Our lives are crazy, chaotic and non-stop. Each day, we are moving so fast, that we barely have enough time to eat a meal, let alone plan a healthy one. So, how do we stay fit for life when the foods that we love are unhealthy and so darn tasty, while the foods that we need (you know, the healthy stuff) is sometimes tasteless? Hey, folks, we struggle with this one, too! So, here are some tips to help you avoid sabotaging your hard earned, hard work in the gym:
PLAN YOUR MEALS
By planning, you will improve your nutrition, which will help you maintain your goal and have well-balanced meals throughout the week. And, by planning, you are more likely to:
- Make healthier choices
- Eat high-quality foods
- Save money
- Save time
- Decrease meal planning stress
CHOOSE YOUR FAST FOOD RESTAURANT WISELY
I don’t know about you, but we're not perfect. And on occasion, fast food is on our menu. So, if you must choose fast food, pick a place that offers healthier options:
- Chipotle — Chicken Burrito Bowl with brown rice & pinto beans, no cheese or sour cream — 500 calories
- Starbucks — Spinach and Feta Wrap — 290 calories
- Chick-Fil-A — Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap — 340 calories
- Wendy's — Asian Cashew Chicken Salad, full size — 380 calories
- McDonald's — Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich — 360 calories
- Subway — 6-inch Turkey Breast Sub, no cheese, add avocado — 340 calories
- Panera — Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich on Country Bread — 430 calories
STEP AWAY FROM THE BUFFET!
Buffets can be a great option because you can get more of the things you do want, and less of those you don’t. You can afford to be picky without having to deal with the pain of explaining your preferences to a waitress. Plus, the price is usually reasonable. However, buffets are filled with challenges and other temptations.
Attractive as a buffet may seem, there are several reasons to think again, and proceed with caution.
- Eating for Two…or Five. You are more likely to overeat at a buffet. Do you need a sandwich with four types of meat and cheeses, five cookies and four flavors of yogurt?
- Chemically dependent. Unless you are visiting a very high-end buffet, the food is most likely highly processed, and likely contains some potentially unhealthy preservatives and chemicals.
- False advertising. Unless you can verify with the staff on what is in a particular dish, vegetable dishes might be cooked in animal fats. Plus, the foods that you think would be gluten-free may not be, and any number of items you may not expect may be laden with sugar.
If a buffet is your only option, here are a few tips to avoid completely throwing off your diet:
- Set a “plate limit."
- Load up on healthy options first
- Take your time
- Be cautious with sauces
FIND A MEAL-PLANNING APP
Whether you have iPhone or Android, there is a meal-planning app to meet your needs. Each app offers a handful of tools made specifically to help ease the pain of meal planning. With it, you will be able to create a catalog of your favorite items and recipes and import them from hundreds of food websites. From there, you can plan out your menu for the week, and create a grocery list with one tap.
In the end, the goal is not perfection, as it leads to absolute failure. Instead, you should strive to improve. Incremental fitness and food improvements are much healthier goals and a lot more fun.