 cup portions into individual bags so you don’t overeat.

“That’s icky!”-Your Picky Eater

28 Aug

Parents often get upset that their children are picky eaters, however there is actually a physiological reason behind these picky eating habits.  Children have a much more sensitive sense of taste than adults.  As we grow older, we lose some tastebuds in our mouths and those that remain become less sensitive.  This can explain why as people grow older they may find that they have developed a taste for foods that, as a child, may have seemed too spicy, bitter, or sour. 

The best way to lessen a child’s picky eating habits is to offer a variety of flavors and textures in his meals from the beginning.  This will broaden the child’s taste pallate, making him or her less likely to be hypersensitive to strong flavored foods.  It is important to remember that it may take a few times of offering a new food for the child to develop a taste for it.  A good rule of thumb is to offer a new food 15 times to a child to allow for him to discover whether or not he has a taste for it.  When dealing with a picky eater it is important to remember that constantly giving in to the child’s picky eating habits, like giving him or her the bland, “kid friendly” foods such as, chicken nuggets or hot dogs, is the best way to promote these picky habits.