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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

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!

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Stress impacts your body. At least, that’s what all of the research tells us. It also impacts your blood sugar, which makes it a very important topic for those of us with hypoglycemia. And, oftentimes, especially as hypoglycemics, we’re so involved in making the correct diet and fitness decisions, that our mental health, our personal well-being goes by the wayside. In this series, we’ll discuss a variety of ways to manage your stress and, in the process, manage your blood sugar.

So I have this friend. Let’s call her Lisa. And her and her husband are about to do something incredibly daring and amazing; they are moving to a foreign country at the end of this year.

That’s amazing enough, but here’s where the incredible part comes in, neither of them are fluent in the language and neither of them have secured jobs yet. But they are going nonetheless.

Right now, they are under quite a bit of stress, and understandably so. Everything about this decision seems very illogical. But you know what? I admire them for doing it anyway and I’m glad they are.

When I think back to the stories that older people have told me about their lives, those that they are the most proud of and those that are the most interesting to tell, it’s never “I worked hard, bought a house, raised a family.” Those are admirable deeds, but it’s the stories about throwing caution to the wind, taking a chance on life, taking a leap of faith, that make life so memorable and make for great stories. The tales of “We went backpacking across Europe for a year” or “I decided to spend two years in Asia volunteering for an aid organization” are the ones I, and I’m guessing we all, want to hear.

And here’s the thing about those stories, some don’t well, but you don’t hear any regrets. Sometimes people come back from backpacking across Europe and are so broke they had to move back in with parents. Sometimes they try something and it fails that they have to come home. But they recover, and they will still tell you it’s worth it. And, when the story is told later, you rarely hear someone focus on the end and what went wrong. They instead focus on the adventure along the way.

So Lisa, I’m 100% in your corner and cheering you on. If it helps to read this post when things become uncertain, it’d be an honor if you did so. Cheers to your new adventure!

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“Fresh Homemade Panini” by snowpea&bokchoi, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

1/2 of the original panini. See how much bread that is before they press it? May too many carbs

Fixed as much as I could. I put all of the meat/cheese on one side and hollowed-out the bread. There was no mustard to be found (even though the sandwich was supposed to have it, boo)

I was in the Reno airport pretty early in the day, so options for an early lunch were still pretty limited. The healthiest option I could find was a ham and cheese panini, but because I wasn’t going to eat it for 2 hours (the longest you can have meat/cheese out of the fridge and have it be safe).

When I got the cold/unpressed panini, I was shocked to see how thick the bread was! I thought paninis were made out of thin bread, but nope, they are made of thick bread that’s been pressed thin (see the top image to see what one looks like after being pressed).

Knowing that that much bread (especially white bread) would cause me hypoglycemia blood sugar issues, I hollowed-out one side of the bread as thin as I could, put all of the meat and cheese on one side, and ate that. When I got to San Francisco airport a few hours later, I ate a super-healthy salad.

So lesson-learned: If you want a hot sandwich or panini, ask to see the bread ahead of time and make sure it’s thin and a low-glycemic index bread

Addition fun fact: According to my native-speaking Italian friends, “panini” actually translates to “bread” not “sandwich,” so if you ask for a “panini” in Italy, unless they’ve been Americanized, they might just hand you bread.

 

 

 

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A set of Seat to Summit plastic silverware including a fork, knife, and spoon

My Sea to Summit silverware set, drying on a towel in a hotel room for it’s next use

Note: I was not compensated for this post nor did Sea to Summit know about this post prior to me publishing it. 

I travel often and, even when I’m home, I’m on-the-go quite a bit. This has presented a challenge as, although there are fully portable snack options out there, many still require silverware, such as Greek yogurt and graham crackers with peanut butter. And, as you know, I love to take salads with me (Traveling? Take a Whole Foods salad with you) on trips.

This has not only left me scrambling for plastic silverware (or forgetting to, which is worse) whenever I buy a snack or a salad, but also left me with eco-guilt for creating the additional waste from plastic silverware (which isn’t recyclable).

And then I remembered that I saw Sea to Summit portable silverware at my local camping store. One lunch trip and $11 later, I had a set that I clipped inside my backpack, which always goes with me on trips.

Admittedly, the silverware is a bit big for me. It seems like it was designed for maximum inhalation quickly while backpacking and for mostly men to use, so if you get these, be extra-careful to measure out your portions ahead of time and don’t fill the spoon for each bite.

But the benefits far outweigh the size issue. Not only does this solve the silverware worry and some of my eco-guilt, but it also is incredibly sturdy. I’ve used them multiple times, sometimes roughly, and kept them clipped in a backpack that is constantly thrown around. After two months, they still look brand-new. And, as I’ve already eluded to, the carabiner clip they come with is really convenient and makes it harder to lose them.

If you eat a lot of meals on the go, I highly recommend this set of portable silverware.

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As a hypoglycemic and/or a healthy eater, travel can be very difficult. It requires a significant amount of pre-planning, but these quick tips can help you make the  most out of your experience:

a pile of mixed nuts

Nuts are a great, easy-to-carry snack for traveling. Photo from Flickr: orinoko42

Before your trip:

– Choose your destination carefully. I probably shouldn’t start this post on such a negative, but this one is important. You MUST factor your ability to get food you can eat at your destination into your decision of where to travel. I’ve had opportunities to travel to many exotic places in the world, but some of these trips I turned down because they were going to areas where there were major food shortages. I try to not let it affect my travel choices. But, in reality, it does.

– Pack at least three carb/protein snacks per each day you will be traveling IN YOUR CARRY-ON. My favorites include Clif bars, Emerald 100 calorie packs of nuts, dried soy beans (Edamame), dried turkey jerky (much better for you than the beef version!) dried raisins and cranberries, and Zone Cookie Dough Bars (pack these in a box though, they smash easily).

– Pack a wide variety of these snacks so you don’t get bored and in case there is an issue with one of them. My friend Angie told me about a flight where someone on board had a severe nut allergy and she only had snacks with nuts with her. It was a long, hungry flight for her.

– Pack something healthy to nibble on. Sometimes, you just need a little something to get you until the next meal. Instead of spending tons of money and eating badly by grabbing a bag of chips at the airport, pack a small sandwich bag of baby carrots. True, they won’t last more than a day, but that’s a day less of junk food. I also always purchase a bag of pretzels or similar quasi-healthy snack item to take with me.

– For all of the above snacks, pack them in your carry-on so you have them accessible.

– If you have a choice of hotels, choose one that has a kitchenette. If that isn’t possible, find one with breakfast or, at the very least, a fridge and microwave.

– Research what grocery stores are located near your hotel.

– Pack an empty water bottle.

– Research how to say your medical condition in the language of the country you are going to and provide an overview of what to do if you get sick for all of your travel companions.

– Research customs where you are going about food. Is it common to wait at a restaurant for an hour to be sat? Is healthy food readily available?

-Pack Vitamin C tablets and take them a day before you leave through the day you return.

During your trip:

– Carry a bag with you at all times. I recommend a backpack or a across-the-shoulder bag. My general rule of thumb is to carry 9 hours worth of food (3 protein/carb snacks) with me at all times in my bag while in the U.S. (this just doesn’t mean while traveling, it’s EVERY DAY of my life) and 12 hours (4 snacks) with me while outside my own country.

– For all of the snacks listed in the “Before your trip” section, try to use them sparingly and replenish them as much as possible. Remember, the idea is to keep a good stash of food on you at all times, so don’t deplete your stash too much! You never know when disaster could strike; it could be as simple as a delayed flight or as crazy as being stranded in an airport for 3 days due to a hurricane. But, in all cases, be prepared. Getting into your stash as little as possible takes some pre-planning, but it’s not too difficult. If you walk into your hotel and notice a free bowl of fruit (if not in the lobby, some have it by the gym), grab an apple to eat  later instead of your dried fruit. Or, while grabbing lunch somewhere, purchase a small snack to have for your afternoon snack at the same time and carry it with you.

– Once you reach your destination, assess your room (fridge? microwave?) and then immediately head to the nearest grocery store.  Buy fresh fruit and easily-to-eat vegetables, high protein cereal (I recommend Kashi Go Lean), stuff for sandwiches, and snacks for the room based on how often you will be eating in the room (breakfast? lunch? or just snacks for night?).

– Remember that empty water bottle you packed? Good, now it’ll come in handy. If you are like me, you hate most hotel water and drink a lot of water during the day. So, while at the grocery store, also buy 1-2 gallons of water per person depending on the length of the trip. You can use your water bottle to drink this while in the room and, before you leave the hotel each time, you can fill this bottle with “good” water and take it with you on your daily excursions.

Wear your medical alert at all times (note: you should be doing this anyway!).

– Time zones make it difficult to figure out when your three hours is up and you should eat again. I recommend wearing a watch and keeping it on the same time zone during your trip or, if possible, use a time on your cell phone and set it for 3 hours (not a specific time, just 3 hours), so you won’t have to pay attention to the time.

– When in doubt, or, basically, whenever possible, go ahead an eat. If you gain a few pounds on the trip, fine. Your safety is more important. Just eat healthy and get the weight back off you when you return.

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