Friday, May 3, 2013
Every so often I turn this blog over to a guest writer who's written a particularly powerful and/or constructive piece about food, but who doesn't have a forum of their own. This time I welcome travel and food enthusiast Cole Millen.
Cole Millen is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life's best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate "experiences." Some people plan a trip to "get away," while others realize benefit of adding something greater to their current repertoire of knowledge, thought and emotion. Through my writings, I hope to influence the earlier, and connect with the latter.
Eating Healthy on Your Vacation: The Healthy Diner
You're vacation is now in full swing. You've successfully navigated the diet pitfalls of both the airport and your first night or two at the hotel. Maybe you didn't eat out much the first night, or even the first day, but it is your vacation. Eventually, you will probably eat out. If you do it right, eating out doesn't have to be a diet buster. Simply keep a few reminders in the back of your head.
Choose the right restaurant
The biggest decision you can make to save your diet is choosing a location that won't do everything possible to bust you. Choose a restaurant that will be offering the healthiest possible options. Usually, authentic, ethnic Mediterranean cuisine is your best choice. Greek and Indian style places tend to offer flavorful and naturally healthier menus. Fish and seafood places are also good choices, but they have plenty of dangers as well, including obscene amounts of butter and fried options. Avoid classic American menus at all costs, such as burger-joints and anything that offers fried foods as its main choices.
Doing a little research and planning out your meals prior to your departure can go a long way. On a recent trip I was researching for healthy hotels and stumbled upon a great site that listed reviews for hotels in Las Vegas not only regarding the amenities offered, but also for the surrounding restaurants in the area. These reviews were extremely helpful and led to me not only booking a great hotel with a complete fitness center, but also being able to find the most nutritious and delicious restaurants in the area for my vacation. Needless to say, with this preparation I was able to have a great time and maintain my healthy lifestyle.
Eat before eating
Many dieters feel guilty about going out to eat. Some will delay going out. They will end up going long hours without eating anything, and by the time they do get to the restaurant they are starving. Don't wait until you're starving half to death to eat out. Be proactive. Eat a small healthy snack, such as piece of fruit, some whole-grain crackers or a yogurt, less than thirty minutes before you leave for the restaurant. This will curb your initial craving and help you avoid the first two diet bombs at the restaurant: bread and appetizers.
Sometimes the bread is unavoidable. It's just a part o the meal they give you by default. Restaurants are, however, increasingly asking customers if they would like bread. Just say no. The bread served is usually unhealthy white or french bread, although some restaurants do serve whole-grain breads or breads with oats and seeds. You can ask for healthy breads or just skip it altogether.
That brings us to appetizers, the ultimate doomsday weapon in the diet-killing arsenal. Appetizers are perhaps the worst enemy you have yet faced on this journey. With few exceptions, appetizers are carb and fat loaded monsters that emphasize fried foods. Many have nearly as many calories in them as a full entree. If you have properly prepared by eating before eating you will have little trouble saying no to appetizers.
Select your meal with care
Choosing your entree is equally important. You can fall back on most traditional diet wisdom here. Aim for lean meats such as chicken or fish that are baked or grilled instead of fried. If ordering pasta, ask if they can prepare it with whole-grain noodles, and choose red or pesto sauces instead of cream or white sauces. A salad can be a great addition. Be sure to ask for the dressing on the side so that you can control the amount. Most restaurants smother their salads in an inordinate amount of dressing.
Smart diners will ultimately find themselves having a great time on vacation without having to sacrifice their healthy lifestyle.