A Frequent Traveler's Guide to Healthy In-Room Dining
The in-room dining menu is easy, convenient and usually covers all the bases—salads, burgers, regional cuisine and decadent options for when you just need a treat. But, as with any food menu, some selections are definitely better than others when it comes to calories, fat, sugar and sodium. Jamey Rice, a sports dietitian and nutrition coach at IMG Academy, shares how to navigate the typical room service menu so you feel better and have energy to spare.
What to order at breakfast: Those pancakes may sound appealing, but you’ll likely be craving a nap afterward. Instead, lean protein, whole grains and nutrient-packed fruit and vegetables are the ideal start-your-day trifecta. “Including sources of protein and fiber at each meal helps keep you full, provides the building blocks for muscle and supplies steady energy for the day ahead,” Rice says. For protein, order Greek yogurt, smoked salmon, low-fat or skim milk, or eggs (frittatas and omelets are the perfect vehicles for veggies). Steel-cut oatmeal and multi-grain toast are better choices than sugary, fat-laden muffins and pastries.
What to order for lunch: Keep the protein-first plan going, especially if you want to avoid the mid-afternoon slump and cravings. Opt for a chicken breast or turkey burger (sans bun or fries), salad with a lean protein, or seafood. Pile on the vegetables again.
What to order for a snack: This is where the honor bar can come in handy. Small packs of nuts, trail mix or protein bars are good, quick pick-me-ups, says Rice. Stockpile a few apples from the lobby stash if there is one and you’ll always have one handy.
What to order for dinner: Adopt the same plan you did at lunch and try to keep portion sizes small so you don’t feel stuffed. Overeating can disrupt your sleep, which is the last thing you want on vacation or in the middle of a business trip.
What to order late at night: The first rule here would be to avoid late-night dining, especially if you had dinner. There will likely be some healthy options but you’re probably not craving a salad at 2 a.m. If you’re going to indulge in something sweet, think portion control and look for sorbet, fresh berries or anything with fruit, such as a berry compote. Pair it with a decaffeinated herbal tea, such as chamomile, and you’ll be asleep before you know it, and will wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
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