FITtrition has been hard at work trying to come up with a way to help our clients with meal planning. One of the ideas we had didn’t end up working because too many of our clients ate out for a decent number of meals and our guide required that the client cook a majority of their food. While this is still the preferred method (cooking is the ONLY way you can control exactly what you are eating. Even when something seems like a healthful choice on a menu, it is very hard to ensure that it is. Most restaurants are in the business of making delicious food…delicious tends to go hand in hand with things like butter, oil, lard, duck fat, bacon…you get the point).
But – we get it! Sometimes your schedule doesn’t allow for enough time to cook. Sometimes eating lunch away from the desk is the only way you will actually get away from the desk. Sometimes, you made lunch and forgot to bring it. The fact of the matter is, life is complicated (which is part of the reason why sticking to a nutrition plan is very, very hard). So FITtrition is here to help. For our next series, we will showcase some restaurants in the DC area (particularly those that are popular for quick, on-the-go lunches and dinners) and help you make the right choice every time.
#1 Le Pain Quotidien *the website has the menu for your local Le Pain with calories listed
Eat this: So many good and lower calorie options here. Too many good choices to name…so let’s focus on the items to avoid.
NOT that: PASTRIES! Even the “healthy” sounding ones like Chia Seed Pudding (460 calories) and Quinoa and Spelt Scone (500 calories compared to 250 calories for a regular croissant) are brimming with calories and sugar. Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich (720 calories), Paris Ham and Aged Gruyere Tartine (790 calories), Grilled Chicken Cobb (640 calories), and the Tuscan Platter (1090 calories) all fall under the NOT list.
#2 Chipotle *they have a great nutrition calculator right on the website
Eat this: Salad option with any meat or tofu (carnitas is the worst choice), pinto over black beans, any salsas you want, fajita veggies, and NO CHEESE, SOUR CREAM, OR VINAIGRETTE! If you can, try using the salsa’s as a dressing of sorts. And if you are really hungry, choose between the guacamole OR the brown rice.
NOT that: Basically any combination with the burrito, white rice and a meat or tofu as the base STARTS you at 660 calories (that is without any cheese, salsa, guac, sour cream, etc.) – so avoid the burrito. There is no way to make the burrito a healthful choice.
#3 Panera Bread *the website lists the nutrition information as well
Eat this: Sandwiches: Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT (ideally the 1/2 sandwich with a side of carrots or an apple) or for my vegetarians, the Mediterranean Sandwich (ideally 1/2 again), Salads: Asian Sesame is a great choice!, Soups: (NO BREADBOWL) Vegetarian Autumn Squash
NOT that: Sandwiches: ANY whole panini, the Italian Combo sandwich (whole), Salads: Chicken Cobb with Avocado, Pastas: ALL, Soups: New England Clam Chowder
Let us know your favorite lunch or easy dinner spot and we will add it to our list to investigate for you! Also note that most chains do have nutritional information available, so ALWAYS ask!!