The Slender Vacation: Preparation

Before we get into today’s post, take a second and help fund my blogging habit by repinning this recipe!

Preparation tips for staying slender while on vacation! | The Slender Student I mentioned in July Things  that I spent the last week in Lake Tahoe with the fam. While most people think of vacations as prime time to abandon their diets, I took a different approach. Between happy hours, goodbye dinners, and late nights on West Sixth Street, it’s been pretty difficult for me to keep it slender this summer in Austin. So instead of throwing caution and calories to the wind, I decided to challenge myself to keep it as healthy as possible during my trip, staying as close to the Tone It Up plan as possible.

If you follow any fitness or health accounts on Instagram, then the saying “fail to prep, prep to fail” has either become part of your life’s mantra or incredibly trite. Regardless of its overuse, the adage is true. For me, prepping for this trip meant throwing together meals and snacks for travel days, and packing some things to have around the house for the week.

Travel day started early, so I made sure to have breakfast ready to go. The night before my trip, I went ahead and cooked up a Perfect Fit Pancake and made it into a protein pancake PB&J sandwich (recipe to follow). I wrapped it in foil, refrigerated it, and put it in my carry on tote so I could eat it once we got to the terminal. A Health Warrior chia seed bar and Luna protein bar went in there as well since I knew we wouldn’t be eating lunch until after our flight (around 3 pm my time).

To cover me for the rest of the trip, I packed security-friendly items, knowing I’d be able to buy fresh produce at the grocery once we settled into Tahoe– more on that later this week. For breakfast, I knew I’d be able to rely on more protein pancakes, so I scooped 10 individual servings of vanilla whey protein powder into snack size Ziploc baggies. No brainer. I also grabbed some other snack items– Oatmega bars, Luna bars, Health Warrior chia seed bars, PB2, and 100 calorie packs of cocoa roast almonds. The less portion control work left to do on my trip, the better. These were the perfect snacks to throw in my bag if we were going to be out all day at the beach, on a boat, or just walking around the city.

Last but not least, I made sure my colossal Camelbak water bottle was in tow. What’s worse than dehydration? Paying $4 for a teeny water bottle at some tourist attraction.

Preparation tips for staying slender while on vacation! | The Slender Student

What are your slender trip tricks? Or are you more of the calories-don’t-count-on-vacation type?

Protein Pancake PB&J Sandwich-- the perfect healthy and portable breakfast! | The Slender Student Protein Pancake PB&J
Servings: 1 | Calories per serving: 196
Fat: 2.4 g (Sat Fat: 0.6 g) | Carbohydrate: 24.4 g | Fiber: 3.7 g| Protein: 21.3 g

1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
2 T liquid egg whites
1/2 small banana, mashed
2 T PB2 prepared with 1 T water
3 small strawberries, sliced
2 T frozen blueberries, thawed and mashed
PAM Original nonstick spray

1. Combine the vanilla whey, egg whites, and mashed banana in a small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
2. In a large skillet coated with PAM over medium-low heat, split the batter to form two pancakes
3. Cook the pancakes for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown
4. Remove the pancakes from the heat and allow to cool before spreading with PB2, the mashed blueberries, and a layer of sliced strawberries

Pack A Snack

Airport snack ideas for slender travels! | The Slender Student

How many times have you started a trip with every intention to “be good,” only to be sidelined by the unhealthy airport selection that leaves you spiraling into a vacation of cheat meals and despair? Hopefully I’m not alone on this one, otherwise I’ve over shared to the max.

Per usual, all it takes is a little planning on your part to start your travels off on the right foot. The following snacks are all airplane safe and ideal for traveling because they can be stashed in a Ziploc bag in your carry on. Depending on how long you’ll be airborne, you might want to pair a few of these together for a more complete, low calorie, high protein meal.

Low calorie, filling snacks perfect for bringing on a flight! | The Slender Student

  • 15 almonds (105 calories, 4 g protein)
  • 1/2 C shelled edamame (100 calories, 8 g protein)
  • Babybel Light (50 calories, 6 g protein)
  • 1 oz turkey jerky (100 calories, 19 g protein)
  • Health Warrior chia seed bars (100 calories, 3 g protein)
  • Pop Secret 100 Calorie Pop (100 calories, 3 g protein)
  • 1 hardboiled egg (80 calories, 6 g protein)
  • Horizon Organic string cheese (80 calories, 8 g protein)
  • dark chocolate energy bites (55 calories, 3 g protein)
  • cinnamon raisin protein bread (70 calories, 5 g protein)
  • brainola (155 calories, 3 g protein)
  • sweet and savory muffins (125 calories, 4 g protein; 100 calories, 9 g protein)

In the event that you can’t throw any of these together, check out airport convenience stores for my go-to snacks– Greek yogurt, high protein/low sugar/low calorie snack bars, raw nuts, turkey sandwiches (no mayo, plz), etc. What are your must munch travel snacks? Leave a comment!

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Slender Students Abroad

The Slender Student guide to eating, drinking, and working out while studying abroad!

So, you’re going abroad next semester. You’re expecting fun friends, a different culture, easy classes, and maybe a romance with a Spanish man.

What you might not be expecting?

The abroad aftermath– pounds gained and self esteem shot. If you’ve been with The Slender Student from the get, then you already know that the blog was born out of my desire to help people avoid the nasty (I mean that multi-definitionally) situation I found myself (and my bod) in after a semester in Barcelona. Since it’s about that time, I thought I should send my internationally-inclined readers down memory lane with my abroad advice series that covers my tips for eating, working out, and drinking far from home. Disfrutad.

Eating advice for students studying abroad | The Slender Student Fitness advice for students studying abroad | The Slender Student Drinking advice for students studying abroad | The Slender Student

I’d love to hear more tips from other past study abroaders!

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Studying abroad is all about meeting new people, traveling, finding your independence, experiencing new cultures, and drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. Sure, I could come on here and preach about the evils of alcohol and its surplus of calories, but let’s be realistic. Drinking is fun and a lot of what you’ll do abroad is going to revolve around it. Whether it’s wine tasting, watching a “football” game at a bar, or RaGiNg at the club, you’re likely to have an adult beverage (or more, if you’re really serious about this studying abroad thing) in hand. So, if you’re going to drink, which you are, do it right.

Different types of liquor (vodka, tequila, whiskey, rum, etc.) of the same proof have the same amount of calories. The kicker when it comes to  mixed drinks, then, is the mixer. Mixed drinks with regular soda and juices can have well over 120 calories per 5 oz. drink. Now, multiply that by how many mixed drinks you have in a night, and bury your head in shame. If you have to have a soft drink as your mixer, go for the diet version to save calories. Yeah, sodas aren’t good for you, but neither is staying up until 5 a.m. pounding vodka crans. Why pick your poison when you can have them all? Other good mixer choices are club soda and diet tonic water. Did you know regular tonic has 50 calories per 5 oz? I didn’t. And the teacher becomes the student, huzzah! Avoid all liqueurs, which have about 100 calories per ounce. Don’t forget, you can always opt to go on the rocks with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Only go this route if you can take a sip without making that hideous face. Yeah, that one…

If you’re going abroad, you’re probably a pretty sophisticated person. This means you’ll be drinking a lot of wine, because that’s what sophisticated people do. When drinking wine, first ensure that there’s a camera around to capture your moment(s) of cultural grandeur, and then, make choices that won’t obliterate your slenderhood. Most wines (and champagne/cava) have about 20 calories per ounce, or 100 calories per 5-oz glass. Sherry, that sickly sweet dessert wine, has 32 calories per ounce. It also rots your teeth upon contact, so you should probably just avoid it. Depending on the recipe, sangria can consist of wine with juice, ginger ale, sugar, liqueurs, and other ingredients that can add tons of calories to your glass. Since you probably won’t know what exactly is in your sangria, don’t go crazy with the stuff. If you have to have it, have a glass and then move on to wine or, of course, water. But where’s the fun in that?

A general rule of thumb for choosing a beer is the lighter the color, the fewer the calories. Remember, fewer calories also means less alcohol. Alcohol is a nutrient in that it provides calories (7 per gram, to be exact), but not much else. Your goals for your night out (casual sipping versus getting shmammered) will determine the beer you choose. If you don’t care about getting drunk but want a beer, go for what has the least calories– Bud Select 55, Beck’s Premier Light, MGD 64, Amstel Light,  Heineken Light, and others. If you’re trying to get drunk, look for what has the lowest calorie to alcohol ratio, Natty Ice, Michelob Ultra, Miller Lite, Keystone Ice (it all makes sense now…), Corona Light, and others. Use the link above to check out what you have available to you.

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I’m pretty sure I’ve made this clear, but who doesn’t love a little bit of self-deprecation? I got fat abroad. If you’re a reader of this blog, I don’t want you to get fat abroad. It doesn’t look good for me, and it really won’t look good for you. Use these tips (and my exercise advice) to stop the cycle before it starts, or at least do some damage control on the pounds you’ve already accumulated while galavanting about the big world.

1. Plan ahead as much as possible. I often found myself reaching the point of starvation before I’d finally sit down to a meal either at home in Barcelona or while traveling. This inevitably led to me eating way, way more than I should have. If you’re in your hometown, avoid this by keeping a healthy, filling snack on you at all times. A single serving bag of nuts or a fiber bar is an easy way to go. If you’re traveling, take charge of part of your trip by planning the restaurants. That way, you’re sure not to be the leech of the group and you’ll be making moves toward slenderhood!

2. Eat at home whenever you can. When you make your own food, you have control of the stuff you put in it. And if you’re the smart and slender girl/boy that I know you are, you’ll put good stuff in your food. Just one tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories and I promise you, Chef Jacques is not using that weapon of mass destruction with very much discretion. He doesn’t care about your waistline. But, if you do, you’ll eat at home.

So I probably wouldn’t have covered my own salad with fries…

3. The breadbasket is your enemy. The average dinner roll has upwards of 150 calories. Grab a couple of these dipped in a few spoonfuls of olive oil, and you’ve already eaten a meal’s worth of calories. If you’re a bread lover, go ahead and eat a piece, but just have one. Don’t eat the stuff mindlessly. If you don’t need it or appreciate it, don’t even bother getting the basket. Ask the waiter not to bring it out. If you’re in Europe, you’ll save yourself a couple pounds and a couple Euros by forgoing el pan.

4. Eat tapas style. Tapas are small plates that are shared with the entire table. Sharing your food is a great way to try everything without stuffing yourself in the process. Order the tapas in phases so you’ll be forced to eat more slowly. You’ll be shocked by how little food you need volume-wise to feel satisfied.

Una pequeña ensalada con un montadito

5. Make your meals coordinate. Many people complain that everything in Europe is full of carbs, but I think it’s that what we’re drawn to choose is full of carbs. What I mean by making your meals coordinate is that you should alternate what makes up the bulk of your meals. If you have cereal or toast for breakfast, have a salad with a protein for lunch, and a protein with a starchy side (corn, potatoes) for dinner. If you have eggs for breakfast, go ahead and have that sandwich for lunch. This way of thinking doesn’t take much effort but can completely change the way you eat. And the way you bash on the delicious food available to you.

If you still feel like you’re failing miserably and packing on the pounds, don’t let it get you down. When, at the tail end of my trip, I’d finally come to terms with how much weight I had gained, I couldn’t get it out of my head. My self confidence plummeted, I wasn’t as outgoing and I wasn’t having as much fun. I’ve been home for a little over a month now and, after working really hard, I’m back to my normal weight. I think if I’d known how quickly I’d get back to normal, I would’ve been able to focus on the experience instead of my muffin top. So, above all else, enjoy yourself. But, hey, if my tips save you some grief and a couple pounds, why not?

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