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Articles

Spring Break Nutrition and Fitness

 

Whether you are a college student or parent, spring break conjures images of fun in the sun, perhaps eating fast food and dancing as your main form of exercise (or running after your children). Think of spring break as the lead-in to summer and a great time to focus on foods to help you look and feel good in your bathing suit (or shorts)! I often remind clients and friends that everyone can eat healthy on the road – it's about the choices you make. We can always choose foods because they TASTE good and I would argue that foods that are GOOD for you TASTE good, too!

There are many hotels that offer complimentary breakfasts, where you can save some money and start your day with some nourishment without breaking the bank. It is super easy to either travel with shelf-stable items or hit a grocery store where you are visiting. In many cities, there is a Walmart or Target nearby, and they offer many healthy options, as do many convenience stores. You may want to begin by making sure you have drinkable water, perhaps some dry cereal, fruit (fresh, dried, canned), whole-grain crackers, pretzels, tortilla and potato chips (such as Corozonas), and even shelf-stable cheese. It is good to have handy snacks readily available.

 

Grab 'n go food ideas:

  • Pre-packaged yogurt shakes
  • Mini bags of chips, pretzels, popcorn, tortilla chips, graham crackers, whole-grain crackers
  • Apple sauce
  • Fruit cups
  • 1% fat cottage cheese
  • 2% string cheese
  • Soup cups
  • Rice and beans
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Raisin or craisin boxes
  • Dried fruits or veggies
  • Granola bars
  • Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, etc. (avoid oil-roasted and salted)

When dining out, try to select restaurants that have a variety of foods. Try to make it a point to eat your veggies every day – salads or soups are a great way to account for your vegetables (and keep your weight in check). Here are some tips from my book, Living Skinny in Fat Genes: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great:

 

Tips for Ordering:

  • Order a la carte
  • Order soup and salad in lieu of a full meal (order one extra appetizer as an entrée)
  • Order all dressings and sauces on the side
  • Order a meal as if you were eating at home
  • Move bread or chips to the other side of the table (if you think you will overeat them)
  • Avoid buffets (it's not about the value)
  • Pay attention to soft drink and alcohol consumption (they equal liquid calories)

 

Words to look for when ordering:

  • Au jus (cooked in its own juice)
  • Baked
  • Braised
  • Broiled
  • Marinara
  • Primavera (vegetables)
  • Poached
  • Roasted
  • Steamed
  • Stir-fried (ask them to go light on the oil)
  • Vinaigrette
  • Words to avoid when ordering:
  • Alfredo
  • Au gratin
  • Cheese sauce
  • Bearnaise
  • Breaded
  • Beurre blanc
  • Buttered
  • Creamed
  • Crisp
  • Double Crust
  • En Croute
  • Fried: deep or pan
  • Pastry
  • Prime
  • Rich
  • Sauteed
  • Scalloped
  • White sauces

Spring break is an amazing opportunity to get your one hour (or more) of physical activity in each day without any excuses (such as school assignments or work). If the hotel does not have a gym – don't fret – you can use your own body weight as resistance. Just start with a decent pair of sneakers. You can begin your fitness regimen by walking or taking the stairs. Jumping jacks are a wonderful way to get your heart rate going and warm up your muscles. You can then move into squats and lunges, followed by pushups and sit ups. It may feel a little bit like boot camp or your old phys ed class, but you can certainly start off with a low number of repetitions and work your way up by adding a few more each day. Don't forget – you can do tricep dips off a stair or use a bag or purse for bicep curls. You can stretch at the end of your workout – this is best to do at the end of your workout – like the cherry on the sundae!

You can make your spring break or any vacation a healthy one! There is no need to return to your old routine feeling bad because you over-did it. Instead, you will return invigorated, stronger and relaxed!

 

Biography – Dr. Felicia D. Stoler
Dr. Felicia D. Stoler is a registered dietician, exercise physiologist and expert consultant in nutrition and healthful living. She was the host for the reality show, Honey We're Killing the Kids on TLC. She is the author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes™: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great (Pegasus 2011). She specializes in integrating behavior modification to influence positive health outcomes.

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