We ALL do it… Now it’s time to ADMIT that fast food is occasionally a life-saving option in a pinch when we schedules get tight and people get HANGRY. Although it’s not our first go-to for nutrition, gone are the days that we feel guilty for doing it, and dare I say enjoying it, every once in awhile.
We have this ALL OR NOTHING mentality.. as if when we decide to start “eating healthy” we try to magically erase the desire for junk food, soda and all your favorite desserts. The desire for junk food and eating for pleasure is not something that just goes away overnight.. and it shouldn’t have to. If you are looking for REAL life change, I believe it’s best done slowly and organically. For example, I would be sent to a psych ward and permanently removed from my children if someone were to tell me “you can NEVER eat pizza or donuts again.. aaaaand I’m replacing all the cereal in your house for kale, effective immediately.” Guys, I would literally hate life. So rather than taking things away and restricting, we find a way to make certain “pleasure foods” FIT here and there into your plan and boom, you are loving your new way of life AND making huge strides in your progress! And I’m here to make your day by saying… EVEN (some) FAST FOOD can fit into your plan!
Just a quick disclaimer.. My current daily breakdown of what I eat is
51F/315C/125P – 2300 cals.
(I’ve worked UP to this over time by way of my reverse diet (click the link to read about it) So, as you can see, I have the MOST fun with carbs (my body’s preferred fuel source) and the have to be a little more moderate with my FATS.
So, if you’re in a pinch.. or just have a hankering for In ‘n Out (common in my life).. here are a few of my family’s GO TO options at places we frequent on the go!
BEWARE* I know those waffle fries are tempting and if you have the room, go for it.. but a SMALL WAFFLE FRY order from Chik-fil-a is 16F/37C/3P – 300 cals – sorry to burst your fry loving bubble.
I usually have plenty of carbs to fill (hello, 315g/day) so my Chipotle order is pretty carb dense. Your leanest option for protein (per serving) is the actually the steak, and then chicken.
The only difference between the Burrito Bowl and the Salad is that the salad has lettuce as the base and they offer you a dressing to go on top of it. I always skip the dressing (since it’s an oil-based vinagerette) because it saves me 24g fat!! WOW! Skip the dressing! It’s juicy enough!
BEWARE* Yes, the chips are so salty and delicious, but fare warning.. 1 bag is 570 cals – 27gF/73C/8P — deal breaker for me, unfortunately. But remember, that the whole bag. If you have the will power, take out half of the chips and enjoy half the serving for a more tolerable macro count!
Also, “would you like to add a side of guac?” I mean, is that a trick question?? Of course, I would LIKE to, but this will cost you another 13g fat!
Chipotle is, altogether, a great way to fit a comfort meal into your macros.. Just be cautious of adding the extras fats (cheese, sour cream, guac and dressing) as they add up quickly and keep in mind that with each scoop of salsa, you add more and more sodium!
In ‘n Out Burger
My FAVORITE burger place from my childhood and beyond.. I have found a way to make this work! Since I have a high carb intake, I almost always get a bun. You would think I could do fries too with all these carbs, but the fries come with a little too much fat for me to fit. Again, HALF or 1/3 the order as soon as it comes out and put it in your own “fry box” for a lot less macros and still enjoy what you love! Here are my two options:
The “SPREAD” they serve is similar to a Thousand Island dressing and adds 10g fat to the burger, so if you got it, flaunt it.
BEWARE* The full order of fries are 18F/54C/7P, but as I said, although I can’t afford the whole order sometimes, I will eyeball 1/2 of the portion and then it’s 9F/27C/3P… more doable!
I wrote an article a few months ago about modifying Starbucks drinks to accommodate your goals! Click HERE for the article. However, I’ll let you in on a few of my favorite food picks! My go-to order while traveling or just on the go is the:
BEWARE* Don’t let marketing fool you. The “Protein Plate” has more FAT than PROTEIN, and twice the amount of CARBS as FAT. Tricky, tricky, S-bizzle.. I see what you’re doing. Also, “skinny” drinks may be lower in fat, but still high in carbs! (ex. 1 cup of nonfat milk contains 13g carbs.. all from sugar, nontheless.. but that’s not what this article is about).
A frequent stop for my family.. here are our favorite options here!
I love this option and I have for years. It can accommodate anyone and everyone either high or low carb, gluten free, etc. It’s the best “fast food” to pack in the most veggies in one stop. Here are my GO TOs for Subway:
NOTE* the flatbread is almost the EXACT macro breakdown (same amount of carbs-40g) as the 6″ standard loafs. So, don’t be fooled into thinking the flat bread (idk, because it’s… flat) is any less calories. Get what you want!
Don’t even get me started on how much I love this place. Take note, if I were to walk in and think I am making a healthy choice, I would order the Turkey Tom and maybe even add cheese. In doing so, the macro count would be 30F/56C/33P – 615 cals. Wow, didn’t expect to see so much fat on a turkey sandwich? Just request a
BEWARE* The one thing that always kills a good macro game are the sides like chips and cookies. Everything counts! I used to think if I made a super “healthy choice” for my main meal, I could reward myself with having the chips and/or cookie… turns out that doesn’t really work as much as it just demolishes your efforts. (UNLESS of course you have the room.. then go for it. That’s the glory of flexible dieting).