Back in January when I started, I was having almost all of my meals at home, prepared in my own kitchen will the ingredients that I purchased. I had complete control over everything I was putting into my body; I avoided fast food and restaurants altogether, gave up 'diet' drinks and started drinking water, cut the processed items out of my diet, and amped up my fresh fruit and vegetable intake. I owe this in part to my current job working for a fine dining restaurant in a resort; January-March are our slow months, and I rarely worked other than the weekends.
Obviously, I was on a pretty limited budget with my income being cut drastically during these months, so the choice to eat at home was both financially and nutritionally motivated. As I kept going, I started having to do a lot more planning, because I was spending more and more time at work and had to be able to figure out what I was going to eat for my meals and snacks and how to stick to my nutritional needs and calorie range. Unfortunately, being busier I find myself cooking a lot less (but still have plenty of reserves in the freezer - I was planning that this would eventually happen), but I'm becoming more and more resourceful as to how I eat and get my nutritional needs met.
For the last week, I've found myself 'on the go' and eating away from home fairly often. When I go to work, even if I don't bring food along I'm lucky to have a decent selection of food to choose from in our cafeteria : There is always a salad bar with plenty of fresh options, cottage cheese, and sometimes fresh fruit. However, when I'm out shopping, at a friend's house, visiting family (Easter!) etc. and in need of food - I'm presented with a challenge; How do I make the right choices?
Here are a few of my recent 'on the go' food adventures - with my good (and not so good) choices
Tuesday 4/3 - Lunch at Subway
-My husband and I were out running errands, and while he decided to eat at the pizza shop at the mall, I decided to wait (still full from my yummy oatmeal breakfast). We were out for a few more hours and I was starting to get hungry. Knowing we'd be out doing things for a while yet, I stopped at a nearby Subway for a bite to eat.
I chose a 6" Black Forest Ham Sub on Wheat with mozzarella cheese (shredded), spinach, tomato, onions, pickles, olives, banana peppers and red wine vinaigrette. I decided to do a combo meal and picked fresh apple slices as my side. I was going to drink iced tea, but they only had sweetened varieties, so I stuck with water.
Nutritional Info for My Lunch:
481 Calories, 72g Carbs, 9g Fat, 26g Protein
(All in all, not too bad- I usually try to keep my meals somewhere between 300-400 calories, so this is a little higher than what I'm used to)
Wednesday 4/4 - Impromptu Lunch from Wendy's
-Before I started committing myself to a healthy lifestyle, one of my favorite on the go lunches was a Baja Salad from Wendy's with a Diet Coke to drink. I drive past a Wendy's on my way home most days (the smell of the fries can be so tempting) - and a few days prior I remember thinking to myself that I was really craving one of these salads. When I was at the gym, I suddenly became very hungry, and began thinking of this salad again. I figured I could leave out a few things and make this a reasonably healthy lunch.
I left off the tortilla strips and asked for sour cream instead of the dressing. Here's what I ended up with-
Nutritional Information: 610 Calories, 35g Carbs, 39g Fat, 33g Protein
This ended up being much more than what I should have had for lunch - in both calories and fat. It was tasty, but I will probably think twice before ordering this again. I might be better off getting chili and a baked potato with sour cream the next time I find myself at Wendy's.
Thursday 4/5 - Lunch at Olive Garden
-I was going over to my parents house to visit my mom for the afternoon, and when we made plans she said she wanted to go to lunch at Olive Garden to try the new panini sandwiches they had advertised. This time, I was able to do a little research prior to going to the restaurant, so I weighed my choices and options first.
I decided to start off with soup, because the endless salad option, drenched in dressing and covered in fatty croutons, didn't seem as smart. I got a bowl of the Pasta e Fagioli soup.
Nutritional Information: 130 Calories, 17g Carbs, 2.5g Fat, 8g Protein
The soup was a really good, satisfying starter. I was able to resist the temptation to eat any of their breadsticks. For the main course, I chose the Lunch Size portion of Venetian Apricot Chicken.
Nutritional Information: 280 Calories, 3g Fat, 32g Carbs, 31.5g Protein
The chicken was pretty good (I loved the diced tomatoes on top of the broccoli and asparagus!), but there was way too much of the sauce on the plate, and the sauce itself was too sweet for my tastes.
Overall Lunch Nutritional Information: 410 Calories, 49g Carbs, 6g Fat, 39.5g Protein
In the beginning, I avoided fast food places and restaurants at all costs, not only because of the limited options, but because I was terrified that I couldn't handle the responsibility. As I get closer to my goals and transitioning into maintenance, I'm learning to slowly trust myself to make the right choices.
Also, today I uploaded some new photos. I was somewhat hesitant to put many 'before' pictures up, but I started to think that since so many other people on here have been so open and willing to share, I could try to open up some more too. I put up some new pictures I took today as well, to show a little bit of my progress.
What kinds of choices do you make when you're out to eat? Do you try to stick within your calories? I'm curious to see what works for others!