Exercising when traveling: A new way to experience the city

soulcycle

As a food and nutrition professional, one of my favorite ways to explore cities when I travel is through the cuisine. However, sometimes my travels have a tendency to transform into an all-out food fest, where many of my planned activities revolve around eating out. Not a healthy mindset.

However, on a recent trip, I met someone with a different approach. This person told me that she was taking a yoga class in the city, and that whenever she travels, she tries to take a fitness class. Now, I don’t exactly have the greatest fitness routine to begin with, but nonetheless, the idea struck me. I decided that moving forward; this is a practice that I want to adopt. So I did!

This past weekend, I trekked down to New York City for the Summer Fancy Food show (a trade show for food professionals). Knowing that eating was going to be a big component of my trip, I decided supplement my trip with a fitness class. Naturally, I chose SoulCycle.

I first heard of SoulCycle on a Regis & Kelly episode a few years ago. Since then, it has continued to gain hype from many of my favorite NYC based bloggers. Although I’m not an experienced cyclist, the class was completely rewarding. Hard work, great music, and even better attitudes. Also, whoever thought of holding a fitness class by candlelight, rather than unforgiving fluorescent lights, was a genius. Genius!

Not only is taking a fitness class in a new city a great way to maintain healthy habits when traveling, it is also a great way to break up the monotony of routine exercise. I found myself actually looking forward to the fitness class, because it was new and exciting to me. And now I can’t wait for my next trip!

How do you stay in shape while traveling? Have you tried SoulCycle?

– Kelly

Food Adventures in Toronto

One of the best things about living in the Northeast is that there are so many unique cities within reach. This weekend I took advantage of the close proximity and met my dad in Toronto (less than a 90 minute flight) while he was there for a business conference.

St. Lawrence Market

The first thing on my Toronto must do list was to check out St. Lawrence Market. I originally read about St. Lawrence Market on the Design Sponge Toronto city guide (my go-to website for city guides when traveling). The vintage warehouse vibe and abundance of artisanal food purveyors somewhat reminded me of Chelsea Market in NYC. I was tempted to buy Canadian maple syrup, but I still have syrup leftover from my maple sugaring field trip in February. Maybe next time!

St. Lawrence Market

One of the optional activities for my dad’s conference was a Foodies on Foot walking tour around the upscale district of Yorkville. Much to the delight of his gastronomy student daughter, he signed us both up. I have been on walking food tours before, but never could I have envisioned the amount of food that we would accumulate in a quick 2 hour period. These were not tastings. These were full-on American sized servings. Six stops, four full portioned desserts, and one seated luncheon. And all of this came only 2 hours after (a thankfully light) lunch. Gulp. I’m sure you can see that predicament that I faced as a Dietitian. I wanted to enjoy the food, but I also wanted to be comfortable and healthy. My plan of attack went as follows: When I had the option to get the food to-go, I jumped on it. Otherwise, I would stick to tasting. Food tastes the same whether you have one bite or ten, and devouring four large desserts in 2 hours would not be enjoyable for anyone.

foodies on foot

  • The chocolate brownie cheesecake from Carole’s Cheesecake was rich and decadent without being overly sweet, a fine line for desserts to straddle. The selection rivaled that of The Cheesecake Factory, but in a quaint and homemade atmosphere. And thanks to the hotel mini fridge, I was able to give the dessert my full attention once my stomach was ready 🙂
  • The gelato at the end of the tour was creamy and authentic with an impressive selection of flavors, at least from what I remember of my study abroad experience two years ago. Can’t go wrong with Pistachio!
  • The Cookbook Store was a charming little shop selling books and magazines related to food and cooking, and was a welcome relief from the food fest.
  • And of course, no modern food tour would be complete without an obligatory nod to the cupcake trend (in this case, at Dlish).

Crepes a go go

Although the cheesecake was heavenly, my favorite stop on the tour was Crepes a GoGo. The energetic owner generously led us around the counter and while she demonstrated her craft. Although some creperies smother their product in an abundance of toppings, we were treated to simple crepes flavored only with cinnamon and sugar. They were thin, fluffy, and delicious, all at the same time, proving that simplicity is a true testament to a good recipe.

 

Healthy Panda Express

Lastly, because this post was extremely dessert heavy, here is another dose of healthy airport food (at Logan terminal A). Peppercorn shrimp + 2 servings of steamed veggies from Panda Express. Stuffed at the sight of it all? Some non-food highlights included the Royal Ontario Museum, the CN tower, a winning Blue Jays game, and a trip to Niagra Falls.

What are some of your Toronto favorites? How do you manage portion control when facing an overwhelming amount of food?

– Kelly

Diet Friendly Airport Food

For many people, the summer months are an ideal time to jet off on a vacation. I am the type to arrive at the airport over 2 hours before my flight, which means that not only do I have a lot of time to kill, but also that I need to eat a meal or heavy snack before I board the plane. Luckily, in most major airports it IS possible to eat healthy while traveling. See below for some of my go-to airport foods from recent travels.

Bush Intercontinental Airport (Terminal E):

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^^ IAH has a great variety of eateries and healthy selections, but above is quite a gem. I found an eatery in terminal E selling made-to-order tossed salads, with the option of organic lettuce! Salads are always a healthy choice, but stale grab and go salads aren’t always super tempting. With the made-to-order option, not only was I able to choose my favorite toppings, but I was also in control over how much dressing and other toppings were used. This salad (organic greens + chicken + mandarin oranges + onion + teeny tiny bit of feta + tiny bit of balsamic) was my pre-flight lunch.

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^^ In flight snack: Kashi bar + water bottle (from one of the magazine shops)

Logan Airport (Terminal A):

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^^ Pre flight power lunch: Small Wendy’s Chili & water bottle. The small chili has only 180 calories, with a whopping 4g fiber and 13g protein. As much as fast food creeps me out, this chili is a rather lean option. Plus, I’m always cold at airports, so warm meals are a welcome bonus.

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^^ In flight snack: Fruit cup, water bottle, and Luna bar. Admittedly, the Luna Bar is something I packed from home. If you have a favorite bar or non-liquid snack, I recommend you do the same! There is no guarantee that the airport will have what you’re craving. The fruit cup was from Lucky’s to go (I picked around the cantaloupe and mostly just ate the strawberries and pineapple), and the water bottle was left over from lunch.

Other options:

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^^ Nuts and dried fruit are healthy to snack on, and are usually pretty easy to find at the airport. Just remember that packages of this size often contain multiple servings. So feel free to share with your travel buddies, or seal it and keep it in your purse throughout your travels.

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^^ Most airports tend to have a pretty good selection of bars, including Kind bars, Clif bars, and Kashi bars, just to name a few. These bars make a good on the go snack, just make sure to check the nutritional label before you purchase. If you are like me and have a specific preference (love Luna!), pack your own from home.

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^^ Legal Seafoods in terminal A has a great selection of salads, fruit salads, and even shrimp cocktail. Healthy and delicious!

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^^ Fresh, whole fruits are usually available in at least one location in most airport terminals. It’s not exactly farmers’ market quality, but it is still a healthy option to power you through your travels.

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^^ Don’t forget to stay hydrated! Bringing an empty, reusable water bottle from home is the most eco-friendly option, but luckily, water bottles are abundant at most airports. My on flight pick when the drink cart rolls by? Hot tea!

What are your favorite airport snacks and meals? How do you stay healthy during traveling?

– Kelly