Tag: Diet

Travel Swellness: How to vacay without letting the all-inclusive buffet and open bar ruin your diet

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All of the guacamole, tacos, ceviche and margaritas, por favor!

What? Don’t tell me those aren’t your plans when you hit up an all-inclusive in Mexico! As if. Yep, that’s definitely what came to mind when I booked into my calendar my upcoming Cancun getaway thanks to the folks from  Expedia.ca.

I’m off to Playa Mujeres after carefully selecting a vacation on Expedia.ca and as you know, all-inclusive resorts are all about that over-indulging life. I think we all fall victim to wanting to get your money’s worth, and become gluttonous fools when faced with open bar and a buffet. 

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So how to not let the all-you-can-eat buffet ruin your typically healthy and reasonable diet? I try to stick to the M.O. I do at home:

Start by assessing what’s being served at the entire buffet. If you just start at one end of the buffet, adding to your plate as you walk along, you may end up with foods in your plate you don’t enjoy as much as other dishes you come across later on. A quick walk-through (including the dessert table so you know if you need to save room for that) will prevent this from happening.

Serve yourself small portions. I used to take what would be a typical serving of, say, potatoes. But I often just want a taste of a dish, so I now serve myself one or two baby potatoes (meticulously scooping up just two as though I eat like a bird when I so don’t) rather than a ladle-full. It doesn’t make for a good foodie Instagram, haha, and I know I probably look like the kind of person who counts precisely how many almonds for a serving (it’s 23 almonds btw, these are the things you learn when you cover health and food…) , but if you only want a small taste, just a spoonful is just right. Also, if you want more, you can always get seconds. Better to take less to start with rather than over serving yourself and having it end up either in your belly because you’re mindlessly eating or because you feel pressure to eat your plate clean, or in the garbage.

If you don’t like it, don’t eat it. You’ve taken something from the buffet that wasn’t as tasty as you thought it would be. And maybe you were brought up to eat all the food on your plate, or maybe you feel rude or guilty with the staff seeing food that’s barely been touched on your plate, but that’s something you have to get over. I suppose it’s a bit like the Marie Kondo decluttering method but for eating; if it’s not bringing you joy, get rid of it.

Be as picky about what and how much you drink as you are when it comes to, oh I don’t know, who you date. Unless you’re a dating machine who swipes right all the time. Well, just be selective when it comes to your drinks, OK? We all know that booze is empty calories. And I remember my first few all-inclusive vacations, I drank sugary, frozen neon cocktails (because those were the only cocktails served)  from morning til night even though I found them generically sweet with little actual flavour and quite unappealing. That same trip, we stopped into a chic boutique hotel where we sipped mojitos by the pool bar–a proper mojito with fresh mint and top-shelf rum–and it was so refreshing and delicious and such a difference from the cheap drinks I’d been downing. Quality over quantity. If your resort serves incredible cocktails, well, you can try the drink-water-every-other-cocktail trick to keep your sugar and calories lower than it’d be if you were steady drinking daiquiris.

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You are on vacation, though. So don’t be so rigid with how you approach your meals and drinking hat it gets in the way of enjoying yourself. We all deserve a treat now and then. You know I believe in a healthy balance when it comes to most everything in life. Also, when I start to feel like I’ve been over-indulging, it’s just extra motivation to go to the gym before parking myself in a cause longue, or going for a long walk on the beach. And in the end it’s just a week; a week of relaxing when it comes to your diet won’t be the end of you.

And, besides, guac is made with avocados, which is loaded with healthy fats (but that doesn’t mean you can go ahead and eat a mountain-size serving! Remember, I said a taste or two that you truly enjoy.)

My Expedia.ca vacation is booked (check out my tips on how to find the right resort for you here) and, although I’ve flown into Cancun airport several times to go to Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujeres, it’s my first time staying in Cancun, and I’m looking forward to fun in the sun with one of my besties. Any Cancun recos? I’d love to hear about them, and about what your vacay plans are. 

Leave a Comment December 1, 2016

Foodie Swellness: Healthy fueling with PRANA

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I feel like I’m always on the run. Both literally (training for a race) and figuratively — with my flex schedule, I’m typically dashing from one event to another during the day and into the evening sometimes, or heading out to meet friends for dinner or a workout.

Which means I need to make sure I’m fueling my body well. I have had some days that I’ve scheduled so tightly so that I can get all of the meetings and events done back to back that I forget to include a meal. Doh!

So I value healthy snacks as much as I do my meals. Besides helping prep me for my workouts and restore my energy after a sweat sesh, wholesome snacks help me get through the flights and long waits in airport lounges when I travel.

PRANA is one brand that’s a mainstay in my kitchen. This Canadian brand’s products are certified organic, and they’re also all vegan, kosher, preservative-free and sulphate free. That’s not all, they’re also non-GMO, too. And they taste great. Do a blind taste test of say their almonds against some you buy in bulk, and I swear you won’t be able to go back.

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I try to have a small breakfast every day and a snack 30 minutes to an hour before I exercise (without a snack to give you a small boost, you could be low on energy and this could mean you’re won’t be able to workout to your full potential). Greek yogurt is a usual go-to for me and I top it with PRANA raw almonds. I use their almonds when it comes to dessert, too — by adding a drizzle of honey to the yogurt and nuts, or by eating a few almonds with a piece of dark chocolate (I always seem to have a steady supply of plain dark chocolate at home, one of the perks of my job is a lot of chocolate!).

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I also am unexpectedly a fan of chia pudding, which I make with PRANA ProactivChia. Unexpectedly because I can see how the texture is off-putting to some people, but when you top it with fresh fruit, some coconut chips, and yes, PRANA Almonds, the crunch and flavours make it less “slimy” (as one friend calls it). I find it’s a nice change from the Greek yogurt and I like incorporating probiotics into my diet when I can for a healthy gut.

And I prefer PRANA ProactivChia because it’s not just chia seeds, but the brand’s exclusive blend of chia and probiotics. In fact, each serving of PRANA ProactivChia provides 4 billion live probiotics, which helps promote healthy gut flora (while the chia is a good source of fibre, omega-3s and calcium).

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And because half of my life seems to be on a plane or waiting in an airport lounge, in my handbag, I keep something from PRANA to snack on, such as this Kilimanjaro Deluxe Chocolate Mix. Just a small handful, though; I have to remind myself to watch portion sizes when snacking on nuts and trail mix, because I could easily just keep eating and not realize I’m polishing off the package (in case, you’re wondering, a serving size of this Mix is a ¼ cup). Best of all, with its mix of almonds, walnuts, cashews, sultana raisins, dried cranberries and dark chocolate, I can feel good about my snack providing protein, antioxidants, fibre and vitamins A and C.

But since I tend to crave savoury snacks more often than sweet, I dig much more often into PRANA Coconut Chips, They’re dry roasted so they’re nice and crispy (so there’s that satisfying crunch I crave!) and I’m partial to Jive (the Spicy Chili flavour). So they’re good replacement for the potato chips I would eat daily if I could without hurting my health.

With a focus on healthy, wholesome snacks such as those from PRANA, I have the energy to make it through my active lifestyle feeling energized. And I haven’t even yet tried all of the products from the wide PRANA range (I’m definitely eyeing the PRANA Sumsuma sesame squares!). Oh, and for that chia pudding, it’s simple to make: just add three tablespoons of chia to one cup of liquid (I usually use coconut milk but I’ve also made it with almond milk; you can use the milk of your choice!).

Bon appetit!

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Leave a Comment October 14, 2016

Foodie Swellness: Getting back on track with SodaStream Power

SodaStream Power

You know when you have so much going on that you feel like you’re just barreling through the day to get things done, but with no particular plan in mind, all you’re doing is keeping things going? That’s how I’ve felt for the last few months, maybe even years…But most of all this summer. This summer has been straight-up bananas.

But I’m committing to getting things back on track, and I’ve teamed up with SodaStream to help me do just that — both with hydration, naturally, given it’s SodaStream, but I see it all as being tied into making life easier. To help me do that, for the month of August, SodaStream has hooked me up  with a healthy meal plan all month long from Eat Train Live. You probably know that I adore eating and while I do like to cook, when I’m cramming cooking into a hectic day and then have a pile of dishes to wash afterwards, it causes me more stress than anything else. So for this one glorious month, my lunches and dinners are from Eat Train Live (I still make my own breakfasts), and I can then spend just a little time making a bevvie with my SodaStream Power so I can be well hydrated.

I’m about two weeks into my Eat Train Live program and I am a fan: almost all of the meals are very flavourful (one chicken dish I found a bit bland, and I will say there is at least one or two salmon dishes a week, which is not my fave fish). Meal so far included Asian Beef with vermicelli and zucchini slaw, baked chicken with brown rice and broccoli, and 5-spice steak with vegetable fried rice. I must find out how they prep their chicken as it is always juicy (I think they must brine it — I’ve had success with that but am usually much too lazy to add this step!). The meals often feature sweet potatoes, which I feel I may grow tired of, but thus far, the meals are quite varied so I’m not bored. And while they might appear on the small side, I find each meal extremely filling. Seriously filling. I’m satiated for hours. In fact, so much so that this makes me think my diet was too low on protein before this meal plan (I do feel like I’ve never had more chicken and steak regularly ever!) as I feel full pretty much always (and sometimes I find it hard to finish each meal).

Besides being tasty and filling, it’s the convenience of a well-made balanced meal. I honestly get a little giddy each time it’s time to eat and I have all of these well-rounded meals ready in two minutes. It’s given me time to reclaim some time for me. Which I need because I think I forgot that I have no time and added needing to swim regularly because I am maybe doing a try a tri in September (I say maybe because I may panic and back out!).

As for how I’m hydrating with the SodaStream? Well, a bit of background: Although I gave up my habit of keeping a supply of soft drinks at home a few years ago, I do occasionally buy a single one to satisfy a craving (I grew up drinking pop and well, sometimes I just really want a soft drink!). But with my SodaStream Power, it provides me with the bubbles I love, but I can control what’s going into my fizzy drink and I can control how much sugar is in it. Thus far, to go with the meals, I’m keeping things pretty clean and crisp and am adding just add a slice of lime or lemon. Most of the Eat Train Live meals come with a wedge of citrus so I like that my water doesn’t interfere with the flavours of the food. I will start experimenting more though over the next few weeks, though.

The SodaStream Power will be yet another tool to help me hydrate more (I have an arsenal of water bottles, too), which I know is key to my health and fitness. I realized once again how much less I hydrate than others on my recent week-long sailing trip to Greece, during which the other five guests guzzled (well, to me it was guzzling, it was likely a normal human level of hydration…) water every few minutes. I’d bet money I drank at most a single two-litre bottle the entire week. Hydrating regularly (except for when I’m actually running) just hasn’t yet become a habit for me  yet.

I’ll be posting about my SodaStream get-back-on-track regimen on Instagram and  Twitter in the coming weeks. If you have any recos on how I should flavour my fizzy water,  please do drop me a line! Next up is cucumber, and I think I need to do something with peaches…

Eat Train Live

 

 

Leave a Comment August 19, 2016

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