healthy eating

7 Strategies for Eating Healthy on the Road

[guestpost]Today I would like to welcome my friend, Jan Tilley, to the blog. Jan is a gifted author and dietician, and her new book 'Eat Well to Be Well' is available now. I'm excited to be giving away a few copies of her book on today's blog, so enjoy the post and be sure to comment below for your chance to win![/guestpost] As a dietitian and professional speaker who is very accustomed to traveling for business, I can tell you that eating healthy while traveling may not be easy, but it is not impossible!

Page1Many of my clients struggle with making healthy choices on the road.  I have a client who entertains customers at dinner several nights a week.  As a part of our counseling, he asked me to go with him to dinner to teach him to make healthy choices at a steakhouse.  What I discovered was that he was making fairly healthy choices but his portions were way out of line.  He started the meal with a large shrimp cocktail, followed by a Caprese salad, a 12-ounce rib eye steak with a loaded baked potato, red wine, and dessert.   None of these were horrible choices, but the overall combined meal exceeded 3000 calories – way more than he needed for the entire day!  For our meal together, I made the following suggestions:  small shrimp cocktail, house salad with dressing on the side, 6 oz. petite filet, steamed vegetables, one glass of red wine, a decaf cappuccino for dessert.  With just a few small changes, he was enjoying a delicious, well-balanced dinner at the same restaurant for less than 700 calories!  To remind him to order wisely, I asked him to repeat to himself as he made his selection from the menu, “the only meal I need to get right is this one, I am only one meal away from success!”

Here are 7 tried and true strategies to help you maneuver the challenges of making healthy food choices on the road:

  1. Drink water. The goal is ½ your body weight in ounces.  If you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim for about 75 ounces of water a day.  This will serve two purposes – it will keep you feeling fuller and it will prevent you from thinking you are hungry when really you are just thirsty!
  2. Stick to your normal eating schedule. If you eat breakfast at 7:00 every day at home, then try to stick with that time on the road.  Traveling is not an excuse to miss meals and snacks.  The goal is to eat about every 3 hours to stay energized for your day.  Be sure to pack or purchase healthy foods (think apples, carrots, nuts, jerky) to prevent hunger and maximize productivity.
  3. Keep it real! Avoid processed and fast foods that are laden with fat, sugar, salt and a list of chemicals your body doesn’t need and doesn’t know how to process!  When faced with making difficult choices on the road, look at the menu to determine which choices are made up of primarily vegetables and lean protein without a lot of high-fat sauces and toppings.
  4. Limit or Avoid Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can be a huge calorie trap!  A couple of tips to remember; make lower calorie choices such as a low-calorie mixer, beer, or wine and when consuming alcohol, have one drink followed by one very big glass of water before deciding to have another.
  5. Protein is Your Friend! Eating protein stabilizes your blood sugar and keeps you feeling satisfied.  Carbohydrates are digested quickly and leave you feeling hungry again very quickly.  If you will make it a habit to eat lean protein every 3 hours throughout your day, you will be much less likely to overindulge in the evening.
  6. Eat Breakfast. Start your day right with a healthy, protein-rich breakfast.  This will prevent making bad choices midmorning when you are starving!
  7. Free isn’t FREE! Conventions and events are notorious for providing piles of decadent foods for meals and snacks.  It is tempting to load up to keep yourself entertained and awake during meetings, then have some extra to take back to your room for an evening snack.  This spells trouble for your waistline!

For more tools on building a healthy you, check out Jan’s new book, Eat Well to Be Well.  Jan is a powerful thought leader in all things health and wellness.  In the book, she translates the most current science-based information into easy to read tips and tools for making healthy choices in how we eat, sleep, exercise, and manage stress.  Eat Well to Be Well is available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, and on Jan’s website at www.jtawellness.com.  In addition to her knowledge as a medical professional, Jan is quite the foodie.  On her website, you will find thousands of tried and true healthy recipes along with past blogs and health resources.  While visiting the site, be sure to sign up for Jan’s weekly newsletter!

Homework

Get a copy of Jan's book and equip yourself with tools for making healthy choices! I am giving away three copies here on today's blog. If you would like a chance to win one of those copies, leave a comment below sharing your favorite tip for eating healthy while traveling.

Winners will be announced in the comment section, as well as by email, on Friday.

Healthy Holidays

[guestpost]Today we welcome guest blogger, Gretchen Holcomb. Gretchen is the newest addition to our team and has some excellent ideas to share with you about how we can enjoy the holiday season without neglecting our health.[/guestpost] There are three things about me that my loved ones all know about me: I always have a plan, I set goals for myself regularly, and I love helping others.

About a year and a half ago, I combined these aspects of my life to lose some weight, adopt new healthy habits, and lead some family and friends in this same initiative. When I started my health journey it became clear to me that if I wanted to lose weight I had to break some old bad habits and develop some new good ones. These are a few habits that have been essential for me to implement in order to achieve successful results.

  • Eat 6 small meals each day, balanced with lean protein and good carbohydrates.
  • Drink at least 100 oz. of water every day, or half your body weight in ounces.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes 3 - 5 days a week. This can be as simple as walking.

Homemade pastry and roasted poultry on festive table

With the holidays coming up, it can be difficult to avoid the temptation of traditional dishes and delicate desserts. Here are some extra tips that have helped me along the way:

  • Focus on friends and family, not the food. Make it a goal or a game to learn 5 new things about 3 people at the party.
  • Stay out of the room where the food is, so you aren't tempted to graze. Just think "out of sight, out of mind!"
  • Eat before you go to the holiday party. Make sure the meal includes a balance of protein and good carbs.
  • Keep water close. Take a water bottle with you where ever you go.
  • Offer to bring a healthy snack to the party, like a veggie tray. This way you are sure to have at least one healthy choice at the event.

Although weight loss can be an added bonus to getting healthy, I find that when I practice healthy habits I sleep better, my heartburn is reduced, and I'm even able to focus and think more clearly throughout the day.

The first step toward health is educating yourself on the benefits of creating healthy habits. If you are interested in learning more about how simple, healthy habits can make a significant impact in your overall health, click here to support a new book, “Eat Well to Be Well,” from our friend and Registered Dietician, Jan Tilley.

HOMEWORK

Identify one of the tips provided and commit to practicing that habit over the holiday season. Comment below and let us know which one you choose so we can encourage you along the way!

Eating Healthy While Traveling

[guestpost]Jan Tilley is the President and CEO of JTA Wellness, a national leader in nutrition counseling, wellness, and chronic disease management. As a registered dietitian, Jan helps at-risk clients develop a healthy lifestyle to combat chronic health issues. Holding a MS in Nutrition, Jan has over 20 years of experience in the food and nutrition industry. Thank you, Jan, for contributing to the blog today! [/guestpost]

On the Road . . . Again!

Healthy eating on the road can be challenging even for the most seasoned road warrior! Finding healthy food when traveling is not impossible, it simply takes a little preplanning and good ol’ fashioned street smarts to set yourself up for success.

First let’s tackle the basics of healthy balanced eating. It is as simple as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Eat every 3 hours. Our body digests a meal in about 90 minutes so if you are going longer than 3 hours without food you are asking your body to operate on no fuel. Food is the fuel our body uses to keep us energized, focused and productive. Without it we get fatigued, foggy and grumpy.
  2. Carbohydrate + Protein or Healthy Fat. The combination of foods we choose matters greatly! Carbohydrates are our body’s first choice for fuel and are converted quickly to glucose to fuel our brain and muscles. They are digested very quickly and if eaten alone, can cause us to feel dissatisfied and constantly hungry. By adding a protein or healthy fat we slow the digestion of the carbohydrate allowing us to stay feeling fueled and satisfied longer. This combination keeps our blood sugar and our energy to stay stable throughout the day.
  3. Don’t let your hunger get ahead of you! What happens when you allow yourself to get extremely hungry? The tendency is to overeat and make bad food choices. I often see this in my clients who eat very little throughout the day then eat everything in sight at the end of the day attempting to get satisfied. I like to demonstrate this concept using a hunger scale. janguest The goal is to eat within a 3-hour window all day and always balance carbohydrate food choices with either a protein or a healthy fat to stay between a 4 (beginning to have some hunger pangs) and a 6 (satisfied) on the scale at all times.

Practical Tools for the Road

  • Right-size your portions. If you are traveling with a friend or spouse, consider sharing a plate. Usually ½ of a restaurant portion is enough to satisfy if you’ve been fueling all day long.
  • Divide your plate into quarters. Think about what you are planning to order and make sure that ¼ of your plate is protein (i.e. chicken, fish, beef), ¼ is starch (i.e. sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice), and ½ your plate is fruit, non-starchy vegetables and salad. Using this mental exercise will ensure that you are including a variety of nutrients and balancing your meal.
  • Travel days can be difficult. Eating in airports or on road trips can be tricky. Plan ahead to have single-serve healthy, shelf-stable snacks available. Great ideas can be peanut or almond butter packets, nuts, Babybel cheese, Somersaults, jerky, KIND bars, 100-calorie olive packets, light popcorn and pretzels.
  • Limit alcohol. Providing empty calories with little nutritional value, alcohol can decrease your good judgment and drinking in excess can result in poor sleep. Recommendation is 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
  • Focus on choosing anti-inflammatory foods. A common complaint of travelers is the bloating, swelling, uncomfortable feeling that can result from making poor food choices. Choose more vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy and stay away from pro-inflammatory foods such as highly-processed foods (think chips, cookies, pastries), saturated fats (think sausage and ice cream), and sugar.
  • Take your tennis shoes! Hotels have a gym – use it! You will feel energized, revitalized and ready to ‘kill it’ at your next meeting!

Travel and over-indulging don’t have to go hand in hand! For more information on how to make healthy lifestyle changes, visit my website and sign up for our weekly newsletter to receive my motivational blog along with one new healthy recipe a week.

Take charge of your health and refuse to let travel days get in the way of a healthier, happier you!

Homework

Plan healthy food options before your next trip. Research some healthy restaurants and pack some healthy snacks. Keep a food journal and see how you do! Comment here and let us know how it goes. I'd love to hear about your experience!