Guest Post – Healthy Eating Tips & Recipes While Traveling

I am happy to welcome Guest Blogger – Alea from Premeditated Leftovers. I hope you enjoy the great tips and fabulous recipes she shares with us today for LOVA on the Go Series.

On one of our cross-country trips, we arrived to our destination late and were faced with more delays when got there. We were all tired, grumpy, and exasperated. My husband asked me, “What do you want to do?” I answered through gritted teeth, “All I want to do is feed my kids a nutritious meal”. My husband reminds me of those words every single time we travel! Sometimes I find his teasing amusing, occasionally I find it annoying, but a decade later those words are still true: I want to feed my family healthy food while we are traveling.

One of the ways I “feed my kids a nutritious meal” on the road is by preparing some of the meals myself in our hotel room. This requires a little bit of advance planning, but is actually not that difficult. It is healthier than eating fast food and can be more relaxing than going to a “sit down and wait” restaurant.

  1. Ask for a room with a refrigerator and microwave when you reserve your hotel room. You can create an amazing number of meals with a microwave and mini-fridge and you will more than make up for any additional charge by reducing the number of times you have to eat out.
  2. Plan which meals you will “eat in” into your schedule. Will you be eating most of your meals in your hotel? Only eating breakfast and dinner in? Research restaurants in the area that serve healthy dishes for those times when you want to treat yourselves.
  3. Google grocery stores near your destination, so you know where to do your grocery shopping. If we are traveling by car, I pack some non-perishables from home reducing the amount of shopping I must do when we arrive.
  4. If possible, pack a few essential cooking utensils: large lidded bowl, can-opener, knife, adjustable measuring spoon, Pyrex measuring cup, and wooden spoon. I do this even when we are staying someplace with a real kitchen, however, meals can be prepared without any of the above items. An ice-bucket makes a great salad bowl, coffee cups double as soup bowls, and hotel employees are usually willing to loan you items like a can-opener.
  5. Take advantage of shortcuts, buy smaller size packages, and don’t be afraid to make substitutions. Buy pre-cut veggies and diced veggies to reduce prep time. Buy the smallest amount possible to minimize waste. I also make healthy substitutions when on travel: instead of using dressing on a salad, I might top it with salsa which also doubles as a dip for chips and veggies.

Healthy Meals to Prepare While on Travel

Healthy Breakfast Ideas on the Road: Oatmeal, yogurt, and fresh fruit are delicious components of a simple breakfast. I like to make my own oatmeal packets before we leave.

Homemade Cinnamon and Spice Oatmeal Packet

1/2 cup instant oatmeal
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
2 teaspoons powdered milk (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
pinch of nutmeg

 Combine all ingredients in a snack size baggie. To serve, combine with boiling water until it reaches desired consistency. A couple tablespoons of chopped nuts make and a good addition and if you have access to a can opener, 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin makes a delicious addition!

Even though I like to keep it simple, my husband occasionally likes complicating things. On our last trip he brought a waffle iron and made us waffles on our first morning. Then he froze the leftovers, so all the kids had to do was heat up waffles in the microwave for breakfast while we slept in.

Easy Lunch Recipes to Make While Traveling: I always make sure I have the items necessary to make sandwiches on hand for picnics, but I occasionally get fancy and make wraps or quesadillas if we have stopped by our hotel for lunch.

Easy Asian Wraps

4 tortillas
3 – 4 cups leftover Asian Chicken Salad (recipe below)
4 tablespoons Asian dressing
3 tablespoons plain yogurt

Heat the tortillas for 20 – 30 seconds in the microwave to make them more flexible. In a small bowl, combine the dressing and yogurt. Spread the dressing on the tortillas, spoon the Asian Chicken Salad on to the tortillas and wrap.

Easy Veggie Quesadillas

4 tortillas
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup finely diced veggies
1/4 cup salsa

Place a tortilla on a plate. Sprinkle half of the cheese on the tortilla, then sprinkle half the veggies on the cheese, then pour half of the salsa on the veggies. Top with a tortilla and microwave for one minute or until cheese is melted. Repeat. Cut both quesadillas in half and serve with a salad or fresh fruit.

Simple Travel Snacks: If I have time before we leave on travel, I will bake a batch of cookies for our trip. Then when we want something sweet, we have something on hand and do not resort to packaged junk food. My husband has packed our ice-cream maker on a number of trips and made fresh ice-cream for the kids. But I am all about easy and lean towards simple snacks:

  • Chips and salsa
  • Cut veggies and hummus
  • Yogurt
  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts and/or trail mix

Easy Dinner Recipes for When You “Eat In” While on Vacation: The first evening we arrive I make it really easy and serve Rotisserie Chicken and side dishes from the deli of the local grocery store. Then I can use the leftover chicken to make other items.

Asian Chicken Salad

16 ounce bag of shredded cabbage
1 cup matchstick carrots
1/2 cup diced onions
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 pepper diced
1 cup leftover chicken, diced (optional)
almond slivers (optional)
~ 1 cup Asian salad dressing

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss until thoroughly combined. The leftovers will keep well and can be used in a wrap (recipe above).

Other Dinner Ideas:

Taco Salad

Combine your favorite salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add leftover chicken and/or a can of beans (drained). Serve it on a bed of broken tortilla chips and top with salsa.


Loaded Baked Potatoes

Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake 2 at a time for 8 – 10 minutes, flipping them over after half the time has elapsed. Moisten them with 1 – 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and then top with whatever you have on hand (cheese, leftover meat, leftover onions or peppers).

“Eating in” while traveling is not only healthy and frugal, but it can also be fun. I hate to admit this because someone might try to revoke my status as a foodie, but I even prepared some of my own meals while staying in France with my husband on our second honeymoon. We were staying in a hotel in Grasse and each morning we would walk down to the town center where I would buy what I needed from the local merchants. It was fun to live a bit like a local and it was magical eating dinner on the balcony of our hotel overlooking the valley.

How do you eat healthy while traveling?

Alea Milham shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home at Premeditated Leftovers. Her favorite hobby, gardening, is a frugal source of organic produce for her recipes. She believes it is possible to live fully and eat well while spending less. Alea can be found on Pinterest and Facebook.

Simple Healthy Tips while Traveling

Summer is finally here and for many of us that means time for getting away. Whether you planned a family vacation, a little weekend getaways or you simply travel for work.  It is always a challenge to stick with a workout schedule when you are in and out-of-town. No need to sweat, you have so many workout options available that this blog post would be very long. So here are some simple tips to get this series started.  Stay tuned for more LOVA on the Go! I have ideas, tips, meal planning and some workouts to share.

   WHERE ARE YOU GOING? Do a little research on your destination. Knowing what is available to you will help in planning your trip.

  • Contact the hotel or facility where you will be staying. Is there a workout gym? Ask what type of equipment they have i.e., treadmill, bike, weights, etc. That way you know what to expect.
  • Take your workout outside – find out if there are any public parks with hiking and running trails.  If you like to bike, see if there is a bike rental close to your hotel.
  • Some gyms may accommodate you if you have a membership at a participating gym. For example, if you have a Bally’s membership you may be able to utilize another Bally’s facility. Check your existing membership for information.
  • Another thing about gyms and fitness centers, you may be able to get a week pass for free or for a small fee during your stay.  Inquire with gyms near your hotel.
  • Check out Groupon or Living Social websites for deals from your destination.  You may find a classes like yoga, Pilates, barre, Zumba, bootcamps, etc. you can take at special coupon rates.
  • Are there any interesting “tourist” things to do? Just seeing the sights for a day will get you exercise. If you are on a tropical beach vacation, there may be volleyball, surfing and other water sports.  When I traveled to Boston, I walked everywhere including the Freedom Trail. I got my history lessons during that trip.

  TIME TO PACK! Yes I know not only are there clothes, toiletries to pack but don’t forget your workout gear.  Depending on where and what you have planned you need the appropriate workout clothes.

  • If you plan on hiking or running you are going to need the appropriate clothes (jacket, pants, and shorts) and foot gear.
  • Hitting the gym your plan you will need gym bag along with clothes and your gym membership.
  • Small props travel easy.  Resistant bands, light hand and ankle weights do not take up much room. A yoga mat may fit in your suitcase or bring it as a carryon in a mat bag. (You might be able to get some items in that bag too!) Even a small ball that can be blown up and deflated makes a great workout prop.
  • Don’t forget your MP3 Player!!!

  EATING HEALTHY…I feel this is the biggest challenge when traveling. Eating out makes it so easy to lose sight of maintaining a healthy diet.  For starters, we have no idea what goes into preparing the food we order.  Salt and non-healthy oils, not to mention some restaurant food is processed, so you can be consuming empty calories.

  • At the restaurant, request dressing and sauces on the side for dipping your bites instead of being poured all over your food.
  • Order fruit or vegetables instead of fries, pasta, etc.
  • If your hotel room is equipped with a small refrigerator, make a trip to the local grocery.  This will allow you to make healthy food choice and keep some money in your wallet.

These simple tips will help keep unwanted pounds off during your travels. You may even return home a little lighter.  But wherever you may go I know there is always an adventure and with new adventures may come new workouts!

LOVA On the Go!

Visit our posts on this series.

Simple Healthy Tips while Traveling

Guest Post – Healthy Eating Tips & Recipes While Traveling 

Mat Exercise of the Week – Corkscrew

This intermediate exercise is a great challenge for the abdominals, especially the obliques. Similar to Roll Over but with a ‘twist’, Corkscrew is a challenge for maintaining stability in the shoulders. I strongly recommend working with the beginner steps first then progress to advanced.

Cork Screw – Lift Hips

Repetitions: 3-5

Set Up:

From Open Leg Rocker – Bring legs together and reach arms to a high diagonal (Teaser) Roll upper body back to the matŸ lengthen legs up to 90 degrees

  • Arms active by the sides of the body or place hands under sacrum
  • Lengthen legs to the ceiling


Roll Through with Control

  • Beginner – Pull both legs into the Powerhouse then circle legs down and around in one direction then reverseŸ while keeping tailbone anchored into the mat
  • Intermediate  – Pull both legs into the Powerhouse and lift the last 4 vertebrae off the mat. Lower with control towards one hip, circle the legs around. Repeat to reverse direction
  • Advanced – Pull both legs into the Powerhouse to bring legs overhead parallel to the floor.  Roll through the spine towards one hip, circle the legs around with the Powerhouse. Lift hips up and over to reverse the circle.


Pull knees into the Powerhouse

LOVA Tips:

ŸThis exercise is all about control while articulating the spine to the mat while challenging the Powerhouse with asymmetrical movement. You will feel the obliques (side abs) ont  this one.  This is the first exercise to incorporate slight rotation of the spine. Try to keep the legs straight and hugging into the midline.  Maintain shoulder stability by keeping the blades anchored to the mat towards the hips. Make sure you advance the exercise with progression. Master each variation before taking on the next challenge. As you circle the legs away from the body deeply engage the Powerhouse to stabilize the spine. Refrain from allowing the lower back to arch.

For tight hamstrings, slightly bend the knees. This exercise is not recommended for individuals with osteoporosis or other bone density conditions and is not suitable for neck issues.

Previous exercise – Open Leg Rocker

Mat Exercise of the Week – Open Leg Rocker

This intermediate exercise is a great challenge for the abdominals.  The Powerhouse controls the “rocking” movement which is a massage for the spine. The main key of this exercise is control, one of the main principles of the Pilates method.


Open Leg Rocker


Repetitions: 3-5

Set Up:

  • ŸFrom Spine Stretch, bend both knees into the chest and place one hand on each ankle
  • Engage your Powerhouse to lift the feet off the mat and balance between your sit bones and tail bone
  • Lengthen both legs and open to hips width apart
  • Round into the abdominals creating a c-curve while still balancing



Use the Powerhouse to Rock Back


  • Inhale to roll back to the tip of the shoulder blades
  • Exhale roll back up and balance – hold for 1 count – repeat


Lower feet to the mat and lie back in the center of your mat

LOVA Tips:

This exercise is all about controlled movement.  The Powerhouse pulls the spine to the mat and with deepening the abs ‘in and up’ will provide the power to rock back up. If you have tight hamstrings hold behind the knees.  Lengthen through the arms and legs with opposition. For beginners and spine issues, hold the balance position.  This exercise is not recommended for individuals with osteoporois or other bone density conditions.

Click here for the next exercise in the mat repetoire – Corkscrew

Previous exercise – Spine Stretch

Mat Exercise of the Week – Spine Stretch

Sit up Nice and Tall! Now it is time to lengthen and stretch the spine in the first seated exercise. This exercise focuses on the stretch between each vertebra of the spine in addition to stretching the hamstrings.

Spine Stretch Setup "Sit Up Tall"

Repetitions: 3-5

Set Up:

ŸFrom Criss Cross – Roll up or Rock up

  • ŸSit up tall on the mat and center yourself
  • Extend the arms in front of body shoulder height
  • Extend legs out in front of body feet open mat width apart
  • Feet flexed


Stretch into a Deep C-Curve

  • Ÿ Inhale sit even taller and stretch the spine up
  • Ÿ Exhale as your body rolls forward creating a deep c-curve and deeply engaging the abdominals
  • Ÿ The height of the arms do not change throughout
  • Ÿ Inhale start to roll back up into tall spine position – Exhale sit tall
  • Repeat


Sit up nice and tall

LOVA Tips:

Because this exercise will re-teach you about correct posture, the focus should be on the length of the spine to sit up tall from the sit bones while reaching the head to the clouds. Keep the arms reaching in opposition while keeping the shoulders on the back.  Movement of the spine comes from the Powerhouse. If you have tight hamstrings or feel a pull in the lower back, bend the knees.

Click here for the next exercise in the mat repetoire – Open Leg Rocker

Previous exercise – Criss Cross (5 Ab Series)

A Method Focus – Matwork!

Matwork…the most versatile workout in the Pilates Method.  All you need is a floor and a mat. This workout can be done anywhere and everywhere.   This is the order I teach which is considered the Classical format, just as Joe taught it!

Each week I post an exercise of the week. I am currently working my way through the Classical Mat work. As we work through the Mat repertoire, I will update this list with links to the selected exercises.  I recommend to my clients to incorporate at least two Pilates workouts each week.



Roll Up

Roll Over*

Single Leg Circles

Rolling like a Ball

Single Leg Stretch

Double Leg Stretch


Lower /Lift*

Criss/ Cross*

Spine Stretch

Open Leg Rocker*


Still to Come….



Single Leg Kick*

Double Leg Kick*

Neck Pull*


Side Kick Series

Ÿ Front /Back

Ÿ Up/ Down

Ÿ Small Circles

Ÿ Inside Leg Circles

        One of the following for grand finale

Ÿ Large Leg Circles*

Ÿ Bicycle*

Ÿ Scissors*


Hip Circles*


Leg Pull – Front Support*



Push Ups*


*Intermediate Exercises

Mat Exercise of the Week – Criss Cross (5 Abs Series)

Here we are the last of the Pilates 5 Abs Series, and now it’s time to add a ‘twist’ to the work.  Criss Cross is the first exercise in the mat work to place emphasis on the obliques.  The obliques are important as they facilitate rotation of the torso and provide spinal stability for posture.  Time to “widdle away the middle”…love saything that!


Criss - Reach shoulder to knee

Repetitions: 5 sets


Set Up:

  • Lie back on mat
  • Knees are pulled into the Powerhouse
  • Place hands behind the head for support
  • Engaging the Powerhouse, lift the head, neck and shoulders off of the mat


Cross - Twist to the other side


  • Inhale twist torso reaching shoulder towards the opposite one knee
  • Extend the opposite the leg away to 45 degrees angle (straight leg)
  • Hold for 2-3 counts
  • Switch legs and twist to the opposite side



Bend knees into the Powerhouse, lower head, neck and shoulders.


LOVA Tips:

Twist from the waist. Use the Powerhouse to anchor the hips into mat and to stabilize the pelvis. Keep the elbows wide into your peripheral vision and shoulders on the back.  Work the legs in opposition, as one knee pulls into the Powerhouse the opposite leg reaches out. Keep head on the mat if you have a neck injury and work the legs to towards the ceiling. Congratulations! You have completed the Pilates 5 Abs Series.

Click here for the next exercise in the Mat repetoire – Spine Stretch

Previous exercise – Lower/Lift (5 Ab Series)

Mat Exercise of the Week – Lower/Lift (5 Abs Series)

Almost to the end of the 5 Ab Series, is now moving those straight legs together. I teach this exercise with a focus on lengthening the legs from the Powerhouse. There is a lot of opposition in this exercise.  Use the Powerhouse to anchor the tailbone and stabilize the spine and pelvis while the legs are in motion.

Setup Lower/Lift

Repetitions: 5 sets

Set Up:

  • Lie back on mat
  • Place hands behind your head for support
  • Engaging the Powerhouse, lift the head, neck and shoulders off of the mat
  • Extend both legs to 90 degrees


  • Inhale to lower both legs to 45 degrees
  • Hold for 1 count
  • Exhale lift legs back to 90 degrees

Lower to 45 Degrees


Bend knees into the Powerhouse then lower head, neck and shoulders.

LOVA Tips:

Lengthen the legs at the same time you stabilize the pelvis with the Powerhouse. Draw the shoulder blades on the back. If you have lower back issues, place hands under your tailbone. Keep head on the mat if you have a neck injury and work a smaller range of motion.

Click here for the next exercise in the Mat repetoire – Criss Cross (5 Abs Series)

Previous exercise – Scissors (5 Ab Series)

Mat Exercise of the Week – Scissors (Straight Leg Stretch – 5Abs Series)

Moving through the 5 Ab Series, now it is time work with straight legs. Next is Scissors. Enjoy the hamstring stretch while moving the legs with control from the Powerhouse. Be sure to keep the pelvis stable while the legs are in motion.

Scissors - Setup

Repetitions: 5 sets

Set Up:

  • Ÿ Lie back on mat
  • Ÿ Engaging the Powerhouse, lift the head, neck and shoulders off of the mat
  • Ÿ Extend both legs to 90 degrees
  • Ÿ Walk both hands up one leg and hold by ankle or as high as you can reach



Switch Legs

  • Ÿ Lower the opposite leg to 45 degrees
  • Ÿ Double pump the leg into the abdominals as you deepen them in and up.  The other leg reaches away in opposition. Try and keep legs straight
  • Ÿ Switch the legs



Bend knees into the Powerhouse then lower head, neck and shoulders.

LOVA Tips:

Use the Powerhouse to pump your leg into body.  Draw the shoulder blades on the back. If you have tight hamstrings, hold behind your thigh. Keep head on the mat if you have a neck injury.

Click here for the next exercise in the Mat repetoire – Lower/Lift (5 Ab Series)

Previous exercise – Double Leg Stretch (5 Ab Series)