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Georgia on My Mind: How a Dietitian Stays Healthy on the Go

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Georgia was on my mind recently when I attended a nutrition convention with about 250 other Registered Dietitians in lovely Savannah, Georgia.  While I was surrounded by southern comfort foods, hospitality and charm, thank heavens SparkPeople was also on my mind to keep me on target.

Trip Highlights:
  • A rainy morning in Cincinnati and Atlanta resulted in a delay of my flight leaving Cincinnati as well as being able to land in Atlanta.  Of course, this left me with a grand total of 12 minutes to catch my next flight. Thank heavens I've been doing Coach Nicole’s 28 Day Boot Camp and was in ample shape to run through the airport and arrive with 3 minutes to spare!
  • Grits are now my best friend. Yea, I know that grits aren’t a whole grain and they can be slathered with butter or syrup or cheese or shrimp or a combination.  But dang, is this ever a southern comfort food ! Thank heavens there is no such thing as ''good-food, bad-food'' at SparkPeople.   Since all foods can fit, I plan to enjoy these grits again on my next trip south.  It is still all about portion control and how often the food occurs in your meal plan.  A vital lesson for all to learn! Deprivation does not belong in your weight loss vocabulary.
  • While in Savannah, I discovered that this is the ''Year of the Girl,'' and I’m proud to have been a Girl Scout. Thank heavens for Juliette Gordon Low, Savannah native and founder of the Girl Scouts in the United States. This woman was not only a skilled painter and sculptor; but also a strong swimmer, captain of her rowing team, and enjoyed canoeing and tennis as an adult.  She never let her deafness, back problems or cancer keep her from full participation in life.  She was a woman with a mission and a vision. (SparkPeople’s founder, Chris Downie, would be proud.)  Low encouraged girls to prepare not only for traditional homemaking, but also for future roles as professional women.  What started on March 12, 1912 with just 18 girls has grown to 3.7 million members…primarily without computer, cell phones, internet, Facebook and social networking.  I was inspired!  This is the YEAR OF THE GIRL!   
  • Savannah knows the way omega-3’s should be served. Yes, this city is known for its deep-fried seafood and everything else, but thank heavens for the mouth-watering grilled salmon that I had at several of the Savannah restaurants.  I can already feel the omega-3 fatty acids boosting my immune system, my brain and my mood….and with no ''fishy burps'' or aftertaste.  This is why one should select real food over fish supplements.  I look forward to my continued intake of omega-3 fatty acids with Chef Meg’s recipe for Maple-Glazed Roasted Salmon. 
  • From overcoming poverty to dealing with her diabetes, Paula Deen, queen of southern cooking, is an American icon. While I didn’t get the chance to eat at her restaurant (The Lady and Sons), I was able to check it out while touring Savannah’s historical district.  Paula was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago, and informed the public of her medical condition early in 2012.  She took some knocks for ''hiding'' the disease while still promoting her high-fat, sugary creations. Thank heavens our members at SparkPeople understand the need for privacy when dealing with difficult times.   If Paula ever needs some daily support and encouragement, I hope she checks out SparkPeople’s diabetes center and our popular SparkTeams.
  • Designed in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Squares of Savannah are a walker's dream today. Thank heavens for General James Oglethorpe’s design for Savannah in 1733.  Each of the 24 squares is planted with beautiful shrubbery and magnificent oaks.  At the center of each square is a monument, statue, fountain or gazebo.  Walkers have the right-of-way so that a person can walk from square to square to square, crossing street after street without having to stop for a car. This Sparker walked for miles without the worry of being hit, while taking in the breath-taking sites, especially Chippewa Square, famous for its appearance in the film Forrest Gump. What a great way to get extra exercise on a trip!
I really enjoyed my time in Savannah and it was fun to look back and realize how much I incorporated my healthy SparkPeople lifestyle into my trip. Thanks to both Georgia and SparkPeople for an experience I won't soon forget!

Is SparkPeople on your mind when you go on a trip? How do you incorporate healthy living into your day when you're out of town or on vacation?

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CHERYLHURT 4/13/2020
Excellent food food Report
I've never been to Savannah but felt like I had a visit via your entertaining blog. Grits are a favorite comfort food but I use portion control and that makes the difference. Report
thanks Report
thank you Report
great. Report
good article Report
Enjoyed reading this post.
What wonderful perspective applied to real life. It's so easy to veer away from healthy choices when away from normal patterns and yet that's what life gives us change - how wonderful when we can flexibly respond. Thank you. Report
Thank heavens for Dietitian Becky, her helpful, evidence-based advice, and her positivity!! Great blog! Savannah is such a beautiful place to visit. Report
Enjoyed your blog entry! Am an RD and former GS leader who took two troops of girls to JGL's home. Report
We are going to visit my daughter at college next weekend. I found out there is a great seafood restaurant there, which I plan on visiting. We also chose a hotel with an indoor pool so we could get some cardio in. Report
On my most recent trip I logged 4 miles inside the airport terminal. If I had not been working so hard on a SP Streak, of doing cardio every day, I would have spent the time sitting at the gate. Not now! Report
It is nice to see someone grateful for the little things as well as deserving women icon.

I think trips away from home (whether for vacation, business, etc.) are a true test of whether what you've learned at Spark People has truly become a way of life for you or not. After 3 years of Sparking, I find I don't really have to think about it too much when I'm gone. I love looking for new places to walk and get in exercise (always thrilled to find a hotel with a workout facility). Eating out isn't really a problem- Spark has taught me to think portion control and not deprivation. (BTW, Coach Becky, I've lived in the South all my 65 years and you are more than welcome to come back and eat my share of grits!) Report
Not only is grits a comfort food, you can also buy it freshly ground (usually at festivals) and then it's whole grain. It takes longer to cook, but so does brown rice. So glad you liked Georgia. I live 2 hours south of Savannah and I love it here too. Close to beaches to walk/run, mtns to climb and fresh and salt water fishing. A Spark People paradise! Report
"Thank heavens there is no such thing as ''good-food, bad-food'' at SparkPeople. Since all foods can fit, I plan to enjoy these grits again on my next trip south. It is still all about portion control and how often the food occurs in your meal plan."

This is why I love Becky Hand...she is so sensible! Report
I haven't been on a "real " vacation in years. Report
Sounds like a nice trip and I want to go to Savannah sometime soon. Report
Eating healthy on vacation is an adventure in itself. I find it to be fun to search out new and healthy food on the road. Plus, I use vacation to "reboot" my mind and my body no matter where I am. Report
I am starting out on my weight loss journey. Living in the south seems to make it so much harder because everything is fried! I'm glad you had a good time, and was able to find some healthier alternatives! That Chef Meg recipe...I am gonna have to try that! Report
I've been to Savannah several times and I agree, it is a great city to walk around in. I also discovered grits thanks to my late father-in-law. Got to admit I like mine with cheddar cheese and hot sauce, but only have them a few times a year. Report
I'm really astounded by an article about Savannah, Georgia which doesn't say anything about Black Americans. As if there's any culture in Georgia, and in Savannah, which isn't related to Black America. Report
It can be really, really tough to live in the south sometimes; fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, grits with red eye gravy (seriously, yum), biscuit and gravy, the list goes on and on.

I'm glad you had a great time; you'll never find a more hospitable place than good old Georgia! Next time, you'll have to let us know, and we'll have a big SP get together. Report
Wanted to return to Savannah the moment the plane landed in Minneapolis. Loved the green spaces. Loved the Architecture. Loved the peopl. Being mindful of one's intake on vacation is tough, and especially the South. I think I compensated for some of the intake with all the walking we did. Thanks for sharing, Becky :) Report
Spark People is on my mind ALL the time - at home and away! It has become my lifeline, and if I don't know something about a food, I will check it out on Spark People and online BEFORE I eat it, not after. I will NEVER NEVER go back to the way I was last year, before starting this journey. I always knew that food was FUEL, not "fun" or recreation - but I was picking all the wrong foods. Yes, even a chronic undereater can gain weight - from living on sodium-intensive Ramen noodles for months at a time; from intense stress, lack of sleep and skipping meals because food costs too much. The weight is gone (I went very very very deeply into debt eating healthy, completely on credit card cash advances that I can't afford to repay) - the stress is worse than ever and I still can't sleep. BUT the weight IS gone! And I work out every day. Report
grits can be a healthy addition to your diet. as a comfort food, you crave them. well, if you give in and have a half cup, that's fine. it's when you binge on them and eat the whole 5# bag at one sitting! lol
and, as a girl scout leader, i applaud you for the mention in the article. i was reading your blog just so i could say something, but you beat me to it! happy birthday, girl scouts! Report
Grits are only 100 calories in a pack if you chose them plain. I eat them occasionally and with an egg they are a great breakfast. Report
I truly enjoy cheese grits, but haven't had any in about two years. I just assumed that comfort food was a 'no-no' and haven't checked the nutrition data. Adding shrimp to the cheese grits... Mmmm. Report
I treat myself to grits every Sunday morning for breakfast along with some fruit and milk. I love my grits and contray to popular opinion they can be a healthful addition to anyone's diet. Report