Packed Suitcase | How to Eat like a Travel Writer… and Stay (Relatively) Slim
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How to Eat like a Travel Writer… and Stay (Relatively) Slim

How to Eat like a Travel Writer… and Stay (Relatively) Slim

Last weekend, my Godmother asked me a question. She said, “I see all of those photos you post on Instagram of fabulous food you eat on your travels. You just take a bite or two and then stop… right?”


Noshing on Poutine in for my “2 Days in Montreal” post

I looked at her sheepishly. “No. I eat the whole thing…”

After seeing her shocked face, I felt the need to qualify. “I mean, it’s all so good. It would be a pity to waste it… right?”

She just shook her head and replied, “How on Earth do you eat all that and stay so… slim?”

I’ve never really thought of it that way. Like everyone, I feel like I have a constant struggle to stay thin, and it’s even more difficult than it used to be since 1.) I’m over 30, and 2.) I’m traveling –and eating– so often.

To be completely honest, I’d love to lose 10 pounds, but food is an essential part of the way I learn about what makes a place tick. Food –everything from the produce that’s grown and sold in the local farmer’s market to burgers the greasy spoon diner down the street– can help reveal a local culture and pride. How can I possibly provide my readers with an authentic view on a destination I’m covering if I don’t enjoy the best, iconic food that each destination has to offer?

So, I just want to make it known that when I travel… I eat. My saving grace is that I’m primarily a weekend traveler, which means I mainly splurge just 2 days out of the week.

Now, to answer my Godmother’s question… here’s what I do to eat like a travel writer, and stay (relatively) slim:


Mouth full of Daily Dozen doughnuts in Seattle’s Pike Place Market

I walk… a lot.

When I do my weekend travels, I am busy. I always have a ton to do in very little time, so I’m up and out the door like it was a normal work day and I keep going until long after the sun has set and it’s time to sleep.

As I run from place to place, I sometimes eat not-so-good-for-me food, but then I’m moving to the next place on the itinerary. Just the simple act of exploring counterbalances the extra calories and mitigates the impact… at least a little bit! And, to that point…


I measure each step.

I have a Fitbit pedometer that always keeps score, and I typically clock 7-10 miles a day on my various #TravelLocal adventures.

During the week, I maintain the walking routine, aiming for at least 5 miles a day. Working in downtown DC, I can easily reach 2.5 miles a day through the normal commuting process and by walking around during work. I add the extra 2.5 miles by taking the longer route to the office, walking to a farther away Metro stop after work, or going for a walk during lunch (if I have the time). 5 miles a day is pretty easily attainable for me if I’m aware of it, which I am thanks to the Fitbit! (Seriously, I’ll do anything to keep that little guy from taunting me with his “get off your butt and move!” face.)


My Fitbit’s grumpy face means I have to get moving


I try to eat really healthy during the week.

If I continued my “eat everything” approach during the week, I’d be in a bit of trouble. Luckily, after a weekend of splurging I’m usually in the mood for some healthier eating. I try to stick with salad’s or lean proteins for lunch, snack on fruits and nuts and then cook a lighter dinner. Does it always work out? No. But, I try my best!

green grocer

I’ve recently started using DC’s Green Grocer delivery service, which gives me ample produce to inspire me to eat healthy during the week


I do one big diet a year.  (This will probably be the most polarizing tip on this list, but I’m not holding anything back! )

I’ve gone to Cancun every Thanksgiving since I was 15 years old. But nothing makes me feel the pressure to stay thin more than this trip or the endless number of photo taken on the beach. Ugh! While I put this pressure on myself, I’ve learned that, for me, the best way to feel confident is to really dedicate myself to leaning up the month of November.

What works best for me is the South Beach diet: basically lots of lean proteins, vegetables and exercise while avoiding all sugar, alcohol or carbs. I lose weight and feel great stepping onto the beach, and the healthy-eating and exercise habits continue throughout the December holiday season and the new year. For me, it’s a win-win.


Wide shots help…!


When all else fails… I wear flowy clothes.

No matter what I do, there will always be those days where I just don’t feel 100% happy with the way I look. I think that’s just part of being human. So, for those days, I never feel shame in wearing a loose-fitting top or –even better– a cute dress that hides the trouble spots. Tomorrow’s a new day… hopefully tomorrow my skinny jeans won’t feel quite so tight.

me and lots of food

The final course of a delicious meal in a Patagonian yurt camp


So, that’s what I do… what are your tips to stay thin during and after your travels? 


  • Melissa
    Posted at 11:48h, 21 August

    What’s 10 pounds when weighed (no pun intended) against having great food on your travels? You’re so right about food being a huge part of the cultural experience. Personally, I eat whatever I’d like to on trips and, as you said, try to be healthier at home. I also find that all the walking tends to make up for some of the eating while away. So long as I’m at a healthy weight for my height, bring on the wine and chocolate.

    • Christina Ricchiuti
      Posted at 16:10h, 21 August

      Hi Melissa- all good points! I’m glad I’ve got some support for my “Eat now, diet later” approach. 🙂

  • Melissa
    Posted at 10:56h, 22 August

    Eat now, diet later. It’s like putting your diet on a credit card. I like it. 🙂

  • Agness
    Posted at 03:46h, 14 September

    Hi Chris, I am so happy I stumbled upon this post because you are so much like me. I went to Holland last month and I also visited my home country which is Poland and I was having a looooot of food. Everyone was like “How do you stay so slim eating so much food???” I actually do the same tricks – walk a lot, try to stick to healthy diet during the day (a lot of fruits and veggies) and I don’t eat meat. Work out also helps from time to time :):) Greetings from China (I am indulging into a massive plate of Chinese dumplings hahaha) 😀

  • Sandy Allen
    Posted at 12:40h, 23 October

    Great tips. I like the idea of the flowy clothes. 🙂 South Beach is probably the only diet that has ever worked for me. I need to get myself one of the those cute little FitBits, if only to see the cute grumpy face.

    • Christina Ricchiuti
      Posted at 20:38h, 19 November

      Ha! Yes, the FitBit’s grumpy face is a nice motivator. 🙂

      I’m on my annual South Beach Diet and it’s done the trick once again. Just what I need to get back on track right before the holidays.