By: Zach Columbia
Hey you. Yes, I am talking to you. When was the last time you ate out? Was it last night, or last week? If it is way to easy for you to remember the last time you ate out or the times you ate out in the last week, this could be a red flag (wake-up call if you will) to you. Now don’t get me wrong, we all eat out, even your trainers do. But, one of the biggest points we need to address here is HOW OFTEN and WHAT you are eating when you go out, and how you can make smarter choices.
Let’ s start with “how often?”.
Everyone is going to have a different answer for this, but you know how often you are eating out on average. For some of you this “habit” (because that’s what it becomes when you do it enough) occurs almost daily. THAT is dangerous and 100% hindering your results no matter how “healthy” you think you are being with the choices you are making when you do eat out. Eating out should be saved for special occasions, and those emergency situations. We have to be honest about what an “emergency situation” would look like. In my mind, this is when you haven’t eaten for hours, and won’t be home for hours.
So, let’s put yourself in the emergency situation or special occasion moment.
If you are stopping at a drive thru (please don’t but if you absolutely have to) look up the menu ahead of time and find the healthiest option you can that is as balanced as possible (protein, carbs, and you already know there is already added fat so you don’t need to make sure the meal HAS that, trust me it already does). I mean think about it. Why does Chick-Fil-A’s grilled chicken taste so much better than yours at home? IS THAT NOT YOUR SIGN?! Sorry guys I am just passionate about this topic. Even a restaurant’s grilled chicken is going to have added butters, fats, or whatever else nonsense fattening additive to make it taste good and ensure you come back. Now, with that being said, the grilled options on the menu at any restaurant are always going to be healthier than other options. So yes, you are making a smarter choice, but it is still not ideal.
Whether you are going to a restaurant or a drive thru, there are healthier options.
Like I mentioned earlier, look for the food on the menu that says “grilled” or look for the area that says “leaner options” or something along those lines. Most menus have a “lighter” entrée selection to choose from. Usually, these options have less added butter, smaller portions, or just the ingredients and combinations of ingredients are lower calorie in general.
One of the best tips I can offer you is that if you have time to go through a drive thru and wait in line, then you probably have time to stop at the grocery store instead and run inside to their deli department and grab a pre-packed meal, or a couple snacks, a protein shake and a bar of some sort, and/or deli meat/rotisserie chicken rather than going through the drive thru.
Everything in life is a choice.
If you choose to eat out and eat the unhealthy option, just know what kind of results that is going to yield for you. I will be honest, I eat out maybe one or two times a month, so I might eat something I want rather than the healthier options, but that’s because it is such a rare occurrence for me, and even then, most times I will choose the healthier option because that is what makes me feel good all around.
The take home message here is do a little check on yourself and be honest with yourself about how often you are eating out, what you are eating when you go out, and how that is affecting your goals and your health. Food choices will make or break your progress, we know this, so it is time to ask ourselves the hard questions and make the changes necessary to move forward.