It’s Wendy Battles, The Clean Eating Coach, with some simple advice — ignorance is surely not bliss when it comes to eating out and knowing how many calories you’re consuming. Go to your typical restaurant, especially when you’re hungry, and clean eating can easily go right out the window despite your larger, good intentions.
Case in point, a few weekends ago my husband Bruce and I were busily running errands on a Saturday after our morning workout. We ended up being gone longer than we expected and found ourselves famished, on the verge of making a poor, non-clean eating food choice.
Believe it or not, I insisted that we go to Taco Bell as he rattled off all the choices for a healthier bite to eat including our old standby Panera Bread where we religiously order a salad. But I felt so incredibly hungry that I was ready to kick any notions of clean eating to the curb in the spirit of instant, fat-filled, calorie-laden gratification. Have you ever felt that way, making a poor decision in the moment and losing sight of your larger goal, only to find out it didn’t taste as good as you expected it would?
We came to our clean eating senses, however, after a lengthy persual of the Taco Bell menu. Now mind you, I’m not suggesting everything at Taco Bell is bad, however, with the recent addition of calorie information next to each menu item at many fast food restaurants, you can’t help but take note and give some thought to what you’re about to consume. It’s the perfect opportunity to think about which items are the cleanest foods and can support healthier eating.
My old standby at Taco Bell is the bean and cheese burrito but I was shocked to see that it has 370 calories. Even though it was listed as one of the healthier options and lower in fat, I couldn’t get over the fact that something that’s not especially large has that many calories. And let’s be real — if I took the time to make a bean and cheese burrito at home, you know I could make a clean eating version (whole grain wrap, low fat cheese, organic beans) that would be so much healthier.
Bruce and I eyed the menu selections for a good 10 minutes. We were even more shocked by how many calories some of the burritos contain, easily 500-600 calories in many of them with lots of fat and sodium to boot. Just imagine the people that don’t stop at one but order two or three and don’t think twice about it!
The good news is that we regained our clean eating senses after our momentary lapse, and headed over to Panera Bread. I ordered my favorite Fuji Apple Chicken salad for 520 calories plus an apple. And I got the dressing on the side and didn’t get the gorgonzola cheese. A much better choice that supports my clean eating efforts that I can feel good about it.
How aware are you when heading out for a quick bite when you’re on the run? Do you know how many calories are in the items you order? And what can you do to practice clean eating when you’re in the midst of your busy day? With a little forethought, I bet you can make a healthier choice.