Feeds:
Posts
Comments
The plate includes scrambled eggs with corn & black beans, 1 piece raisin/cinnamon toast (I prefer whole wheat) with peanut butter, a tiny portion of oatmeal with a tablespoon of almonds, an apple and coffee with cream only. The banana and Cheerios are for breakfast #2 (long day).

Breakfast at Hyatt Place in Washington D.C. The plate includes scrambled eggs with corn & black beans, 1 piece raisin/cinnamon toast (I prefer whole wheat) with peanut butter, a tiny portion of oatmeal with a tablespoon of almonds, an apple and coffee with cream only. The banana and Cheerios are for breakfast #2 (long day).

One of the best rules I made when I started traveling a lot was that, unless impossible, I would stay at hotels that included breakfast.

As a hypoglycemic, breakfast is a crucial part of maintaining your blood sugar. When you wake up in the morning, your blood sugar is really low. I recommend eating a snack right away and then heading down for the included breakfast.

Why does an included breakfast make such a difference? Learn from me, it’s not a good idea to be running around with low blood sugar looking for a breakfast place that’s open. And I have’ had instances where I’ve planned ahead and thought, “Oh, there’s a place right across from the hotel” and then, upon arrival, found out it’s closed, or the prices are ridiculous. By staying a hotel with breakfast included, you eliminate most if not all of the risk of an emergency first thing in the morning. It’s also short walk to breakfast, and you can leave your wallet in your room.

“Continental breakfast” = a bad idea

I’m often attending events that offer a “continental breakfast” and I still stay at a hotel with breakfast included and eat breakfast the hotel. Similarly, I avoid any hotels that say they offer a “continental breakfast.” While the definition varies, from experience a continental breakfast means all carbs and low or no protein; essentially a recipe for a really bad hypoglycemic episode.

I only stay at places that offer a “hot breakfast” or “full breakfast” and I look for photos or call to see what’s included in breakfast.  Primarily, “Do you have eggs?”

My favorite hotel chains for breakfast

When traveling personally, especially overseas, I try to opt for bed and breakfasts, but when I’m traveling for work, it’s almost always a hotel chain that I stay at.

Here are my favorite hotel chains that offer free breakfast:

Hyatt Place: By far my preferred hotel to stay in while traveling. The rooms are nice, spacious, always include a mini-fridge, they have a 24/7 reasonably-priced food ordering service, and their breakfast is mostly consistent and always has several high protein options.

Residence Inn: Second of my favorites, most rooms have a full or almost full (missing the oven) kitchen in them and also include free breakfast with good protein options. The last Residence Inn I stayed at I noticed they put a lot more effort into breakfast during the week than weekends, with more options and real plates/napkins on weekdays  and more limited options and paper plates/napkins (which kills the environmentalist in me) on weekends.

Double-Tree Inn: Honestly I don’t have much experience with these, but I stayed in one recently and it was nice, had a mini fridge, and the breakfast was good with lots of protein options. Obviously I skipped the warm chocolate chip cookie, as tempting as it was.

Not my favorites, but good secondary options

Courtyard by Marriott: They have a “set” breakfast menu you can order from as part of special room packages. However, it’s limited to about 3 or 4 options and only one, at last count, fit my diet. And they are calorie-dense (700-800 calorie breakfast sandwiches).

Fairfield Inn or Hampton Inn: The breakfast at these still has decent protein options, but you’ll notice that the food here isn’t nearly the high quality level as, say a Hyatt Place. And, they always use paper plates/napkins, which, again, kills me as someone who cares about our environment.

What if no hotel in the area offers free breakfast?

Then I look for a hotel with a chain nearby that offers breakfast options. And no, I’m not talking a Waffle House.

Starbucks: Make sure it’s one that offers breakfast sandwiches (some don’t). I opt for the whole wheat turkey bacon and egg white sandwich , a piece of fruit, and a small nonfat latte.

Tim Horton’s: As a Michigan native, I consider myself partially Canadian, which means I love Tim Horton’s (even if they are owned by Burger King now). I opt for the egg white and cheese sandwich.

Chick-fil-a: Remember, they aren’t open on Sundays, so make sure you’re travel doesn’t include a Sunday if this is going to be your breakfast solution. I opt for the Grilled Market Salad and/or a yogurt parfait (usually not a healthy option, but decent there) and coffee.  They do have the Egg White Grill sandwich too, but it’s not my favorite because I’ve had a few that weren’t that great, but an option nonetheless.

And remember, the point is to eat healthy, so think carefully about what you pull from the buffet breakfasts!

Happy travels!

Advertisements

Even though I’ve heard over and over again how amazing Trader Joe’s is, and even shopped there a few times, I’ve never been a convert (until now).

Why? Because it’s hard to switch to Trader Joe’s. Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours examining products at grocery stores, learning which products match my hypoglycemic diet and which ones don’t. Very few of the brands and products I know and love are at Trader Joe’s, meaning for almost every product I want to buy, I have to re-learn what I can eat. This means, as we did yesterday, spending a lot of extra time re-assessing all of the bread in the bread aisle and deciding what would be the best option. Then move to the cheese and do the same thing.

It took a lot of time and mental energy. But at the same time, it was a great opportunity to re-examine our habits and what we were eating. It gets so easy to just grab products and “forget” to think about whether they are good for you or not. While I’m most certainly not saying that everything at Trader Joes is good for you, I’m saying it’s a good moment to take a look at everything anew, and, if you can’t find something in Trader Joe’s, it’s a good time to ask why (usually they are really bad products I can’t find, but not always).

And THEY ARE CHEAPER! Ok, I don’t know about where you live, but in New Orleans? Food is ridiculously priced for no legit reason I can find.

Examples:

  • Applegate Natural Turkey at Rouses (New Orleans chain): $5.99 per pack. At Trader Joe’s: $3.99 per pack. We go through about 2-3 of these per week, so $4-$6 savings per week!
  • Green/Red peppers at Rouses: $1/1.99 each (and many look awful). At Trader Joe’s: $.79 and $1 each (and all look very fresh). We go through 4-6 of these a week, so about $2-$4 in savings.
img_0022

I was just a little excited to find some Weisswurst at Trader Joe’s, can you tell by this text?

Does Trader Joe’s totally eliminate my trip to the “regular” grocery store? Nope, there are some things we need, like Fairlife Milk, Beanitos, and quick oats, that Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry, but I can go a lot less often.

So if you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, spend the time and give it a try. It’s worth it.

Amazing protein pancakes

 

1 large pancake, about 6 inches diameter, along with all of the ingredients used to make it: Justin's Peanut Butter, Kodiak Power Cakes pancake mix, organic cinnamon, Mariani sliced almonds, Cary's sugar-free syrup

Pancake batter: 1/2 cup Kodiak Power Cakes, 1/2 cup water, 1 Tbsp almonds, dash of cinnamon. On top: 1 tsp peanut butter, 1/4 cup sugar free syrup

I have a weakness for anything breakfast, and especially anything in the french toast or doughy pancake realm. So I was intrigued to find Kodiak Power Cakes Protein Packed Flapjack & Waffle Mix at Costco and decided to give it a try.

I’ve tried other protein pancake mixes, such as MET-Rx High Protein Pancake Mix and haven’t been impressed. But I lived in hope.

And thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. These pancakes are great!

And while they don’t keep me as full as my usual breakfast of fruit, oatmeal, and almonds, they are a great not-so-unhealthy “treat” once in a while for breakfast.

Hints:

  • I like really doughy pancakes, so I use a small omelet pan and make one big pancake (see photo) vs. small ones. I also found just using water vs. the other suggestions of eggs or milk makes the pancake center more like dough.
  • Adding cinnamon to the mix gives a great flavor punch without adding calories or carbohydrates.

Pancake batter

1/2 cup Kodiak Power Cakes

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp almonds

dash of cinnamon

On top

1 tsp peanut butter

1/4 cup sugar free syrup

 

 

Enjoy!

Bins of organic chocolate bars, cookies, and mini bottles of wine at Whole Foods

Those chocolate bars? They are 420 calories. And those cookies? They are 460 calories.

 

Shopping at Whole Foods is a good lesson in correlation vs. causation. It’s easy to walk around Whole Foods and see all of the skinny people and think, “If I shop here, I’ll lose weight!”

The reality is, you can shop at Whole Foods and gain weight, lose weight, or stay the same; it’s all based on WHAT you buy at Whole Foods. Take the cookies and chocolate in the above example. Since they are offered at Whole Foods and contain organic ingredients, they have a health halo effect, meaning you think they are healthier and won’t impact your weight as much. But in terms of calories, sugar, etc. these foods aren’t any healthier for you and will set you back on your weight goals (unless you’re trying to gain weight).

The benefit of upscale grocery chains such as Whole Foods is that they have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and unprocessed foods. If you stick to those while shopping at Whole Foods, you have a much better chance of reaching your weight goals.

 

Lunch to go

Water bottle, purse, towel, cooler filled with a turkey wrap and apple

I decided to try a new exercise class today (note to self: in the future when it’s 94 degrees out, make sure the gym has air conditioning). The class went from 11 am – 12 pm and then I knew it would take me a while to get home.

This could have been hypoglycemic disaster or a convenient excuse to eat crap, but nope, I was good and packed my lunch, a turkey wrap (flaxseed wrap, hummus, 1 slice cheese, 3 slices deli turkey) and an apple.

A beer, a large pretzel, two white sausages, and sweet mustard on a picnic table

“Weisswurst lunch at Viktualienmarkt” by Thomas Kriese, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Last year, my now-fiance and I took a vacation touring various parts of Germany.  The entire trip, I showed little restraint on food, as I absolutely LOVE German food. So, I happily ate sausages, pretzels and beer.

And to my shock, I not only didn’t have any issues with my blood sugar and hypoglycemia, but I also lost weight!

Ever since then, I’ve been curious as to why that is, and during a recent call with my dietitian, I asked. Here was the highlights of her response:

  • While I wasn’t working out like I usually do, and the walking all day probably didn’t burn extra calories, walking all day is a slow carb burn vs. a big, fast carb burn with an intense workout. She advises her clients, if they do gorge on carbohydrates, to go for a 10-15 minute walk after to start the burn process. So, while I was walking, I was slowly burning the carbs off vs. the high/low calorie/carb burn of my usual day.
  • The fat and protein in the sausages probably kept me full, allowing me to eat less often and eat less calories.
  • There’s a difference between American and European wheat, which could impact how it impacts my hypoglycemia. I’ve actually noticed this myself, when I drink American beer, I end up feeling ridiculously hungry and not well. If I drink German beer, however, I don’t feel this way. I think it has a lot to do with the additives and such we put in our beer.
  • Portion sizes are smaller over there.  Maybe so, maybe not, I’ve eaten some pretty giant pretzels and drank some giant beers, but overall, probably so.

We just came back from a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands (I know, poor us).  While we made both our breakfasts and lunches on the trips, we splurged on dinners and I splurged on calorie-dense tropical drinks (I choose the lowest-sugar ones I could).

We got home late, thanks to both of our planes being delayed, but thankfully I’d taken the next day off, which allowed me to do the most important part of coming back from a vacation and getting back on track with healthy eating: Go to the grocery store ASAP.

When we got home, the fridge was practically empty, and the next morning was a scrounge to find food, but right after breakfast, I headed-out to all of the stores.

Why is this so important?

It’s too easy, after a trip like this, to continue to eat out because it’s what you’ve been doing the last week or so and there’s no food in the house. This, I believe, adds to the weight gain of vacations. The quickest way to break this is to get healthy food stocked back up in your house ASAP. It took me 3 hours, but the photo shows our fridge now, well-stocked with healthy food options. And, we’re back on track.

So the next time you plan your vacation, also plan a half day to hit the stores and stock back up. Your weight and your blood sugar will thank you.

 

Our fridge stocked with lots of fruit and vegetables, lean dairy, and good protein options, including eggs, deli turkey, and tofu. In the giant green bowl is my chopped veggies for snacking.

Our fridge stocked with lots of fruit and vegetables, lean dairy, and good protein options, including eggs, deli turkey, and tofu. In the giant green bowl is my chopped veggies for snacking.