Friday, August 15, 2014

Eating Clean: Study Abroad Edition

Hello Clean Eaters! Many of you are students are headed back to your universities now. For the few lucky ones, you have the opportunity to study aboard! I have never studied abroad before, in fact I have never even left the country. I have always wanted to travel the wold and eat delicious international delicacies. For right now, I will just have to settle with American versions of many ethnic favorites. For those you who will be studying abroad (whether at sea or with a host family), you might be wondering how you will still be able to eat a clean diet. In fact, you might think that it will be close to impossible to eat clean in a place where rich, creamy dishes are the norm. Don't worry, although I have never studied abroad before, I am sure that the same rules that apply here, can apply everywhere.

1. HAVE FUN - You are studying abroad for a reason! No one travels to France to eat a salad all day so feel free to enjoy yourself and try out the all the international cuisines that you can. Now, if you read that last sentence you may have noticed the word TRY in there. The key to eating clean while studying abroad is to sample the dishes, not go overboard.

2. CREAMY EQUALS CALORIES - Creamy sauces are a combination of oil, butter, flour, cheese, or buttermilk...and sometimes all the above. Any cream sauce or soup that you are consuming comes with calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.

3. WINE AND DINE - The best part about studying abroad is that you might be able to buy and drink alcohol at a younger age than you would be able to here. For example, the legal drinking age in Europe is 18 years old (as opposed to 21 here in the United States). While I do not condone underage drinking, if it is legal in your country, then I'm not stopping now. However... do know that those classes of wine or cocktails will add up. Most cocktails are sugary concoctions that can easily add inches to your waistline. When you mix in soda, juices, and energy drinks, you are turning that drink into a high calorie dessert. In fact, even that "healthy" glass of wine can add up as even a single glass of wine can range from 150-300 calories. The key to drinking on a clean eating diet is to abstain from drinking totally or to drink as little as possible. Lastly, if you will be drinking, always drink responsibly and have a partner with you. For more, read here Healthy Eating: Drinking

4. SAY BYE-BYE TO FRIED - This one should be easy. Not only are most fried foods breaded in a creamy or flour base, they are then dunked into a vat of oil until it is ready. There are cleaner, more nutritionally sound ways to eat that turkey leg.

5. MEAT CHEAT SHEET - Watch out here since animal protein choices are already high in calories, fat, and contain cholesterol. International meat dishes are often times sauteed in oils and butters and later covered in high calorie sauces. While it may be rude in some countries to deny a dish or ask the chef to change his cooking style, you can control how much of that dish you eat. As a general rule of thumb, fish tends to be the healthiest animal protein sources, followed my poultry and read meat coming in last place.

Below are some common words to describe dishes and what they mean:
Aioli - fancy mayonaisse
Bechamel- a base for white sauces that comes from mixing flour and milk
Beurre Blanc - white butter sauce
Bisque - thick, rich soup made with cream
Confit - salted meat that is cooked within its own fat
En croute- a pastry dish that is wrapped in dough and baked
Hollandaise- a sauce made from butter, egg yolks , and lemon juice
Remoulade - a seasoned and herbed butter sauce
White sauce - AKA cream sauce

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