With our busy schedules, we often feel like we need to resort to fast food restaurants or food on-the-go. With limited healthy options on fast food menus, you may think that healthy choices are simply not available at these restaurants, which makes sticking to your diet more challenging. However, the key is to learn what you can eat when you are busy with your everyday activities without compromising your progress.
It is well known that weight gain has been associated with fast food and eating out. Studies have shown that fast food consumption increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. While this can be extremely discouraging for those who eat out on a regular basis, many fast food restaurants now offer alternative meals and healthier options, making it easier to still eat out.
However, can we actually consider these alternatives? It may be easier to order the foods we typically get and write them off as a “cheat” or simply assume that the healthier options are probably not so healthy after all. As reported in a recent Nutrients Journal article, people must examine their food choices through a social and psychological lens. This means considering the effects of social, environmental and psychological influences on our eating behaviors. Being aware of these influences gives us more control over the decisions we make and gives us the confidence we need to pursue healthier lifestyles.
For individuals who are always on the go, Medifast California offers a fast food survival guide that outlines the optimal meal choices for someone trying to lose weight. When fast food is the last or, in some instances, the only option, the fast food survival guide lists alternative meals from recognized restaurants such as Subway, Wendy’s, Rubio’s, Burger King, Baja Fresh, KFC, Chipotle and Panera. That’s right—you can enjoy many of your favorite fast food restaurants and still stay on your Medifast California plan!
Let’s take a closer look at how Medifast California equips clients with the knowledge and preparation they need to make wise dining choices when eating out:
Eating out on Medifast’s program is made simple with the Lean & Green™ Meal guidelines. These guidelines take the guesswork out of how to eat healthy at restaurants and help Medifast California clients make informed choices. So what do Lean and Green actually mean?
Lean refers to lean protein options such as boneless, skinless chicken breast, fish, or lean cuts of beef and pork. When it comes to beef, there are far more lean options than you may think. In fact, the USDA lists over 29 different cuts of beef which meet the government’s nutritional standards for lean meat and include many popular selections such as sirloin tip side steak, shoulder tip center roast and steak.
The Green component is found in non-starchy vegetables ranging from lower-carbohydrate to more moderate or higher carbohydrate vegetables. To get a better picture of what kinds of veggies fall into to these three categories, examples of each include:
There are plenty of additional options and Medifast California provides a great list, perfect for eating out on Medifast and also grocery shopping. The goal is to choose a total of 3 servings of any combination of lower, moderate, or higher carbohydrate vegetables.
There are three important tips to keep in mind when it comes to sprucing up your meal with condiments when dining out on the Medifast program:
Eating healthy on the go can get complicated when you are trying to measure portions and they are not clearly listed in your menu. Medifast California helps simplify the process by providing you with practical ways to quickly recognize healthy meal portions. For example, 3 oz protein = deck of cards, 1 oz of lunch meat = one compact disc 1 cup = one baseball ½ cup = one light bulb. Be sure to peruse the Medifast Dining Out Guide for more great meal portion tips!
Finding something healthy to eat while dining out starts before you even leave the house.
When deciding how to have your food prepared, keep in mind that certain cooking methods can add unnecessary calories and fat to your food. To help ensure that your meal is lower in calories and fat, have your food prepared using one of these recommended methods.
Before a planned meal out, try to have a quick snack before you leave, if possible. This way you don’t arrive starving and ready to eat whatever comes your way. It is also easier to stay on track if you aren’t really hungry.
Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read through the menu and decide what you want to eat. Having a plan for what you will eat—and drink—can help you stay on track. Sometimes though, the unexpected happens, like a breadbasket is placed on the table. You can always ask for the basket to be taken away, if the other members of your party don’t mind. If they do, try to place the basket out of reach so you aren’t tempted.
It’s not just what you eat, but also what you drink. Whenever possible, stick with plain or carbonated water. Unsweetened iced tea is also a low-cal option. Alcoholic drinks and sodas can all add a lot of calories and grams of sugar. If you choose to drink alcohol, make sure to drink in moderation and choose a lower calorie option.
Our main goal is to inform clients about the healthiest options, the foods to avoid and the best substitutions. While much of what is considered to be the “healthier” options on fast-food menus can often be misleading, Medifast California has strategically chosen a number of menu items that are not. One key tip to remember is to stay away from croutons, tortilla strips, pita, rice, bacon and high sodium deli meats like salami and ham. High in calories and unhealthy fats, these foods can deter you from reaching your weight loss goals.
If you are craving the typical fast food options, try replacing them with the healthier alternative. For instance, substitute a cheeseburger with a turkey burger or veggie burger. Eat grilled chicken as opposed to fried chicken and always order salads with fat-free dressing. Also, consider portion control when you are eating out. Instead of ordering full meals, choose the half order or ask for the other half to already be packaged to-go so you can eat it later.
Don’t let your busy schedule keep you from reaching your weight loss goals. There is much you can do to stay on track without getting discouraged! Take control with Medifast California and talk to your Certified Counselor today to learn more about our fast food survival guide. If you are just learning about Medifast California, contact us for more information on our products and programs.
Source: Medifast’s “The Dining Out Guide“