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Adventures in Eating (and tracking!) 'On the Go'

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

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!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon emoticon emoticon we can do this some times we just need to be re sparked i know i needed to get re Sparked and now feel keep going thanks for sharing and reminding me we can do this
    2233 days ago
    2235 days ago
    Great job staying on track while eating out! This can be so tough. Looking up information before hand is definitely key. Keep it up!
    2235 days ago
    I try to always look at the website or nutritional information where ever I go.

    Olive Garden will serve the salad with the dressing and croutons on the side. I get it that way all the time. That way I get just a taste of the dressing (fork tines into the dressing) and still can get some "veggies".

    Good choices and tracking on your part!
    2235 days ago
  • MUFFIY831
    Looks like you're doing great. I travel a lot for work so I know how difficult it is in restaurants with the giant portions and fatty cooking methods - add going vegan to that and it's nearly impossible. You're making good decisions and like you said, you live and learn and get better at this as you go.
    2235 days ago
    I have to eat "on the go" a lot because of my schedule so sometimes I just bring my own dinner (I always bring my lunch to work), but when I have to eat out, there are a few options I like. Subway is not a bad choice except for the high sodium. I usually get turkey, no cheese, lots of veggies, and their fat free honey mustard dressing which ends up around 300 calories. Where I live we have Chick Fil A which can be very tempting, but they also have some decently healthy meals. Their grilled chicken "garden salad" is good and without dressing or croutons, only 180 calories and high in protein from the chicken. They have a variety of dressings to choose from so it usually ends up being around 300 calories unless you have another dressing with you to use (I bring my own sometimes). Chick Fil A also has grilled nuggets, and I love their mixed fruit cup!
    2235 days ago
    I'm on the road a lot and it's always tough to find the right balance.

    I try to avoid the fast food joints unless I'm in a real hurry. Subway is a pretty good option. I'll usually get a turkey breast with spinach, black olives, & cucumbers and have them sprinkle black pepper on mayo or cheese

    I try to find some decent local joints....I'm a big fan of Vietnamese Pho, which is a big bowl of broth with rice noodles and chicken or shrimp....filling & low cal.

    otherwise, I try to get fish and veggies, avoiding the starchy sides and/or anything with a sauce on it. i also try to drink a big glass of water before the meal.

    Good luck!
    2236 days ago
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