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 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,, for a consultation. We can come up with a plan that works for you and your busy lifestyle.

Eating Healthy Isn’t About Being Good

drive thruI’m seething over a comment made on a friend’s Facebook page. One of his friend’s told him to lose weight he needed to cut his calories to 1,200 per day and to work out. Those kind of comments make me crazy. There is no way that amount of calories is sustainable for him.

This was on the heels of a post I just finished reading by a blogger I generally enjoy. She claims she’s cutting calories by eating intuitively, yet she’s getting her meals from the drive-thru. That’s not intuitive eating. That’s eating only when you’re hungry and there’s a difference. Intuitively you would know your body needs vegetables. (to clarify: She is not ordering the salads at the drive through. Yes, it’s an option but it’s not one she’s taking).

There are some responsible eating plans around and then there are those that are restrictive. (I wrote about restrictive diets in my newsletter and how they can be harmful to your body. If you want to read more you can sign up for my newsletter here). A restrictive diet is not sustainable for the long-term and can cause damage to your body. I watch the binge dieters lose weight and then gain even more back.

Feeling like a failure and frustrated after falling off a diet can leave you thinking “I may as well give up since I can’t do it anyway.” The truth is not all diets work for everybody and some diets are flat-out ridiculous. Eating less and working out more isn’t the answer either.

Not all calories are created equal. 500 calories of lean beef or chicken, a sweet potato and vegetables is going to be much more filling and nutritious than a fast food burger, fries and soda. Eating real, unprocessed foods in normal sized portion is treating your body well, creating more energy for yourself and will leave you lighter.

Setting yourself up for success is not about willpower, it’s about creating good habits for yourself and simple mind shifts. You’re not good or bad because you eat a certain way. Eating healthy doesn’t make you good. It means you are making better choices to keep your body healthy.

Do you need help in making better choices and setting yourself up for success? Email me at and together we can come up with a plan that works for you.




Are the Ads Promising a New You Too Good to Be True?

I did itHappy New Year! Do you feel like you’re being bombarded by companies promoting diets, pills, gym memberships, magazine subscriptions and such trying to capitalize in on your New Year’s Resolutions? So much pressure and frankly it’s annoying. I’d love a get thin quick trick, who wouldn’t?

Unfortunately most of it doesn’t work. Exercise will help you lose weight initially you’re going to plateau unless you also change your eating habits. When most people don’t see a change during the month of January they quit going to the gym and revert back to their eating habits.

Change takes more than a few weeks. If you stick with the gym and healthier eating habits for 3 months you will see a change, your body will become stronger and leaner. In my experience, both with my clients and myself, it takes six months for those new habits to become routine.

That may sound long but by making small changes throughout those months you’ll be motivated by seeing steady progress along the way. It won’t be the quick weight loss promised in most ads but it will be something you can stick with past the month of January.

Need help getting your eating back on track without tricks? I am leading a detox beginning January 25. It’s also a good way to jump-start a new healthy eating plan. If you’re bloated, tired, out of sorts and still craving yummy foods this is for you. If you don’t want to be stuck eating only salads and drinking smoothies this is for you.

It’s not for you if you’re looking for a quick weight loss program, although you will lose a few pounds. As with any short-lived program if you go back to eating extra helpings of food, treats and excess sugar you’ll gain the weight back. It’s not a miracle worker.

I’m here to help guide you and support you, to give you the helping hand and gentle push. With the detox you’ll get over 40 pages of recipes for meat lovers and vegetarians alike, meal ideas, daily check ins, preparation guide, step by step detox guide and what to do post detox.

If you would like to sign up for the detox or want more information please click here.



Are You Avoiding Juicing for One of these Reasons?

GroceryBagI want to piggyback on last week’s green juice blog. I’ve received some questions and comments that I’d like to address

I see juice cleanses everywhere. Is this a good way to lose weight?

I don’t recommend juice as a meal replacement. It’s not a complete meal since it’s missing protein and fiber. For meal replacement you would be better off with a green smoothie to which you have added a form of protein.

Additionally while green smoothies make a great light meal it is more helpful to learn how to eat whole foods and normal sensible meals.

I hate cleaning the juicer.

My advice is to rinse it right away or soak it. Once that gunk gets caked on it’s really hard to scrub off. I have a masticating juicer which is much easier to clean than the last type that I had.

It’s time consuming.

Scrub your produce when you buy it, washing it in advance cuts down on some of the time. It also makes life easier when cooking in the evening. You can also chop some of what you want and put into containers or baggies for the next day. This way almost everything is ready to go.

It’s expensive.

I buy what is in season and more shelf stable items I buy in bulk. A bag of lemons is cheaper than buying them loose. The large bag of carrots lasts a while and is also more economical. Shopping in your farmers market or at a bulk store are also great ways to save money.

I am passionate about the benefits of green juice and smoothies. Enough so that I want to offer you a free challenge. I will support you, give you recipes and tips along the way. Here are the details:

Green Drink Challenge

I will be leading a 21 day green drink challenge beginning June 29. The challenge is to simply add in a green juice or smoothie every day for 21 days. That is it. You don’t need to change anything else in your diet. You may find that you want to after a few days of green drinks but it’s not mandatory for participating in the challenge.

Why? To increase your energy levels and vitality, feel better, look better and an improved sense of well being.

Cost? It’s free.

How ? There will be a Facebook page so you can stay accountable and receive support along the way. There will be tips and some recipes along the way.

How to sign up: Like the Empowered Plate on Facebook and send me a message that you would like to be included in the 21 day Green Drink Challenge. 

Cheers! Janine

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,, for a complimentary 30 minute consultation. Together we will come up with a plan that is customized for you.



How to Enjoy Vacation without Sabotaging your Healthy Diet

manateemailboxI’ve been on vacation and it’s was a great week. It’s fun to get out of my regular routine and have a relaxing week at the beach. Yes, I still ran and worked out but I got to swim and sight see too. Running was a bit more fresh because it was flat and I got to see different things than usual. My favorite? This manatee mailbox that is all ready to party.

I’ve been eating some things out of the usual as well. We visited the Holiday Snack Bar for some homemade cake and pie. The pecan pie was crazy good, not too sweet with lots toasted pecans.

It’s vacation and I’m not overly strict about what I eat. If I want a treat I will have it. To me it’s not vacation if no pancakes are involved. Happily there are places that offer gluten-free items here so I can indulge without issue. I want to feel good and I want to enjoy my treats, not end up regretting what I had.

I think there’s a balance of enjoying, feeling good and having fun. I exercised because I enjoy it, not to punish myself for what I’ve eaten. I believe that when we feel our best we make better choices and we enjoy those indulgences. My goal is to feel great and enjoy the experiences around me.

Tonight will be roasted clams on the barbecue. I have the perfect white wine to go along with them and I’m go to savor both of them!

Do you need some help with making better choices? Do you wish you could lose weight and not feel punished? Email me,, to set up a 20 minute complimentary laser focused consultation. Together we can come up with plan tailor-made for you.

What’s that on Your Plate?

food-plateLast year I posted on the USDA food pyramid and how it was changed to a plate. The difference is that recommendations for 1/2 the plate consists of vegetables and fruits, one-quarter for whole grains and one-quarter for protein.  Dairy was off to the side in a glass.

I eat pretty close to that but I don’t drink milk and I tend to add salad along with that.  I realize I eat more of the Mediterranean Food Pyramid than the American standard.  You can learn more about it here: Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid.  It’s about plant-based foods, olive oil, minimally processed foods, some fish, some poultry, minimal dairy, low in sugar, and maintaining a healthy weight.  It sounds good to me.

Not everyone can tolerate the same foods though.  Some people can’t tolerate gluten, some can’t tolerate dairy and others have trouble with certain vegetables.  Added to that there are a bunch of different dietary theories with conflicting ideas.  It’s confusing and it’s hard to know which theory is correct.

The thing is no one diet works for everyone.  It can be both frustrating and a relief to hear that.  Some people really do need to eat less carbohydrates and others really do better on less protein.  I do best with less sugar, minimal dairy, a lot of greens and a balance of whole grains and protein.  I only know this through experimenting and the elimination diet.  (which is not as creepy as it sounds, you give up a certain group of food for 10 days and then add it back in. to see how you feel).

Do you know which foods give you the most energy, leave you feeling satiated and not bloated, and have you powering through your day?  And, on the flip side, do you recognize which foods leave you feeling sluggish and too tired to go on without some sort of boost from caffeine or sugar?  It can really help with your day-to-day life as well as any sports or competitions that you participate in.

Helping people figure this out is what I do.  I’m available for in person consultations as well as phone and email.  Send me an email,, or leave a comment if you’re interested in learning more.  I’d love to hear from you!