Work Travel: Success with Meals on the Road

My job for the past 5 years has involved a large amount of travel, both flying and driving. I find that most salespeople and travelling professionals in general find the same weaknesses: airport food options and alcohol. For those that don’t drink, they usually happen to enjoy the dessert menu.

So, as a salesperson traveling 50-80%, what is it that makes my food choices “work”? I’m not going to say I’m an expert meal planner or bring my portion containers on the road because that’s just not the truth, I’m realistic. I have found the world of travel is finally at a point it is catching up with this trend and most of us can finally find SOMETHING. Now, whether or not we choose to still get that Sbarro’s pizza and Auntie Anne’s while running through Newark airport? That’s on you!

Here are some calorie/content safe items I feel are relatively available:

  1. Replace the chips with popcorn. If at all possible, a low salt and non-flavored variety. I find popcorn is a food that is great for satisfying the act of eating and is a great light snack. The calorie savings can be between 100-300 calories versus chips or snack mix varieties.
  2. Skip the soda for a bubble water. I’m a soda fiend. I have struggled with my addiction to the bubbly stuff for years and have only recently found that a La Croix or lime Perrier satisfy this carbonation itch. Thankfully, airport snack shops just recently added more Perrier selections and even Smart Water Sparkling. I can’t express how huge this is. I HATE water without bubbles so this has saved me gallons of soda purchases in only a few months.
  3. Opt for Shake packets and a Travel Blender/Cup for Breakfast. I could go through the healthy options at the Hampton Inn breakfast buffet which are pretty obvious. But seriously, the fact that it is a buffet makes extra snacking and bad choices far too easy. I would eliminate using it all together if you struggle already with food choices. I rely on my shake for a nutritional energy boost in the morning. Frankly, it also tastes better than plain oatmeal or a hard boiled egg. When you get a shake that comes in travel-friendly packet and have an easy to clean shaker packet- all you really need to add is water and some ice from the ice maker down the hall. Voila, Ready for the road!
  4. Dinner Hacks. Facing the fact that you are on the road, you know dinner with customers, bosses and fun colleagues is where every food plan can go awry. I suggest this: avoid an appetizer, pick one alcoholic beverage to sip on (if you are having one at all) and make sure to get plain proteins (fish fillet, chicken breast, steak) and match it with a veggie versus a starch (eliminate the mashed potatoes, breads, fries and pastas). Always skip dessert and if you must indulge find someone that will share!
  5. Get home and get back on the wagon. No matter how good you are at choosing foods on the road, its rarely as good as home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients and limited processed foods. I would even recommend, after long trips or several weeks going back and forth to do a refresh. If you haven’t tried one, a 3-Day refresh is probably one of the easiest and best things to happen to me to get on track. Day 1 and 2 can be rough coming off sugar and carbs, however, by Day 3 you are actually craving the healthy foods and it makes for an easy transition towards an entirely healthier lifestyle.

 

I’m driving the point home now, I am by no means perfect and have failed miserably at consistently eating great. I am a firm believer in the 80/20 principle and find I have great results when I allow myself to have some delicious unapologetic meals on the road and not beat myself up. But this only works when you are eating well most of the time.

Please comment/ add-in any tips you’ve come up with on the road.

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The Protein to Include in Every Diet: Shrimp

I know one thing I can always make for dinner and I’m happy, the husband is happy, and its easy to add to almost any dish- shrimp. Luckily, it’s also an amazing source of protein. In my clean eating groups on Facebook I try to highlight this for all the seafood lovers out there. A frozen bag will do but you can usually get a good deal on it at the grocery store if you look! One article I found on a cancer survivor’s meal guide that had these nifty facts:

  • Shrimp are an excellent source of selenium(essential trace mineral important for cognitive function, a healthy immune system and fertility for both men and women)
  • Shrimp are unusually low-fat, low-calorie protein
  • A four ounce serving of shrimp supplies 23.7 grams of protein (that’s 47.4% of the daily value for protein) for a mere 112 calories and less than a gram of fat
  • Shrimp also are a very good source of vitamin D and vitamin B12

 

Nutrition aside, the variety of ways to cook and prepare shrimp are boundless (cue Bubba from Forest Gump recipe ideas!). Whether steamed shrimp and cocktail sauce is the perfect appetizer or you crave a decadent pasta dish – with healthy trade-offs and portion control you CAN eat that on a diet. I chose a few recipes to share that are both healthy and unique and I look forward to trying a few in the coming weeks so I welcome comments and suggestions as well!

 Shrimp Salad Stuffed Avocados

shrimp stuffed-avocadod

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, pitted
  • 2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. raw, de-veined shrimp (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 c. corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • 1/4 c. Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Basil, for garnish

Preparation

  1. Scoop out avocados, leaving a small border. Dice avocado and set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add shrimp and cook until fully cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Let cool, then chop into bite-size pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, toss diced avocado with shrimp, tomatoes, corn, greek yogurt, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide salad among 4 avocado halves. Garnish with basil.

 

Shrimp Curry

shrimp

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 (2-inch-long) piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (preferably Madras)
  • 1 to 2 fresh serrano chiles, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low fat)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb)
  • Accompaniment: cooked basmati rice
  • Garnish: lime wedge

Preparation

  1. Pulse onion and ginger in a food processor until finely chopped. Cook onion mixture with salt and sugar in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder and chiles and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Stir in water, coconut milk, and lime juice and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. While sauce simmers, peel shrimp (devein if desired) and season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve immediately.
Garlicky Grilled Shrimp and Couscous
shrimp-2
Ingredients
Marinade
  • 1½ lbs. jumbo shrimp, cleaned + deveined, shells removed
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tbsp. white wine
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
Garlic butter sauce
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • ¼ c. white wine
Couscous salad
  • 1 c. dry whole wheat couscous
  • 2 ears of corn, cleaned
  • ½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
Lemon vinaigrette
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ⅓ c. roughly chopped parsley
  • salt + pepper to taste
*Because the couscous salad needs a little time to chill, make sure to start that first before you grill the shrimp.
Preparation
  1. For the couscous salad, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, remove the corn and place onto a cutting board; do not discard the water. When cool enough to handle, shave the kernels off the cob.
  2. In a large bowl, add the dry couscous. Cover with 1 cup of the reserved hot cooking water. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 5 minutes. When ready, drizzle with olive oil and fluff with a fork to prevent sticking. Spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
  3. For the vinaigrette, add the lemon juice to a small bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Add the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. To finish the salad, add the cooled couscous, corn, and cucumbers to a bowl. Pour over the vinaigrette. Mix well to combine and chill before serving.
  5. For the marinade, place the shrimp, garlic, white wine and olive in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Marinate for up to 15 minutes (any longer and the shrimp will get rubbery).
  6. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill the shrimp for about 3-4 minutes on each size. Grill time will vary depending on the size of your shrimp. Transfer to a platter.
  7. To make the sauce, add the butter, white wine, and garlic to a small pan over low heat. When the butter is melted, and the garlic is fragrant remove from the heat.
  8. To serve, pour the garlic butter sauce over the grilled shrimp. Arrange the couscous salad on the side with extra lemon and olive oil, if desired.

Sources:

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/g3235/healthy-shrimp-recipes/?slide=1

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shrimp-curry-231646

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/08/13/shrimp-recipes_n_1367998.html

Your Fork: NOT the Enemy

We all have had a moment where we have the fork in our hands looking at a delectable dish, mouthwatering and we are ready to DIG IN. The problem comes with the associated guilt we have either before (while looking through that menu gazing beautifully back at us), during (that moment is now..that fork is your hand ready to go) or even after (you are full, maybe too full…oh maybe you shouldn’t have..).  Why is this?? When did this start exactly? Well according to nutritionist, Lynn Penrose, this is a recent construct of society and in extreme forms it’s actually considered an eating disorder. Penrose states it is in fact a direct creation of the media.

All stemming from labels of food as “good”, “bad”, “healthy” or “unhealthy” we envision that we are in breach of some white and black eating regimen and shame ourselves. This persists and grows subconsciously in us because those labels continue to surround us in every form- tv, articles, blogs like this, until we are repeating it ourselves. This manifests itself into behaviors around avoiding things when really it’s quite obvious, of COURSE you can eat dessert! All in moderation. Moderation is a scary word for many and it can be a challenge to know what that point is for our own mental health. I think those that suffer with obesity and other eating disorders can benefit from positive reinforcement which, as a woman, I hope to share more often. That positive reinforcement shouldn’t be “no don’t eat that” but “yes, you had a tasty bite (or two or maybe three) but you didn’t eat the whole pie”.

The next time you and your fork are hand-in-hand oh so in love with the plate awaiting you- resist that guilt and let go for a minute. Hey, that’s what exercise is for anyways!
Fork

 

**Credits: http://www.hercampus.com/health/new-eating-disorder-you-might-not-realize-you-have-food-guilt?page=2**

Image: Shutterstock