Disclaimer: I am in no way encouraging fast food (if you can call it that) consumption or take out, BUT I realise that circumstances don't always allow us to make our own meals and sit down to family dinners. So, as long as we all understand that buying, prepping and cooking your own food is the healthiest option hands down, seeing as you are completely in control of your ingredients, I will proceed to list a few healthIER options for when you are "on the go".
- Best Coffee Shop Breakfast: Starbucks Oatmeal with Nut Medley + Grande Americano (no sugar). only 255 calories and a great dose of fiber! A much better option than noshing on a pastry or skipping breakfast altogether.
- Best Fast Food Breakfast: McDonalds Egg McMuffin. At 300 calories, 18 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat, it's your healthiest option when you're on the road.
- Best Salad: Chipotle's Grilled Steak Salad (black beans, guacamole and green salsa). At Chipotle the meat is hormone free and everything is made fresh. With 41grams of protein this is one of the best bargains you'll get in a pinch. BUT, you must remember to substitute the house vinaigrette for salsa.
- Best Drive-Thru Mexican: Taco Bells Grilled Steak Soft Tacos, Fresco Style. Two tacos for 300 calories, 8 grams of fat and 18 grams of protein.
- Best Drive-Thru Combo Meal: Chick-fil-a Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich with Fruit Cup (medium) and Unsweetened Tea. 360 calories. 27 grams of protein and only 4 grams of fat. According to Eat This, Not That, if you choose this combo meal over a BigMac with medium fries 2x a week you'll save 17 pounds of fat a year. Gross!
- Best Tacos: Baja Fresh Grilled Mahi-Mahi Fish Tacos. 2 tacos get you 460 calories, 24 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat. With ingredients like fresh mahi-mahi and avocado, these tacos are packed with protein and monounsaturated fats (the good kind).
- Best Drive-Thru Kids Meal: McDonald's 4 pc Chicken Nuggets with Apple Dippers and 1% Milk. You are no less of a parent if you swing through the golden arches once in a blue moon. But make sure you're feeding those young minds the best fuel possible, even on your way from soccer practice to piano lessons. With 17 grams of protein and 330 calories, it's not the best, but hey! it's fast food. What did you expect?
- Best Pizza: Dominos Thin Crust Ham and Pineapple Pizza. 2 slices for 310 calories. Ordering thin crust will save you over 100 calories per slice!
- Best Drive-Thru Burger: Wendy's Double Stack. 400 calories, 27 grams of protein and 21 grams of fat. It's certainly not the lowest calorie burger on the market, but bite-for-bite when eaten as a meal, it's the best option out there.
- Best Fish Option: Red Lobster Seafood-Stuffed Flounder. 320 calories. 43 grams of protein and 11 grams of fat. Helpful hints: avoid creamy sauces, butter and breading. Ask for double veggies.
- Best Pasta Dish: Olive Garden's Linguini alla Marinarra. 430 calories and 6 grams of fat. Little to no protein, but, it's a bowl of carbs, you can't have it all. When it comes to Italian dining, the simpler the better (at least when in reference to your waist line). Skip all the add ons and the breadsticks.
- Best Side Dish: Wendy's Chilli. A small is only 210 calories with 17 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of fat. A filling, affordable and fast option. Probably one of the best you'll find!
In an ideal world, we would all have time to prepare every meal in our own kitchens with fresh produce and lean meats every day. We would also never have to do the dishes or skip dessert, buuuuut that's not gonna happen. So, for those tight times when there really is just no other option, remember that you can still make the healthy choice. I get it, you are all busy, important people, but there is no way you are too busy to choose chilli over french fries or oatmeal over a doughnut. That, my friends, is called weak willpower…a completely different issue, unrelated to time management or lack thereof.
Let me put it to you this way - you have the option to make the healthy choice regardless of where you are or how much time you have to get from point A to point B. If you can't spare the time to make the better choice now, you better save up a lot of time later for your frequent sick days and doctor visits. Life is hard.
Eat well. Live well. Be well.