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No Thanks to Cake: Travel and Dining Out Tips - JC Style

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Travel and Dining Out Tips - JC Style

Over the past 6 months, I've had to figure out how to eat out. Traveling about 15 days a month and the fact that I like to socialize, eating at home every night just isn't an option.  

One of the new JC'ers posted today that she is facing this challenge for the first time and I thought it might be a good idea to post more detail to share with others! Here goes....

Download the JC Dining Out App - Most of us have the JC Dining Out Guide, but the online version is more comprehensive and oh-so-handy. I have it on my iPad, but it can also be downloaded for iPhone and perhaps Android (?)

The best part about the guide is that is has lots of restaurants AND some general restaurant genres that you can search to make good choices. For example, if you know you are going to a Chinese restaurant, you can search the "Asian Restaurants" list. This also lightens your luggage for all your other travel necessities by not requiring you to bring the book!

Consider Bringing JC Food (Or picking it up when you get there) - I travel to some places that have a JC location (i.e. Boise, Salt Lake City) and some that don't (i.e. Montana, Wyoming, Idaho Falls.) If there's a JC location, I usually stop in to purchase food when I get into town. For example, when I'm in Salt Lake City (and I will be next week), I swing by the local JC and get my breakfasts, snacks, and dinners. However, when I'm in Montana (like this week) I have to plan a little more. I packed myself several JC meals (Rotini and Meatballs tends to be my go-to shelf stable item. I know it's a lunch, but it can be eaten for dinner.) I also bring dry breakfast items (typically, Complete Start Cereal) as well as snacks.  There really is NO reason not to stay on track for breakfast; however, many times, depending upon what I've eaten for the day, I forego my snack.  For example, if I've had a glass of wine with a client, no snack.

Find Some New Favorites - I'm a creature of habit, and honestly, I don't have the best willpower. If I was sitting at Macaroni Grill (a place I used to enjoy often when I traveled to Salt Lake), I don't know if I could say no to the bread. So, I don't go there.

Instead, I go to Buffalo Wild Wings - a new favorite. I don't know the menu at Buffalo Wild Wings aside from the Grilled Chicken Salad (no cheese, no croutons, no dressing, extra tomatoes, + toss the chicken in Spicy Garlic Sauce.) I don't even look at the menu, so I don't get tempted.  Another example is Cantina Laredo - I've only had their salad, so it's my go-to and SOOOOO good!

ALSO - You can get creative and invent items that aren't even on the menu! I did this recently when I was out to dinner while on a team meeting trip in California. The waiter was more than happy to accomodate me and to transform the chicken dinner into something I could eat. I ended up with a piece of grilled chicken (prepared with no oil/sauce) and a side of steamed broccoli and asparagus (no butter.) This dish was NO WHERE on the menu, but should have been!

A Few of My Go-To Dining Out Dishes - Chinese Restaurants: Steamed Chicken and Broccoli at Asian Restaurants, Mexican Restaurants: Fajita Chicken Salad (no cheese, no sour cream, no tortilla bowl, + salsa for dressing), Subway: They've got GREAT lunch choices on their Fresh Fit menu - - I LOVE the Veggie Delite and the Sweet Onion Teriyaki Chicken. I also stock up on their pre-sliced apples when I'm on the road so I get my fruits in! Salads: You can really do them anywhere. Just make sure that you have a lean protein and you remove all of the undesireables (cheese, croutons, bacon, etc) + lowfat/JC dressing on the side.  Thank goodness most restaurants have at least one salad! Chick-Fil-A: An old fave was the Classic Chick-fil-A Fried Chicken Sandwich.  Now, I opt for the Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich. McDonalds: The best side salad is here! I usually get 2 and split one of the Newman's Own Low Fat Family Style Italian Dressing - Yum-O.  This is great when I'm at a hotel, as I can pair it with a JC meal.  It's also great when I'm out of lettuce at home!

Hotel Living - When I can, I stay at a hotel with a concierge lounge I can use. I typically use Marriott hotels and they ALWAYS have a continental breakfast where I can get fresh fruit, fat free milk, and yogurt, and most times they have a happy hour where you can get veggies and fruit. This makes life so much easier. If you opt for Courtyard, Hampton Inn, Residence Inn, Spring Hill Suites type hotels, there will be a fridge/microwave in your room, and you'll have a continental breakfast to get your fruit/milk/yogurt. It works! Regardless, you can always ask for a fridge/microwave to be delivered to your room. Most are happy to accomodate. I've even had the hotel's front desk keep my frozen meals... the super nice and super accommodating staff at most places just want you to enjoy your stay. Seriously, they don't mind.

Airport Eating - When you can, eat before you go! That just makes life easier. If you can't eat before you go, plan for snacks - - bring an anytime bar or your JC snack. If you absolutely have to, there are some good options at the airport you can hunt down. Most restaurants have salads you can get and even the walk up places usually have fresh fruit items.  Don't settle for the bad stuff!  It's not worth it!

My FAVORITE airport find is Peeled Dried Fruit. When browsing the dried fruit, you have to be VERY careful not to buy the kind that's full of sugar, but SLC and Denver both have the Peeled dried fruit where the only ingredient is fruit. LOVE IT. The packaging to the left is one to look for (Psssssst: Starbucks sells it, too!)  The pineapple is the B-E-S-T, and the apples are tasty as well.  I've also tried the cherries and hear that the mango is amazing.  You can also pair them with a bottle of delicious H20, available throughout all terminals in massive containers! They even sell the packets of Crystal Light, if you're into that! 

Airport Restaurant Options:  Denver, Salt Lake City, and Boise all have Quizno's on their concourses that I've eaten at (Small Honey Bourbon Chicken Sandwich on wheat with extra tomatoes).  This weekend, I found out Nashville's best option on Concourse A might be Wendy's (believe it or not) - - where I had a 1/2 size Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad with fat-free Ranch as opposed to Caesar dressing.  Again, I use my iPad app to determine what's best...

Another tip:  TSA is FINE with you bringing fresh food through without additional screening required.  Pack your shelf stable dinners/lunches in your checked bag and only bring what you need for the flight! I've been known to bring a Subway sammie through. I did ask an agent about a salad with dressing I wanted to bring through recently, and he said to pour the dressing on your salad before you go through if it's over the three ounce limit. If you have a packet, just toss it into your resealable bag with your lip gloss and other "weapons."

BOTTOM LINE:  It can be done.  You just have to determine how dedicated you want to be.  In the end, after you are done with JC, you have to know how to make good choices.  Eating out and while traveling is helping you get ready for maintenance!

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At May 12, 2011 at 9:40 AM , Blogger Bobbi said...

Hi Kelly! I found your blog through your comment on a post at Peanut Butter Fingers. LOVE the name of your blog! I look forward to learning more about you :)

At June 3, 2011 at 8:27 PM , Blogger No Thanks to Cake said...

I love that you found me that way! I love PBF!

At July 30, 2011 at 9:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly,
I just discovered your blog yesterday. I love it. After reading about the JC Dining guide apps for the iPhone and iPad, I searched my android and found no JC apps. I wrote JC and am waiting for a reply as to whether there will be JC Android apps in the future. I'll let you know. --Jane C.

At August 1, 2011 at 7:27 PM , Anonymous Jane C. said...

I just got my answer, so to speak, from JC. I suspect I'll never hear from them again, but at least the Android question is out there now. Perhaps if bunches of Android users start asking them why they don't have a JC Dining Guide for Android phones, not to mention other JC Apps, they'd do something. Here's what they wrote:

WebCustomerService to me
show details 4:41 PM (4 hours ago)
Hi Jane,

I am not sure why we do not have an app for Android yet but I apologize
for any inconvenience and will certainly relay your feedback to the
appropriate department.

Best wishes,

Thomas Doherty
Jenny Craig Resource Center


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