Our family is going on a 2-week summer camping vacation this summer that will include a tent, cooler and camping stove/grill. Could you give me some recommendations for healthy camp meals?
Camping doesn't have to mean hot dogs, burgers, chips. A cooler gives you the opportunity to pack fresh fruits/vegetables, hard boiled eggs and cheese sticks, and a campfire is great for tin foil meals in addition to s'mores. The key is plan out your menu before you leave so while the rest of the family is pitching tents, you can be getting dinner going.
Here are my recommendations:
- Pack produce that doesn't bruise easily and can be eaten raw such as apples, oranges, grapes, baby carrots, bell peppers (cut into strips).
- Make a pantry box that includes peanut/nut butters, olive oil, whole grain crackers, canned soup, seasonings, whole grain bread, condiment packets (syrup, mustard, ketchup), pasta, oatmeal packets, nuts, boil-in-a-bag rice, canned beans and canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. And, don't forget the aluminum foil and plastic baggies.
- Start with a hearty breakfast. Eggs and pancakes are easy to make on either a camp stove or camp fire. Add some fruit and even a slice of bacon for a great start to the day.
- Cook one pot/one pan meals. Make pasta, drain the water and toss the pasta with canned chicken and diced canned tomatoes or brown up some ground beef with taco seasoning in a skillet, add some salsa and shredded cheese for a taco bake.
- Use the campfire and aluminum foil to make packet meals. This is the best way to cook fish/seafood, chicken breast and even burgers. Place the protein on a piece of foil, add vegetables, potatoes and seasoning and cover with another piece of foil to make a packet and place into the campfire.
- Think beyond s'mores with baked apples with cinnamon, banana splits (banana split down the middle in the peel filled with chocolate chips and mini marshmalllows wrapped in foil and cooked in the campfire) or grilled fruit kabobs.
It’s baseball season and my family has season tickets. Part of the fun of going to a game is eating stadium food. What should I eat to stay on track with my weight loss, but still have fun?
Lucky for you many of the country's major stadium have really stepped up their culinary game. Gone are the days of hot dogs, cracker jacks and soda being your only choices. Today, you will find foods like sushi, fresh fruit, grilled chicken, baked potatoes and even fresh seafood dishes.
So, here are my recommendations for your next trip to the old ball game:
- Don't Go Hungry-Have a well-balanced mini-meal or snack that includes lean protein and/or whole grains or fruit. You will be less likely to go hog wild if you aren't starving. Share-Portions tend to be large so don't be afraid to share your fries.
- Be Mindful-You are at the game to watch the game (or people watch in my case) not eat so don't get cuaght up in mindless munching. Listen to your body and eat what you really want, not what you think you should.
- Sip-Keep the alcohol consumption to no more than 2. Drink a large water in between each beer.
- When it comes to healthier food choices, opt for grilled chicken, corn on the cob and roasted peanuts. And, don't be afraid of the ball park frank. A hot dog in a bun with mustard is less than 300 calories!
I am going to Europe and am worried about about gaining weight while I am gone. What are some recommendations to keep me from coming with more “baggage” than when I left?
Europe is a culinary dream and an excellent chance to change your eating habits to a healthier model. Yes, you will still find a McDonalds or two, but they are not on every corner as in the US. Europeans tend to see eating as an experience to be savored and enjoyed and focus on quality more than quality. In addition, you will find most people walking for exercise. There isn't the obsession with health clubs and working out until you drop.
Here are some suggestions to help you fit in:
- Be Adventurous. Try the local cuisine and don't ask for lots of modifications/substitutions. Have your group order different dishes with the intent that you will all share.
- Eat European. Most people have their biggest meal at lunch so follow suit. Plan your days so you have a nice hour or two break mid-day so you can really sit and enjoy your meal. Have a freshly baked croissant for breakfast while in Paris, but pair it with some fresh fruit and cheese or an egg.
- Walk, Walk & Walk Some More. Whenever possible, walk around the city. Not only will you get exercise, but also, have the opportunity to find those little "hole in the wall" cafes and become part of the culture.
- Limit Your Alcohol. Don't go overboard with fine Italian wines and German beers. Remember quality over quantity.
- Be Colorful. Make sure your plates include many colors to ensure you are getting a well-balanced meal.
- Eat Local and Fresh. One thing you will notice is a lack of large grocery stores. Most markets get their produce and breads daily and keep limited quanitites so it is always fresh. In addition, farmer's markets are everywhere and have everything you need to make an amazing picnic meal.
- Share. The portions you will find in most authentic European restaurants are super-sized, but it is still a good to share or even ask for the child's portion of one or two dishes.
- Don't Skip The Specialties. Macaroons and crepes in France, cannoli and tiramisu in Italy, sticky toffee pudding in London are things you don't want to miss, but they can become addictive so make sure try the local specialities just once.
What is the best way for me to keep track of what I am eating while on vacation?
Counting calories and keeping a food journal is tedious and time consuming when you are living your "normal" life, but those tasks become unbearable when on vacation. For me, vacaction is a time to relax and recharge, not a time to be stressed out about what I am eating.
I would suggest that you 1. make sure your plates are 50% vegetables/fruits, 25% lean proteins and 25% starch (whole grains, baked potatoes, etc.) and 2. always leave at least 25% of your meal when eating out. If you follow these two tips, you should have an enjoyable vacation that won't derail your healthy eating.
If you do decide that you want to keep track of your meals and snacks, I suggest taking a quick picture with your phone and compiling them into a vacation food album.
It is so hot during the summer where I live and I tend to not want to cook or even eat meals so I tend to snack more. I want to stay on track so what would you recommend?
Soaring temps can place your inner chef into the pantry. I tend to cook larger batches during the summer months and rely on my slow cooker. In addition, the local farmer's market is the place to be in the summer.
When you cook something double the recipe and freeze the additional portions. Once the food has cooled, place it in plastic baggies (doubled) and place them in the freezer. In the morning, just pull the baggie out of the freezer, place it in the refrigerator and when you get home, it will be defrosted and ready to be heated up.
Your slow cooker can be used for more than stews and "cold" weather type foods. You can do recipes like BBQ Ribs, Low Country Boil, Santa Fe Chicken, Shredded Beef and even Summer Pasta in your slow cooker. Throw the ingredients in the morning and you will have dinner when you get home.
Stock your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables that you can use for salads and smoothies. And don't forget to freeze fruits like grapes and bananas for a cool snacks. In addition, make sure to have some nuts, such as almonds, on hand to add to dishes and eat as snacks for added protein.
And don't forget to hydrate. Drink water throughout the day to make sure you are replacing any fluids you might be losing just from being outside in the hotter temps.
It is important to not skip meals. You need to keep your metabolism and energy going during the summer. You might find it easier to eat divide your meals into 6 mini meals.
Sumer is a great time to take a REAL BITE out of life so try new foods, enjoy the great outdoors and have fun!