Do you remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy is walking through the forest and the mean, angry trees start throwing apples at her? Sometimes I feel like I’m in that scene when I drive near my house.
One time when I came out of my gym, I counted how many places there are to buy food within a half mile drive in any one of the four directions from that intersection. At the time there were 33. When I drive through that intersection, I feel like I could have burgers, tacos, burritos, pizza, and egg rolls flying in my direction by mean fast food eateries. I consider it a good day when I leave the gym and the wind is blowing in the right direction so that I’m not slammed in the face by the smell of cheeseburgers cooking on the grill.
As you’re out doing your last minute holiday shopping and find yourself hungry and assaulted by the smell of those awesome cinnamon rolls in the mall, the temptation of the quick drive through with the 1,000 calorie meal – the list of temptations could go on. What do you do? What are your options? Stop for a brief moment and think about what your options are in the area where you will be.
This is what works for me:
I know my grocery stores. At this time of year, going to the grocery store is faster than sitting in a long drive-through line. I can run in and grab an apple, a single serve Greek yogurt, and a bottle of water and get out in the express lane quickly. Many of them have great salad bars available as well.
I know what's safe and healthy. If I'm shopping in the morning, I swing by Starbucks. They have a whole wheat muffin, egg white and turkey bacon breakfast sandwich. I have them hold the cheese and get my tall nonfat latte for a fast breakfast I can fit in my calorie range for the day. Lunch for me could be a 6-inch whole wheat turkey Subway sub with all the veggies (hold the cheese and condiments).
I come prepared. Your plans can change while you’re out shopping. I find that carrying a fiber bar, bottle of water, or a baggie with nuts and dried fruit can come in very handy. A healthy snack can help me keep my sanity. Keep a small cooler in your pantry and take it with you when you head out for the day. I have been known to load one up with a sandwich, snacks, water and an ice pack and load that in the car. This quick choice can save me money, calories, and regret later.
I do my best. I use an application on my phone called Fast Food that gives calories by item from most major fast food eateries. Some restaurants have the nutrition information for menu items on their website. Don’t be afraid to ask the waitress to put sauces on the side, hold cheese, butter, and let them know you don’t want a bread or chip basket on your table.
Where can you go in your area where you can get a healthy option for a quick meal? Do you use a cooler when you’re going to be out for a long day of Christmas shopping? What types of snacks would you carry with you?