Archive for the ‘Dining Out’ Category

“Travelling Without Unravelling Healthy Eating Habits”

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Out of all the reasons why I adore my clients, the fact that they are an adventurous bunch tops the list.

Whether for business or pleasure, they frequently hit the road chasing adventure and collecting new experiences. The downside? They’re inevitably thrown off their “healthy eating” game.

In my experience, there are three reasons for this:

  1. Limited access to healthier options.
  2. Out of their typical routine.
  3. Adopting an “I’m on vacation” or “What the he#%” mindset.

Being fresh off an end of summer get-away myself, I’ve shared a few of my away-from-home dining experiences, as well as tips for countering the issues listed above. Pack these ideas the next time you’re travelling – and wrap up your trip feeling as great as when you headed out.

Mine was absolutely a pleasure trip; destination, Breckenridge, CO. I was delighted to learn that locating restaurants with healthy options wasn’t nearly as challenging as I thought it might be, although my travelling companion and I had to be menu sleuths and actively seek them out. The operative word being “seek”, which leads me to my first tip.

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Tip #1 – For options that fit your idea of healthy, you must do your homework. Read menus on-line, printed copies posted outside the actual restaurant, and peruse local restaurant guides for specific offerings. If you don’t see options that work with the way you want to eat, rather than compromise – keep looking!

Relish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first night in town, oxygen-deprived, peckish, and en route to an Asian restaurant, we stumbled upon “Relish” http://www.relishbreckenridge.com/, a local spot featuring Colorado inspired cuisine. The posted menu listed options too intriguing to pass up, so we scrapped the Asian plan. We will be forever grateful for that split-second decision.

Quinoa, marinated and grilled Portobello mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, and yellow squash “pasta” atop an ample portion of garlicky chimichurri  – an Argentinian sauce – was not only an original blending of textures and flavor, but gorgeous to look at (we eat with our eyes first!).

Relish2

As for the starter, a salad of pea shoot leaves and tomatoes topped with fava bean puree, I couldn’t think of a better choice.

Paired with a spectacular glass of red wine, this was a very fine meal indeed with which to kick off our week – and it fit all of my specs for a healthy, “real-food” meal.

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Tip #2 – You’re already out of your typical routine, so if a “must-try” restaurant offers options that meet your food specs, but not your dining “clock-time” preferences, move them around! Confused? Read example below:

Warming Hut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Warming Hut” http://www.thewarminghutrestaurant.com/ completely warmed my heart (and palate). While we weren’t interested in the dinner menu options (reference Tip #2), the lunch menu, with its house-made Edamame and Quinoa Burger – sorry, forgot to snap a pic – got my attention. We visited this darling place at lunchtime on our last day, where upon our arrival we were met with such a packed restaurant, we decided to eat at the bar – always fun.

Not only was the burger delicious, the sweet potato fries accompanying it (of which I’m normally not a fan – not because they’re fried, rather, I prefer my fries “unsweet”) were impossible not to love – nor to stop eating until not a single one was left.

The best ending to this meal wasn’t even dessert, but the opportunity to meet and chat with the restaurant’s owner, Stacey – she warmed my heart, too.

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Tip #3 – Yes, you’re on vacation (or an expense account), but I’m pretty sure that it’s not as if you NEVER eat out. Eating out, whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks is no longer an occasional indulgence, so treat vacation restaurant dining – and choices – like you would at home (except at home no one hands you a menu, I know). Be selective, make choices based on hunger level vs. your eyeballs, and save splurges (see “sweet potato fries” above) for a couple of occasions during your trip rather than daily – or more.

RootDown3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airports may be the last place where hungry, health-minded travelers can expect to get a decent meal, but Denver International, and “RootDown DIA” http://flydenver.com/fooddetails?URI=tcm:8-645in particular, is hell-bent on changing that.

I swear this restaurant was created with me in mind;At Root Down we pride ourselves on striving to solve the ‘Omnivore’s Dilemma.’ We have created a dining spot where all dietary needs will be accommodated, including vegetarian, vegan, raw and gluten free. . .”

See what I mean? If you know me, you totally get it.

Spied by my trusty travelling companion on the return leg of our trip (hint: Concourse C), this island of culinary treasures was a jewel in a sea of the same old chain restaurants. We were promptly and oh-so-courteously seated by superbly-trained staff, just after returning our rental car. . .at 8:50 a.m.

Like my predilection for “un-sweet” fries, I’m not always in the mood for a sweet breakfast, so the edamame hummus platter simply screamed “Order ME!”  If this choice strikes you as odd, I can assure you, hummus for breakfast is absolutely delicious – smeared atop a whole wheat English muffin, it happens to be one of my standard at-home favs.

RootDown2

Paired with Medjool dates, real, not canned olives, nan bread, arugula salad that I swiped from my travelling companion, and a killer cup of coffee (with soy milk, no less) this meal made me happy, happy, happy.

 RootDown1

So there you have it – a handful of ideas to help prevent you from throwing in the healthy towel crying, “What the he#%, give me the _________________________” (fill in with your favorite less-healthy menu choice).

 

If you stay focused on your goal – to arrive home feeling as good as you did when you left (if not better!), it truly can happen. . .deliciously.

 

Wishing you happy, safe, delectable travels.

 

Traveling + Food

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

When you travel, do you struggle to keep your eating habits “normal”? Do you veer waayy off track, then take weeks to get back to a balanced eating rhythm? If so, you’re not alone.

Eating outside of our regular, familiar routine can challenge even the healthiest eaters. Maybe it will help to consider the following: 1. out of town travels are temporary, and a few days of eating richer, higher calorie foods than you normally do won’t make you “unhealthy” 2. look for every opportunity to eat healthy, like grabbing 100% fruit juice if there’s no whole fruit available, asking for extra lettuce/tomato/onion on a sandwich, ordering a double serving of vegetables with lunch or dinner, taking every opportunity to down H2O (look for water fountains!).

Keep it simple, try your best to stay focused on healthy choices, and give yourself permission to explore regional cuisine and “fun foods”, knowing that your tried and true “normal” eating routine will be waiting for you when you return!

Beyond “Super-Size” Me.

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

I recently visited family in another city and dined at an Italian restaurant. Now, I’ve been to Italy; twice. I know a bit about Italian food, the focus on and pride in local ingredients, the communal spirit that embraces family and/or friends who share a meal, and how unbelievably fresh and healthy the food can be.

But any hope I had that this restaurant might follow the true tradition of Italian food was lost when I read this description of one particular dish on their menu, “Sausage, meatballs, pepper and mushrooms in a rich marinara over penne pasta and baked with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. You eat it all and receive a Free _____ Tee Shirt!” Seriously?! Come on, there isn’t a restaurant in the entire country of Italy that would offer someone a free tee shirt in exchange for hedonistic gluttony.

I’ve intentionally removed the restaurant’s name, as my goal is not to bash the place. But even if it were, I somehow doubt it would matter much; the place was packed with diners who appeared completely nonplussed at the sheer volume of food they gleefully gobbled off groaning plates.

Here’s the crazy part. One of the diners in my party (yes, a family member for heaven’s sake) ordered that exact dish. In their defense (this person shall remain nameless), the “orderer” was not expecting what showed up and they most certainly didn’t come anywhere close to “eating it all”.

Now, considering my profession, some people who dine at the same table as me get a little “confessional” about their meal choices. I always remind them that I’m not the food police, and please, how fun is it for me to be labeled that unfairly?? Well, the same held true in this situation. Really, what would I even say?

But I did take a photo – and warned my fellow diner that they’d never know where the pic might show up! And here it is, albeit a little blurry, for your viewing pleasure.

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Afterward, what remained was packed up and taken home to serve as a meal for two the following evening. And even after THAT there was enough left that it could be packed into a freezer container for later – yikes! Thoughts?