Let’s face it. You’re on the go, whether it’s school, work, gym time, errands, shopping, or just time to yourself. You are busy. I understand it is really hard to cook every meal you eat. It’s great to use fresh produce, whether from the garden, the farmer’s market, or the Whole Foods market near you. But do we really have the time? Or the energy some nights? (or even the money?) I’m a realist and I know it’s not always easy. But what we can do is make smarter choices!
Fast food your only option? Here are two places with healthy choices and options for when you are on the go and need to fuel!
The Skinny: The build-your-own style of Chipotle gives YOU complete control over your own meal.Chipotle boasts “Food with Integrity” using hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, locally sourced produce, and organics. Not easy having over 800+ restaurants across the nation. With options like brown rice, black beans, fajita veggies, and green tomatilla salsa, you can’t go wrong!
Favs: Burrito Bowls, which lets you skip the extra 290 calories (and 44g carbs) of the large tortilla. Add Fajita veggies for some extra flavor at only 20 calories, and the green tomatillo salsa adds some heat with only 15 calories! Ask them to add some Romaine lettuce on top too! It’ll fill you up at close to no calories!
Be Careful: Don’t get carried away. My eyes are often bigger than my own good. Cheese (100 cal, 8.5g fat) and Sour Cream (120 cal, 10.0g fat) are really tempting. A side of chips and Guacamole sound good? Well, there’s 570 cals from the Chips and 150 cals for the Guacamole. 720 calories!!! For a side!?! Better to get a side of fries from McD’s. Not to mention the 40.0 grams of fat. Ugh. That’s a meal in itself.
Nutrition facts attained from the Chipotle website at: http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/menu/nutritional_information/nutritional_information.aspx
Second: Panda Express
The Skinny: Another buffet-style restaurant with lots of smart meal decisions, if you choose wisely. It is easy to get caried away here as well. But if you go in with knowledge and a plan, you’ll be fine! Sodium is definately a concern with any chinese food. There are smart choices that include super-nutricious broccoli and string beans. I only wish my fortune cookie told me that they would offer brown rice soon. Let’s hope.
Favs: White rice (380 cals) as the side. Did you know you can go 1/2 white rice and 1/2 Mixed veggies? This cuts the carbs and calories down a lot and adds nutricious vegetables! If you are in the mood for chicken, Broccoli chicken (180 cal, 9g fat) or Mushroom chicken (180 cal, 10g fat) are good choices. My favorite is the String Bean Chicken (160 cal, 6g fat) that is made with chicken breast. Broccoli Beef (150 cal, 6g fat) is another great dish to get flavor and nutrients. Need some spice? The Kung Pao Shrimp (230 cal, 14g fat) is a good choice to get that kick!
Be Careful: They will usually first ask you if you want Fried Rice (530 cal, 16g fat) or Chow Mein (490 cal, 22g fat), but remember the white rice option!! I know Orange Chicken is a favorite to many, but it’s not a great choice at 400 cals and 20g of fat per serving. Mandarin Chicken may look like simple grilled chicken, but its not! With a whoping 310 cals and 16g fat, it is not what it seems to be. Beijing Beef is a monster at 660 cals and 41g of fat.
Nutrition facts attained from Panda Express website: http://www.pandaexpress.com/files/Nutrition.pdf
So, when find yourself needing a pit stop for a meal, don’t be afraid to stop into a restaurant with choices! It’s all about the options and the choices YOU make! But don’t fall into the pitfalls of what seem like good choices. The restaurant will have a nutritional guide with all their food. take the time to grab one and look it over. The extra minute may save you an hour on the treadmill!
Good eating guys and gals!!