Firstly, an apology for my lack of posts in the past week but I have taken the unusual step of some actual time out and a holiday. Whilst New York City is amazing, healthy eating is not something it is known for. So I thought I would share my tips with you!
Long Haul Flight
The first hurdle of this holiday was the long haul flight. The last thing anyone wants at the start of a holiday is horrendous jet lag so sleep, hydration and good food is paramount.
Normally, I buy flight snacks in the airport because with the best will in the world, you always run out of time to buy them before a holiday. I tend to avoid anything high in sugar or salt as sugar will leave you in an energy slump and salt adds to bloating – not ideal.
Great options for this are veg sticks/ small packets of fruit (available in boots), Graze boxes (available in WH Smith) or a small packet of nuts (available in Starbucks). I also make sure that I get 1-2 bottles of water to keep hydrated as otherwise you are relying on the air hostesses coming round every so often for a top up of that tiny cup. Don’t forget that this is something you definitely need to buy after security but don’t fret as Boots or WH Smith normally do good deals.
Plane food is notoriously questionable and Delta Airlines were no better than the rest. You certainly weren’t going to go hungry but other than a dried up side salad with some awful tasting balsamic/ oil mix, there was were no healthy options – even the snacks consisted of salted nuts or ice-cream. However, the staff were excellent and constantly served drinks throughout the flight. What I will never understand though, is our inability as humans to say no to something which is ‘free’ as many of the other travellers opted for constant alcoholic drinks – a great way to enhance your jet lag. Other fluid you should avoid whilst flying: sports drinks (as these contain lots of salt and often sugar too), coffee/tea (the odd 1 is fine but these can add up to affect your sleep), high sugar drinks like coke/lemonade/fruit juice.
Our hotel was amazing! I know this isn’t a hotel review but honestly anyone going to NYC should check it out. In our room we had a fridge, cooker and coffee machine – facilities like this make it so much easier to eat flexibly so definitely check before you book. We were able to buy some fruit the first day from a local shop and keep fresh for easy, healthy (and cheap) snacks during our trip.
The hotel also included a breakfast which I was dubious about, as inclusive breakfasts aren’t normally great. But actually, I was very surprised at the vast selection of continental breakfast foods available. I opted for either a wholemeal bagel – 1/2 with cream cheese and 1/2 with just plain spread (the balance) or a Chobani yoghurt and banana. I did get caught out, however, with the instant oatmeal which was only available in flavoured varieties. Now, I do have a sweet tooth, but even for me the oatmeal was so sweet I could barely eat it so do watch out! Also, just a note from going to the US previously – even the ‘plain’ oatmeal has sugar in it – so try it before adding any honey.
I am a coffee addict so NYC is a dream! However, most of us aren’t used to having strong coffee all day long. This will affect your sleep pattern, making jet lag worse – best to have just 1-2 cups a day of the strong stuff and keep it pre-mid-day. Also, another note is that the American’s use something called ‘half and half’ in their coffee which is half cream/half milk. Yes, the ‘healthier’ alternative to cream but less healthy than our usual semi-skimmed milk. So just ask for the milk otherwise that saturated fat intake will soon rack up! One major bonus is there is NO bad coffee in this place so the need to sweeten it is never going to occur. Oh, and if you have a lactose intolerance – they have just as many milk alternatives as we do.
Last time I was in the US I paid for a day pass for a gym (gyms in LA are AMAZING!). However, just going for 4 days the last thing you want to do (or need to do) is go to the gym. Instead, just walk everywhere! We even did 14 miles on 1 day!!! Everything is within walking distance and it is a dam site quicker than getting a taxi. If you want to be really geeky like me then why not get a fitness tracker? This Garmin Vivoactive worked perfectly as it has GPS without being a big bulky thing to wear on holiday.
Be practical – you literally do so much walking in this place that a blister really could ruin the holiday. I know this may seem boring but invest in some trainers which you feel comfortable walking around in AND get some plasters just incase. I invested in some Nike trainers for walking about in, simply because I find their selection of slim line styles the best looking as such compared with other more chunkier styles
Also – why not go for a run in central park? It is so large that walking around the whole thing can take up a lot of your time with just a short trip.
Being a tourist = long days. So avoid long gaps between meals by having a healthy snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. You can easily pick up a selection in corner shops or coffee shops often do small ideal snacks like these from Pret a Manger which are just 160-190 calories (alot better than a slice of cake!).
Food & Eating Out
For lunches we mostly ate in delis where you can get both healthy and unhealthy foods (both amazing!). I generally opted for turkey and salad sandwiches, just to help balance out the evening meals which tended to be slightly unhealthier. Just be wary of their sandwiches though as they add tonnes of high sugar/fat sauce – just ask for sauce on the side or just a small amount. You can also order 1/2 sandwiches/rolls which are about the same size as a whole one of ours. Another thing to note is that the salads in NYC are amazing, BUT, are probably less healthy than a burger. Yes there are lots of veggies but they tend to add a load of mayo/ cheese so just ask what is comes with and tailor it to suit.
Evening meals are similar to the UK but add around 1/2 a portion onto what you ordered. Simply keep to the same principles when eating at home but please try not to eat it all – remember it takes 20 minutes to realise you are full. A key tip in this is to keep hydrated during the day so you don’t mistake dehydration signals for signs of hunger.
Sleeping is really important in order to avoid over eating and fully enjoy the trip. However, NYC is the city that doesn’t sleep – so I would strongly suggest bringing ear plugs!
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