Ever find that you’re on the go, and haven’t planned your eating well? So you decide to eat out. If you’re trying to maintain your body composition or lose fat, eating out can absolutely destroy your results if you decide to go on the “see-food-eat diet.”
There’s always a loophole though. There are ways to still eat healthy while eating out at “unhealthy” restaurants. Just to make sure my readers understand, I do not suggest eating out should be a regular occurrence. This is just some information you can use when you find yourself in a bind. I will go over a few adjustments you can make to your food choices. I will also go over some specific items that you can select when you find yourself in a fast food restaurant.
When eating in fast food restaurants, you will want to try and avoid eating sugar at all costs. If you are trying to reduce body fat, keeping out the sugar and the starchy carbs would be your best bet.
Here is a list of fast foods, drinks and condiments which contain sugar and starch:
• Soft Drinks – Iced Tea is included! Just because it says tea on it doesn’t mean it’s not full of sugar… It has slightly less sugar in it than any other pop that they serve.
• Buns – they’re usually made with white bread.
• If your burger, sandwich or salad is sweet, it’s because it has some sugar- based sauce on it. If you absolutely have to use sauce, try and keep it to a minimum. You can also ask for the salad dressing on the side, so you can control how much you consume.
• Breaded chicken. Yes, chicken is a great source of protein. When they’re breaded and deep fried, the garbage content goes up and defeats the whole purpose of eating chicken… Which is that it’s a great lean source of protein, it has little to no fat, and 0 grams of carbs. Chicken McNuggets have more carbs and fat per serving than protein. Ew.
• Fries and condiments • pretty self-explanatory here. Breaded carbs deep fried in fat, is incredibly tasty. Your heart and blood vessels will thank you for staying away from fries in the long run. Go easy on the ketchup, mayo and other sweet sauces too.
So what does this leave us to eat? Mainly meat. I suggest eating as much meat as possible when you go to these types of restaurants. Carb sources should be kept to a minimum, seeing as most of the carbs you can get at fast food restaurants are all part of the list above. As for beverages, water is always a good choice, har-har. Artificially sweetened drink(s) are also acceptable. I’m not a huge fan of milk, but you can usually get milk from these types of places too.
I’d like to briefly go over artificially sweeteners. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there. Personally, I don’t drink diet pop. My whey protein is favoured with artificial sweeteners though, so I do have it on a regular basis. Here are two studies, that have completely opposite results, this study says that artificial sweeteners won’t make a difference on daily calorie intake. The subjects drinking an artificially sweetened beverage would still ingest the same amount of calories in an entire day that would ingest if they drank a regular sucrose containing drink. This study concluded that participants in the study would not compensate by eating more after consuming artificially sweetened beverages.
In my opinion, if you are drinking artificially sweetened drinks, yet getting the compensated calories from healthy foods, I don’t see a problem. I would rather you get calories from actual food and not high-fructose corn syrup. I would like to again reiterate that drinking water or green tea would be a much better choice, but I know a lot of people won’t listen to that advice.
If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol issues, you may want to avoid the beef patties. They usually pack a fair amount of sodium and tend to have an equal amount of saturated fat to protein content! For a normal person, this isn’t much of an issue. Just know that the patties will usually have ~ 25 grams of protein and ~25 grams of fat per patty. This amounts to 325 calories per patty. A grilled chicken breast will have somewhere around 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat and 0 carbs. This comes out to 127 calories.
Salads are another great option. However, try to stay away from the salad that include) breaded chicken. If it says “ crunchy” or “crispy”, this means it’s breaded and deep-fried. Go for “grilled or “steamed.” Try and choose a salad where the salad dressing isn’t full of sugar too. Also be weary of creamy dressings, they tend to be pretty high in fat. Vinaigrettes would be the best option here. Pretty much any salad is going to better than a burger, fries and pop. So don’t feel too bad if you choose the sweetest one. You can get away with it if you have good insulin sensitivity.
Tim Horton’s has some pretty decent sandwiches on its menu. Their sandwiches all have a low amount of sugar and reasonably low amounts of fat. Their bread is quite dense though; you could always eat the sandwich open faced to lower carb and calorie content. Their soups are decent. Most of them are far too chintzy on the meat. The exception is the chili, which has a pretty good nutritional profile: it backs a good amount of protein and carbs. It’s also packed with sodium too, so if you have high blood pressure you may want to rethink your options.
So take this information and see if you can apply it to your day-to-day living. It will make you healthier and leaner. Isn’t that the goal for most of us?