Between airport snacks, fast food, and indulgent dinners, traveling can really ruin a diet. I depend on routine to maintain my healthy eating habits, so traveling for pleasure or business almost always derails my efforts.
I reached out to health coach Kim Chilinh to get tips on how to eat better, even when I’m away. She’s based in New York City, but is familiar with the realities of traveling, since she hits the road several times a year.
Q. How did you get into nutrition?
A. Growing up in France has been a big influence on my lifestyle. Being surrounded with fresh, locally sourced food definitely had an impact on my eating habits.
Eating healthy in France is not a luxury, it is a way of life. After moving to the US, I realized that it is quite the opposite, it costs more to buy organic and fresh products and people are discouraged by the prices and also by the lack of time to prepare foods, due to heavy workloads and having less vacation time in general.
For a decade, I had worked as a producer, making films, music videos & documentaries. Though being constantly on set and working extensive hours didn’t stop me from eating healthy.
During this time I met my mentor and friend Alexis Romano, a certified health and wellness coach of over 10 years, who inspired me to coach people around the world to have a healthier lifestyle. I’ve been coaching people remotely from NYC, San Diego, LA, Arkansas, Portland, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and in London.
I help my clients follow a nutritional program for the first 30 days to get them on a good track, and then monitor their progress periodically over time. The goal is to reset their body, to release the toxins and refuel the body with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals. Together we calculate how many calories they should consume or burn based on their lifestyle and health & fitness goals.
Q. What does “eating clean” mean?
A. To me, eating clean is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. It includes eating healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, wholes grains, and good fats while avoiding processed foods. And includes drinking plenty of water throughout the day which most people forget. This curbs the appetite hydrates the skin and allows for the uptake of all the nutrients in their food.
[…] water is an excellent detoxifier and it helps flush out toxins from your body, promoting mental and physical health.
Q. What role does nutrition play in being healthy or losing weight?
A. The right nutrition means much more than losing weight. It offers numerous health benefits that keep your body strong.
Following a healthy nutritional program provides the fuel for all physical work and all mental decisions and choices we make throughout our days. This healthy state comes from the inside out, it gives your body energy throughout the day, repairs tissue and cancels out free radicals in the body. And most importantly helps you remain in a balanced place both mentally and emotionally.
Q. How do you come up with a menu for a client?
A. I love cooking healthy so I already have lots of recipes ready. I modify the menu based on the client’s lifestyle and goals. Understanding whether the client needs to run a calorie deficit (lose fat) or a surplus (gain muscle mass) is key to this.
Then each meal is made to include the right amount of carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats to achieve this caloric goal.
Q. How can we adopt better eating habits?
A. My tips are:
1. Drink more water
People generally don’t drink enough. We recommend around eight 8-ounces glasses, which is 2 liters per day. As I stated before water is an excellent detoxifier and it helps flush out toxins from your body, promoting mental and physical health.
2. Make eating more fun and enjoyable
Make a list of healthy ingredients you enjoy and try to always have them on hand. I suggest eating multiple meals ( 5-6 ) during the day because every 3 hours your blood sugar begins to fall.
3. Prepare healthy snacks
Keep on hand mixed nuts, dried fruits, dark chocolate, green apples, bananas, chia seed pudding and so on….so when you’re hungry at 3pm, you can grab your already prepared snacks, instead of an often less healthy alternative on the fly.
Life is all about balance.
Q. How can you maintain those habits while traveling?
A. Never skip breakfast. If you don’t have time, have a protein shake that will keep you full for the next 3 hours. It’s healthy and quick.
I always have my favorite protein shake before jumping on a plane. So I am not tempted by all the food at the airport.
When I travel, I pack my favorite protein shake in my suitcase so I am sure I have them with me for quick healthy meal replacement if needed. And my bag is always full of pre-planned healthy snacks, a green apple or banana, and my favorite bottle of water.
You can still enjoy life a little and if you have a business meeting, you are allowed to eat what makes you happy as long as the following day you are back on track. Life is all about balance.