My husband and I have a two-out-of –three challenge with metabolic syndrome. This is the condition—characterized by insulin resistance, high blood pressure (hypertension) and a superabundance of abdominal fat--that can, if left unchecked, lead to heart disease, stroke and early death. We would like to avoid that. We have plans…
So, I have the insulin resistance part, but my blood pressure is picture perfect. His blood pressure is in the red zone, but he never shows a blip on the blood glucose tests. We both work religiously on the abdominal fat issue. I get in regular exercise, but have to fight off the cookie monster on a daily basis (though, since becoming gluten intolerant, it is more of a high end chocolate and potato chip monster!) Ed travels frequently for business. He walks as much a possible—sometimes as much as ten miles a day—on these trips (we both wear pedometers and aim for 10K steps a day—about 5 miles).
Eating restaurant meals and pre-selected buffet and banquet food are the most difficult part of Ed’s “travel dance”. It is a given that these foods are high in salt and they are usually higher in fat than is healthy for anyone, let alone anyone trying to manage weight. It is also hard to order salad in a nice restaurant when everyone around you is having big chunks of meat and French fries!
Here are some ideas we have been developing. Ed takes breakfast and lunch with him for his first travel day. Before leaving, he checks out the city he will be in for a “good” market likely to have healthier food alternatives: Whole Foods, Wild Oats or other “natural” food oriented markets, and maps the location in relation to his hotel. Depending on his flight times, he can usually go out “hunting and gathering” shortly upon arrival. When possible we look for residence or extended stay hotels that have working kitchens. The next option is a room with a refrigerator and microwave. And if there is neither, there is at least an ice machine. Ed carries his travel food in an insulated bag, along with two small lidded storage dishes. Pack those with ice and put with sandwich meat and cheese into the bag and, voila, refrigeration.
Head over to the bakery and pick up a loaf of good, whole grain bread and some of those condiment packets from the deli counter and the Earl of Sandwich would be thrilled. But we do not live by sandwiches alone! Veggies from the salad bar fill out the meal. This combination goes for breakfast, lunch, dinner—whenever he does not have “socially mandated” meals to attend.
Since I have the gluten intolerance issue, when I am along on trips where room picnics are on the plan, we often go for a salad from the salad bar and cheese or meat from the deli counter or shrimp or even crab from the fish counter—those “fancier” stores have some pretty elegant options. Ed gets bread; I get potato chips. Add your favorite beverage and maybe a bit of fruit or a little chocolate and voila, a meal to rival at least the mid-range restaurants in taste and at a fraction of the cost and calories.