Kori and I met in Charlottesville in 2012 right after Mazen was born! Now she’s a fancy RD and all that jazz : ) Her post today is creative and inspiring! I once spent a few weeks in a hotel while we were in Montana for Great Harvest training, but Kori spent over a month in one while she took on her first job out of town. She did a great job balancing away-from-homemade meals and exploring the area. Hope she gives you some great ideas!
Hi, my name is Kori Higgins, and I am a Registered Dietitian in Knoxville, TN. I have been very fortunate thus far in my dietetic career, which only just begun in February when I passed the exam. For my first job out of the gates, I was offered a temporary position right away in none other than West Palm Beach, FL! A long-term care facility had been unable to secure a full-time RD since last fall, so they were filling the position on an interim basis. As soon as the deal was finalized, I began planning what all I needed to pack, which of course included food.
I realized that living in a hotel for the better part of a month was going to be a little tricky. However, with the right amount of planning ahead, I was sure I could both explore West Palm Beach through food as well as prepare several meals right in my hotel room. I knew in advance that I would have a small sink, mini refrigerator, and microwave, so I planned to take full advantage of these amenities.
I chose to send shelf-stable foods ahead of time, which worked perfectly as the box was waiting on me when I arrived at the hotel. The box included:
- two packages of Dr. Kracker flatbread seeded crackers
- organic unsweetened shredded coconut
- trail mix
- TJ’s cookie butter
- an assortment of tea
- crystallized ginger
- one container of Perez spinach quinoa
- tins of sardines
- Bob’s Red Mill 6-grain hot cereal
- unsweetened soy milk
- almond butter
On the first night I made a trip to the store and purchased fresh fruit, greens, baby carrots, Greek yogurt, tempeh, individually packaged guacamole, hummus, cheese sticks, whole-wheat pita, and peanut butter. Now I had all the makings of filling breakfasts, balanced lunches, and adequate snacks.
I still made it a point to fully enjoy myself, explore the area and find restaurants that were new to me. I had a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory, so I did dine there that first Monday. Eventually, I found an adorable historic neighborhood along Northwood Road full of quaint restaurants and shops including Relish: an incredible burger joint, Bistro Bistro: my now favorite French café, and The Garage VV: an eclectic and unbelievable restaurant with a variety of choices. I believe that living a healthy life means striking a balance. While I wanted to provide myself with food for the majority of the day, I also wanted to explore West Palm Beach through its food. We do not yet have a Whole Foods in Knoxville (we’re set to get one next year, though!), so when I found one not far from my hotel, I made it a point to visit the hot bar a few times and admittedly got hooked on their smoothies : )
Over the course of my stay, I made several trips to the store and was able to assemble delicious breakfasts, lunches, and several dinners.
- Oatmeal made by the hotel topped with pb, cinnamon, & banana + skim milk & Earl Grey tea
- Bob’s Red Mill 6-grain made with 1/2 banana, cinnamon, honey, & pb + 0% Greek yogurt with the other ½ banana, cinnamon, & honey
- ½ pumpernickel bagel made fresh at a café, with ab & fruit salad with 0% Greek yogurt & crystallized ginger
- Toast with pb, ab, cinnamon, banana, & unsweetened organic soymilk
- Umpqua Oats – a new product to me, which I really liked! I added shredded coconut & enjoyed an apple on the side
- LOVE Grown Foods peach almond oatmeal with added shredded coconut, banana, & skim milk
- Cinnamon-spiced 0% plain Greek yogurt with a banana, pb, & ½ morning glory muffin from Bistro Bistro
- Whole wheat pita, guacamole, cheese stick, baby carrots, organic tempeh, & a blood orange
- Leftovers from meals I enjoyed at several restaurants
- ‘Superfoods’ salad mix topped with carrots, salsa, organic tempeh, & ½ a muesli roll from Publix along with 1% cottage cheese, a plum, & crystallized ginger on the side
- ½ Whole Foods prosciutto & mozzarella sandwich with basil walnut pesto on wheat with their green smoothie: kale, spinach, apple, pineapple, & I added lemon
- The second ½ my Whole Foods sandwich with their piña colada smoothie: pineapple, mango, dates, coconut water, coconut milk, & almond milk
- Garden Lites broccoli soufflé topped with Greek yogurt, a salad topped with marinated olive, whole wheat pita, and a cheese stick
- Garden Lites zucchini soufflé topped with Greek yogurt along with a salad and whole wheat pita
- Baby spinach topped with Perez spinach quinoa and sustainably harvested wild sardines
- Simple salad of spinach, tomatoes, carrots with a ginger dressing & 2 flatbread crackers topped with green garbanzo bean cakes from WF
- “Hotel Nachos” – multigrain tortilla chips topped with tempeh, guacamole, salsa, & chia-hemp-flax mix served with a salad
Of course I definitely wanted to try the sweet side of West Palm Beach too.
- Macaroons imported from France
- Trés leches cake from Mojito
- Whole strawberries with whipped cream, honey, & chiffonade basil – I made this up while dining at The Cheesecake Factory by taking their dessert of just strawberries & adding the rest
- Key Lime “Shot” from WF
- Cookies & Cream mini cupcake from WF
- Lemon almond pastry from Bistro Bistro
- Devil’s Chocolate from Bistro Bistro
- Key Lime Pie with espresso
I believe this gave the best of both worlds, so to speak, in that I dined out and still was able to cook, which I greatly enjoy.
Aside from my food and meals, I also incorporated exercise by walking around the area of the hotel as well as all around downtown West Palm Beach, I walked along Palm Beach one afternoon, and I made use of the hotel’s exercise facility. I really love walking and in doing so, I was able to sightsee at the same time.
I was thankful for the experience but was really excited to get back home to my routine. I believe that my planning ahead and setting myself up with foods that I enjoy made the transition to working there much easier. It is amazing to think that my first job as a Registered Dietitian was in of all places a different state. I hope that my experience helps you to think of new ways to incorporate healthful eating into your travels, wherever they may take you!
Kori Higgins, MS, RD, LDN is a Consultant Registered Dietitian in the Knoxville area. She was fortunate to obtain this job directly after taking and passing her RD exam. She enjoys cooking, reading, going on long walks, being outside, spending time at her lake house, and being surrounded by her friends and family.