1. Scrambled, poached, sunnyside, or overeasy? I feel like this goes without saying, but I know this point had to be made. Baked potatoes with the skin aren’t a bad choice for a fast food joint. French fries? Not a healthy choice! Corn tortilla, not a bad choice, deep fried corn tortilla chips or hard shell taco: not a healthy choice! Poached egg vs. fried egg? The fried egg may not be deep fried and not a terrible choice at home every once in a while when you make it with a healthy fat, but you know they’re not using grass fed butter or virgin coconut oil. While the poached egg is boiled in water and is fairly the same no matter where you go, so poached egg is the easy answer here. I could go on and on with particular comparisons. Here’s what to know, look for, and ask about (because sometimes you can turn a fried option into a steamed option just by asking): steamed, poached, grilled, and raw/uncooked are usually the best preparation options. Deep-fried, and fried are the poorest options. Baked, broiled, roasted and braised are often good, but ask if there’s uncertainty about the amount of fats being used in the process, we don’t want you to be afraid of fat, but restaurants aren’t using healthy fats unless they’re advertising their use of healthy fats; if they are they want you to know and it will be stated clearly in the menu.
2. I’ll be eating for one. Take the time to know how much you should be eating. Good general guidelines are 1 (ladies)-2 (men) palm sized portions of protein per meal (your palm, not Michael Jordan’s!), at least 1-2, again ladies and men respectively, fist-sized portions of veggies per meal. 1-2 (you’ve caught on to the lady man thing by now) cupped handfuls of (whole) grains, starchy veggies (potatoes, yam, squash), sweet fruits (cucumbers and tomatoes can count as veg), 1-2 thumb-sized portions of healthy fats (organic/grass-fed butter, avocado, nuts, seeds, virgin olive and coconut oils). How does that compare to this one meal you’re ordering? If it seems out of whack compared to how your meal is served adjust and doggy bag accordingly. Please note: these are not hard and fast portion rules, while they work well for most people certain body types function better with more fats and less carb, more carbs and less fat, or more protein, BUT this should still serve you better than just eating whatever’s laid before you!
3. White, whole wheat, or rye? You may have noted the (whole) grains bit above. Sometimes it’s not possible to get a whole grain option and if you omit the grain option completely you end up without enough food. Often times it is an option these days though, so choose the whole wheat, or brown rice or the fun and funky grain you’ve never heard of before, like the teff injera at an Ethiopian restaurant. Or the quinoa, you’ve probably heard about, but may not have tried!
4. Do you get enough protein?! As someone who eats a predominantly vegetarian diet I never stop hearing this, and I always want to respond do you get enough vegetables? But seriously, many of us eat so many (refined) starchy carbohydrates, that malnutrition due to a insufficient protein, and lack of essential vitamins (which are obtained from vegetables) are sometimes a problem in people who are obese! Many of us are getting enough protein but from bacon and sausages which aren’t working out so well in the blood lipid counts, and often we aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals contained in vegetables. I know that fast food veggies are often “fresh” out of a bag and must have preservatives I don’t want to think about, so try and choose smaller fast food establishments where you know they shredded their own lettuce this morning (or even last night). No matter what you choose, make sure your meals contain lean protein and vegetables as your number one factor for menu item choice. Almost everything will come with a starchy carb, most of time it’s a refined one, so if you have a choice between a wrap, a deep fried shell, or double decker floofy buns, choose the one that might fit in a cupped handful (Hint! Hint!). And just eat your flipping vegetables!!!
5. The cherry on top… or the dressings, sauces, crèmes, spreads, dips, and gravies. Try to avoid the ones based in cream, butter, animal fats, and cheese… and just how much cheese is going on top of that dish a “sprinkle” or a “bubbling layer”? My point is no one expects you to eat the salad without the dressing, but keep in mind that rule of thumb-sized fats... and is there also bacon, cheese and tortilla crunchies on top of this salad? This is one reason that salad isn’t always the best choice. Or if your baked potato is served with a creamy cheese sauce, sour cream, and bacon bits, or If your poached egg is “smothered in a rich hollandaise” on top of a thick slice of pea meal bacon, and a buttery homemade biscuit it should probably be your birthday brunch and not just any random Thursday morning. And the biggest lie the industry has sold is is low fat and no fat, which is code for we doubled the sugar content and added a bunch of questionable ingredients that aren’t real food, so just don’t even!
Those things above are delicious and I’m not saying you should never eat them, but our societal norms don’t include eating a whole lot of food we’ve prepared ourselves, and that makes making healthier choices harder due to availability and temptation—you would not make most of these items at home for a single meal, never mind three of these types of elaborate meals in a day! Save the elaborate delicious meals for special occasions and make as much food as you can at home; even if you have to cook in bulk and bing it with you. You’ll begin to feel better, be healthier, lose unwanted pounds, and, perhaps the best part is when you do treat yourself the the unhealthy high fat elaborate “stuff” you actually really take the time to savour and enjoy it. It becomes special again, worth every calorie and blood lipid point!
If you’ve tried all the diets, bought all the gadgets, read books and ordered set after set of 90-day DVD Bootcamp Series', and are still struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle, are sick, tired, overweight, or at your wits end, and want a longterm sustainable solution, we offer a complimentary consultation: please call 416-994-6267 or book online. The struggle is real, but there are simple solutions. Call now to see how CREATE can help you Be healthy. Look fantastic. Feel Awesome! ...Want to get to know CREATE better? Sign up for our Newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.