Staying active and eating healthy while on vacation

Bike riding on vacation

Bike riding at the beach

I get asked why I workout on vacation and do I also watch my eating while I’m away. I workout mainly because I feel best when I do. It’s also a great way to get a little time to myself and to explore my vacation spot. I often vacation with family and that hour or two by myself gives me energy and peace.

I carry fitness bands with me so I can strength train and on rainy days I’ll do a fitness video from YouTube or Fitness Blender. There is something to be said for running and biking in a new place. It makes the time fly by and I meet some interesting people. If you have run with me you know I stop to pet ALL the dogs who want to be pet. On vacation I stop for photos of things that interest me along the way. It keeps the workout fun and I have a digital memory of the sites.

Food is slightly more complicated. I bring snacks with me for the car (or plane) ride. I keep healthy snacks on hand for a quick breakfast before a workout or to tide me over to the next meal. I stock up on fruits and vegetables, keep oatmeal, whole grain breads, chia seeds, and sunflower butter on hand for breakfast and healthy options around for lunch.

I rented a house on our last trip so I generally ate breakfast and lunch there. Dinners were split between going out and grilling at the house. I enjoy a salad with both lunch and dinner to help keep me full and get my veggies in. Sometimes lunch is a large salad with some protein.

I do have dessert because I enjoy it. I get the smallest cup of ice cream, sometimes that’s the kiddie cup, or I get some local treats to share with the rest of the family. Dark chocolate also makes a good treat and a square or two is all I need to satisfy me.

When I am in a hotel room I still keep healthy snacks and breakfast on hand. If breakfast is included I usually choose the same options I would have at home: eggs, cereal, yogurt, fruit, etc. If there are waffles I will splurge one day and eat one; lunch that day is a healthier choice.

One thing I generally skip are mixed drinks, I would rather get my calories elsewhere. I do have a glass of wine or a beer but most days I leave it at one. Obviously there are exceptions and I don’t sweat about them.

I keep my choices healthy about 80% of the time on vacation. It’s an easy way to stay in balance without feeling deprived.

What are your tips for staying healthy and still enjoying yourself while on vacation?

Do you need help creating a balanced and healthy eating plan? Email me at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com and together we can come up with a plan that works specifically for you.

Does Eating a Healthy Lunch Seem Impossible?

takeoutMost of my clients seem to have a problem with lunch. It’s hard when they order food with co-workers or have limited choices in the area. Being able to eat a bagged lunch isn’t always an option when you are an EMT or detective on call so we talk about making the best choices possible with the options available.

I also talk about how they actually feel when they order the General Tso’s chicken or loaded pizza. Usually it’s never a good feeling: tired, bloated, gross and/or nauseous. “But it tastes so good while I’m having it. And the healthy choices aren’t really fun.” (and yet it’s fun to feel gross)?

Lunch doesn’t have to be a salad in order for it to be a healthy choice.And it’s not the best choice if it leaves you hungry and raiding snacks 2 hours later! There are plenty of foods that are filling, delicious and leave you feeling energized.

So how do you meet the challenge of ordering a healthy lunch without feeling deprived?

  • Think about how you are going to feel afterward.
  • Order a food you actually enjoy.
  • Order a salad, sautéed vegetables or a broth based soup to start.
  • Choose foods that are not covered in batter, fried or drenched in sauce or cheese.
  • Add vegetables to your entrée.
  • Have a half-cup of whole grains (about the size of 1/2 a baseball)
  • Stick with water for your beverage or unsweetened iced tea.
  • Choose fruit if you need to have something sweet after eating.

Many menus have lighter choices or special diet options available. It’s a good way to see what the better options are and lets you tailor your order accordingly.

Need help making better choices in your eating plan? Email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, for a consultation. We can come up with a plan that works for you and your busy lifestyle.

Is Eating Before a Party a Good Idea?

FingerfoodcaterersBrisbane_zpsa7a324e5I’ve received that diet advice a lot. “Eat a meal before you go and you won’t be tempted by the food there.” Really? Does this work for you? I get to the party and see food I really love and think oh, well I’ll only have a little of this and that, after these tastes I’ve had another meal.

My other least favorite trick is to not eat so that you “save up” for the dinner. By the time the party comes you’re irritable, if not downright mean, and you’re starving so you start hoovering up everything in sight. Including foods that you may never eat if you weren’t so hungry.

So what’s a person to do? Eat healthy normal meals during the day and have a small snack before you go to the party so you aren’t famished. A handful of nuts, some trail mix or fruit are all good quick choices.

Once at the party pick the foods that you enjoy, sit down to eat and savor them. If you want dessert pick something small  and enjoy it. If small portions aren’t available have a few bites and give it to someone else or toss it. No starving children will be saved by you cleaning the plate.

Then go and talk to people. Mingle, keep yourself busy and find ways to stay away from the food. Say you’ll go eat after you talk to Tom and then start talking to Sue right after that. The less you focus on the food the better time you will have anyway.

A final tip, alternate your drinks with water so you’ll consume less. Go easy on the mixers as they tend to have a lot of sugar and added calories. Stick with club soda or seltzer as a mixer with a splash of juice for taste/color. I do that and then switch to seltzer with lime.

Need more help navigating the holiday parties and foods this season? Send me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, for a complimentary 30 minute consultation. Together we will come up with a plan that is customized for you.