We think that some of the best lessons and tips come from real people sharing their own challenges, tips, and solutions. So as part of our regular blog, we’re bringing you a new interview each month with someone who faces common daily challenges to their healthy eating routine, and works to overcome them. This way you can learn, firsthand, how they incorporate healthy habits! This month’s interview is with Jaime Maser, Vice President, Brand and Public Relations, at La Prairie. We love that Jaime consistently squeezes healthy food choices and regular workouts into a very busy schedule (that involves a lot of travel).
Willow & Stephanie: Since you have a pretty demanding work schedule (i.e. it’s not your regular 9-5er), do you find it challenging to find time to prepare your own meals/snacks? What’s your favorite trick for eating healthy meals/snacks when you’re working long days?
Jaime Maser: Try as I might, I’ve never been partial to pre-prepared meals and snacks. While it makes much more sense from a budgetary and common sense perspective, the convenience and sheer variety of delivery options in NYC wins out over prepping my own meals. I do manage to eat healthy meals during the workday by sticking with fresh, healthy restaurant options. I opt for Dishes or Le Pain Quotidien for breakfast (oatmeal with walnuts & berries or whole grain bread and peanut butter), Calista, sense a bowl or brown rice sushi from Iwasaki. I also keep a box of Van’s 97% fat free waffles and a jar of natural peanut butter at work in case I need an energy boost before I leave at night for the gym. If I’m home for dinner, I’ll order in from Rice, Organic Grill or The Grey Dog, which are great. If I’m entertaining an editor for breakfast or dinner, I always look at the menu ahead of time online so I know what I’m in for. I also suggest restaurants that I know have some healthy options. And my mostly vegetarian diet naturally helps me keep me in check. I’m also lucky enough to not have a sweet tooth so I never order dessert.
W&S: How often do you hit the grocery store? What are some of your favorite healthy eating staples to make eating healthfully on-the-go easier?
JM: Not often enough! Our refrigerator houses mostly beverages, condiments and my nail polish and face masks! It’s rather sad – but common in New York City!The staples we keep at the apartment are basic: green tea, Keurig one-cup coffee (for my boyfriend, who I live with), agave, edamame, Cheerios, black beans, chickpeas, olive oil, bananas, Ciao Bella sorbet, natural peanut butter, tons of spices.
W&S: We love following you on Twitter and see that you travel a ton. Any tips for fitting more fruits/veggies, and fewer processed foods, into travel eats?
JM: With my job (North America PR for La Prairie products and namesake spas), I’m on the road quite a bit. Traveling can certainly throw a wrench into healthy eating, but there are always options – you just have to know what to look for. I measure out (love measure up bowls to keep my portions in check) Cheerios or Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls and pack those in Ziploc bags so I’m prepared. If I’m catching an AM flight, I fuel up with oatmeal from Starbucks or Jamba Juice. If I’m taking an afternoon flight, I pre-pack a pb and jelly sandwich and buy a banana and multi-grain pretzels for the plane. And I always – always – buy the 1L bottle of smart water. Hydration is key is to keep my body – and skin – healthy. I also try to fly Virgin or Jet Blue whenever I can; they have great protein & fruit dishes you can purchase on-board.
As soon as I check in to the hotel, I grab a banana or Nature Valley® Oats N Honey Granola Bar to tide me over through meetings. Sometimes one of our hotel partners will put chocolate covered strawberries in the room as a welcome. I try to stick with only two – they’re too good to resist!
For dinner, I always start with a salad so I can get my greens in. I get the dressing on the side or use just a touch of olive oil to dress my salad and make substitutions: feta instead of blue cheese, walnuts instead of candied pecans. etc. I also always make sure my plate is not one color, especially brown or yellow, because that indicates too many carbs and not enough veggies. If I get room service, I ask them not to bring the bread basket, and I always ask for extra water bottles and no chocolates or cookies during turn-down service.
The reality is, I definitely splurge more when I’m traveling – every meal is eaten out, 24/7 room service, entertaining guests over wine, etc. I balance these things out by ensuring I get my workouts in. Even if I’m going for just one night to Dallas, LA or Toronto, I pack my sneakers and resistance band and hit (or try to) the hotel gym. I hear my trainer (Rob Sulaver aka Bandana Training) in my head telling me I can find the time for a workout, however quick it is…and he’s right. Even if I can only squeeze in a jump rope workout and abs, it’s something.
W&S: What’s one thing you’d like to improve about your way of eating for 2012 and how do you plan to do it?
JM: My food kryptonite: French fries. I’d love to have a better handle on my indulgence – or at least master better portion control when it comes to fries. I’d also love to be better about not eating dinner quite so late. It’s tough, because I work out after work, taking a late Soul Cycle class, training with Rob, or doing my own workout at Equinox, so oftentimes am not home until 8:30 or 9pm. When I do eat late, I try to keep it light and avoid processed carbs.
W&S: No matter how crazy long your work day is or how hectic your travel schedule, is there one healthy habit you never let slide…no matter what?
I always get my fill of water. I must make 10 trips to the water cooler at work, and we also have one at our apartment – best housewarming gift we ever received! I make good use of the office Keurig and have a cup of green tea with a small squirt of agave to warm up and fill up! I’m also lucky in that water’s the only beverage – aside from tea or the occasional iced coffee – I drink on the regular. I’ve never been a soda or juice person.
W&S: We’ve challenged our readers to a month of healthy habits. Some are daily habits and some are weekly or monthly. Which of our healthy challenge checklist items do you already do and which do you strive to do more often?
JM: Keeping a food / workout journal is KEY – this I learned from Steph & Willow! It absolutely keeps you in check. It’s so easy to do, too – I keep everything in the notes of my blackberry. Another crucial nutritional lesson I take to heart: I eat breakfast every morning. It’s part of my AM routine – get to work, order breakfast online, read Women’s Wear Daily and the industry blogs, check twitter, respond to emails. It’s crucial to starting my day off right. I incorporate whole grains in lieu of processed carbs whenever possible – i.e.: substitute brown rice for white rice with sushi, order whole wheat for regular pasta when it’s available.
One goal I’m working towards would be to make dinner at home one or two nights a week vs. constantly eating out or ordering in. Not only will it help my budget, but then I control my sodium and fat intake and not leave it in the hands of a restaurant!Another goal would be to unplug during a meal. I often eat lunch at my desk during work, and feel I’m just going through the motions (not paying attention to my food or enjoying the meal.) I’d like to work towards moving away from the desktop, blackberry, phone, etc. and enjoy my meal, instead of just rushing through to get on to the next task. This is absolutely something I want/need to address and work on!”
W&S: Thanks Jaime!