I was away for five days on a Pilates course. Which meant staying in a hotel and eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fab you may think, but my everyday food choices at home were not available so it was time to research beforehand and define some rules for my trip.
I have to preface with these are my rules, they worked for me but that does not mean they will work for you as we are all unique and different. It takes time to work this out but it makes such a big difference for your long-term wellbeing and trying not to be on/off healthy eating.
Making decisions before the trip meant the choices I made on a daily basis were healthy ones and not reactive or ‘oooh that looks good’!
Only eat bread once a day.
Bread has to be the most prolific food and is available for breakfast; toast in the morning, quick sandwich at lunchtime and then a roll at dinner. It would be very easy to eat it for every meal but once a day as maximum. You can become sensitive to carbs in your menopausal years so it is important to notice what you are eating and be fussy with carbs.
On the side!
Only buy salad with dressings on side. There is a huge difference in calories when I compare the salad I make at home with the salad you get in hotels and restaurants. If I cannot see a separate dressing, I will not buy it as it often turns out to be the most calorific item on the menu!
Protein, protein, protein.
Eat protein at every meal
Take your time to eat.
Might sound a bit odd but we often put a lot of thought into what we are going to eat but don’t give ourselves enough time to let the healthy food digest slowly while you are relaxed. The course had a 45 mins lunch break on a few days. Which became a challenge as salads can take a while to eat! So I actually ate a bit less on those days and left some – which I know a lot of people find hard. However, eating quickly and rushing onto the next thing can leave you with an upset digestive system.
Know your numbers.
Due to clever marketing by food producers, just because something is packaged as healthy it is not always, or can be very calorific. Not that we count calories to the nth degree, but they do still matter! The chain EAT in the UK has detailed information on just about all of their products. I was able to check online and decided then what I would eat before I entered their shop.
When you eat out, someone else decides on your portions. Practice discernment if the portion is too big, even if this means leaving something on your plate. Hint: this will probably be carbs!
I always have a wee something in my bag to snack on that I know is healthy. Nuts are good, I like Bounce balls. Non-perishable items that are not going to squish in your handbag.
Meat and two veg.
Keeping it simple at meal times and looking for veggies in particular can be a challenge and often a side order. Having 5 a day can be a challenge so it is a priority for main meals.
If you are having something that fits into the occasional rather than everyday food list. Do you finish the plate or do you count bites? The carbs quiz on the start here page is a good indicator of your carbs sensitive level. Mine is fairly low, so I would be aiming for 3 bites.
How do you find eating in hotels? Easier or harder than at home?
Samantha Valand is the author of “The Menopause Diaries: A practical guide to healthy eating and exercising in your menopausal years”. You can find out more about her book here.