The competition is fierce and as the oldest team in the mix, we decided we better start “training” for the Best of the Road rally. So we turned to our good friend, comedian & fitness expert Tim Wilkins to find out what we should eat while ‘on the road’ this summer……
Summer travel doesn’t have to be a vacation from your diet!
By Tim Wilkins, Fitness Comedian and author of “Laugh Your Abs Off”
The summer travel season is here but it doesn’t mean you have to take a vacation from eating right and good health. Unfortunately for many of us though we leave for our trips as passengers and return as cargo. Never fear, there are a number of tips that can keep you looking and feeling great during your next round of planes, trains, and automobiles.
Probably the two most important factors in braving the nutritional road are knowledge and preparation. If you know what to eat at the various sit-downs and drive-thrus you can make more informed decisions about what to have when you get there. Most every restaurant has nutritional info in-store or online but to cut a few research corners for you however let me offer this:
- Salads can be a trap on the road. Many are served with a breaded and fried meat and iceberg lettuce that has the nutritional value of wet paper. I take that back, paper has slightly more fiber, the lettuce however is full of vitamin K which keeps blood from clotting. You’ll need this to offset the cheese and fatty dressings that most restaurants load on their salads.
For easy ways to navigate the world of salads consider; Chef salad, how often do you see a fit chef? Caeser, an obese Roman dictator. And what lives on a Ranch, pigs and cows. Even low-fat Ranch dressing is up to 80% fat. As with all dressings, get them on the side or that’s where they may end up…on your sides. Try for a variety of veggies on your salads and be sure to add a quality protein source like grilled chicken or fish.
- Fried equals died, as in your diet has just been put to rest by indulging on your trip. It’s not just a way to pack on a little carry-on but could give you a case of the blahs. Eat fresh to feel fresh on the road. Order your meat, chicken, fish, and more, grilled, baked, or blackened with sauces…on the side.
- When you do find yourself heading through a drive-thru the old standby is the trusty grilled chicken sandwich. The only place to be careful with those however is the special sauce which should be replaced with BBQ sauce, mustard or ketchup. They don’t call it the “Mayo” clinic for nothing, avoiding that glob of flavor on your bread can help keep your pounds down and arteries clear.
- Watching your carbohydrate intake on the road can be a huge challenge. With a never-ending supply of bread baskets, rice, and pasta dishes, it’s easy to lose sight of how many calories we’re eating. This is a big way that restaurants make money, most chefs think of carbs like a Kardashian; a high price tag but cheap and easy. Consider skipping the pasta and doubling up on your vegetables.
- Speaking of vegetables, they can be a tough thing to keep up with while traveling. Whenever possible get them steamed and not stir-fried or in a casserole. Raw is always good just avoid fatty dips, think “skinny” dips like hummus.
- You are what you what you drink too! It’s easy to forget about the 600 calories in your cookie-chino or sodas and even easier to let the floating party slip by as you add a couple extra drinks to your days. Water is always a good choice, especially before sitting down to eat or drink to fill the tank. (Just be mindful if it’s a car trip of the amount of “pit stops” you’ll have to make. Nobody wants to be that person.)
- When all else fails, many convenience stores are now selling fruits, vegetables, protein bars and shakes. Avoid the gravitational pull of the chip aisle and the hot donut cabinet and you’ll be just fine.
As for preparation, bring snacks. Fruit, nuts, trail mix, and lots of yummy water. If you get hungry have a snack between meals. That will keep you from making dietary mistakes out of desperation. When your blood sugar drops, so does your judgment.
Traveling is a great time to enjoy the variety of flavors that is special to the area you are visiting. Just because a state is famous for its pork sandwiches though, it’s no excuse to be a pig. Enjoy the tastes of the road moderation so you can expand your culinary horizons without expanding your waistline.
Speaking of portions there is no shame in getting an appetizer and an entrée and sharing them. More than 70% of entrees were recently found to greatly exceed portion standards, and not only is sharing a great way to stay in shape, but you’ll save money on gas by not weighing down the car. Cha-ching!
The most crucial thing to take off of this summer’s menu though is pressure. Do your best to eat right and take care of yourself but more than anything else, use what little time you have traveling to relax. You can go back on your diet when you get home.
Tim Wilkins is a 20 year veteran stand-up comedian, TV and radio personality, speaker and writer, who has performed on stages around the world. Tim has entertained millions in legendary venues ranging from Radio City Music Hall and the Greek Theatre, to casinos, cruise ships, and even chow halls in Afghanistan. As a former Marine it is the shows for our men and women in uniform that are especially meaningful
After years of making various TV appearances, in 2006 he became the co-host of the Monday-Friday live morning talk show “Studio 10”, on the CBS station in Tampa, FL. In addition to the normal local talk show duties, Studio 10 gave him the opportunity to pursue another dream; becoming a TV chef with his healthy recipes on a weekly segment called “Tim Cooks Smart”. This garnered Tim and his wife, co-host Michelle Phillips, a Culinary Academy award for best TV presentation in 2009 and a Florida Hall of Fame award for 2011! Currently he can be seen on national TV in the kitchens of HSN.
Tim has hosted the Mr. Olympia and Fitness Olympia bodybuilding shows seen on ESPN, Fox Sports, and TLC. He has been a fitness and nutrition writer for Muscle and Fitness, Natural Muscle, BodyCheck.com, and speaker for corporations and colleges across the country. His book, Laugh Your Abs Off!, is due out this fall.
Currently he is the face of MOR TV in Tampa and he also been seen nationally on ESPN2, Fox Sports, TLC; “The Daily Buzz”, “BetterTV”, “Daytime”, and CMT’s “Next Big Comic”.