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Let’s face the facts. If you eat less than you burn, you’ll lose weight. If you eat more, you’ll gain. Most people have nothing but a rough estimate of what they are eating, and usually it is way off. The first step towards fat loss is taking control of your food. This article will show you how to dissect your food and make it work for you and what to do when faced with the dreaded drive through window, being repeatedly asked, do you want to supersize that.
If you are serious, get a food scale and weigh everything. It’s not that you have to track forever, because I know it is tedious, but that you have to develop awareness. You may think that a giant bowl of chips is a serving, when a serving is a handful. You may also not know that your bowl is giant.
Eating should be a pleasure. Dieting is not an excuse to exercise your masochistic tendencies, rather, it should make you lose fat, as painlessly as possible. Unfortunately for many people fast food is one of their biggest indulgences. I had a client recently casually report eating a chipotle burrito, which he thought was at least a healthy alternative. After the total calories were tallied in it was a staggering 2100! I showed him the errors of his ways and now he can indulge without the consequences.
We selected five popular fast food joints, scoured their menus, weighed the options and found the best selections. Obviously you will need more or less calories based on your diets so work that portion control. We tried to get the most protein while minimizing fat and carbs while at the same time getting the most nutrition.
With chipotle you can use this nifty calculator. Goal is to get a balanced meal and maximum amount of proteins while keeping the calories low. Start with a bowl if you’ll want guacamole or extra sauces, otherwise you could go for the hard tacos. Add either pinto or black beans, since unlike rice they have more protein and are lower GI. The meat choices are pretty much the same so get what you like. The Salsas are pretty low in calorie (15-20-40) so go hog wild. Be careful with the extras -guacamole, cheese, sour cream- as adding all three will bump you up another 375 calories. Chips, as usual, are terrible at 570 calories 73g carbs and 27g fat.
Tomato and Hot Salsas
So they are healthening it up a bit themselves, with the new Kentucky Grilled, and 395 calories for $3.95. It’s not bad, if fast food were your only option. But if you’ve got a kitchen, there’s no reason not to make a tasty Kentucky feast of your own. You can’t go wrong with the Kentucky Grilled but if you don’t want to die from rabbit starvation, get a side dish along with it. Any of the side dishes should be ok as long as you stick to one.
2 breast + 1 drumstick
Mashed Potatoes (No gravy)
BK was really a tough one. All the burgers were loaded with carbs and fat and it was difficult getting close to 50g protein without breaking 800kcal. Your best bet is to stick with the tendergrill chicken sandwich with an extra chicken breast or two. Getting it with mustard instead of mayo will save you 100 calories. And if you want to cut the carbs in half throw away half the bun.
Tender Grill Chicken Sandwich
Extra Chicken Breast, Tomatoes and Onions
Skip the fries and dessert and drink water. If you must, opt for diet coke or if you REALLY need it get 3/4th diet coke and 1/4th regular as a last alternative.
We found better choices at McDonald’s; their menu seemed more balanced. We skipped the beef burgers because they’re pretty low on protein for the calorie buck. The chicken sandwiches are better, with the grilled chicken classic leading the way with 420kcal, 10g fat, 51g carb and 32 g protein. If you pull the double breast and no mayo all on one bun trick, as with BK, you can get even better numbers. In the end we were drawn to the salads with the impressive “Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken” 260 calories, 9g fat, 12g carbs, and a staggering 33g of protein. Although the total calorie is low it allows for wiggle room if we want a side dish or dressing. A double order of chicken brings up the protein even more making the salad even more filling.
Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken (double order meat)
312 calories (estimated)
+Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
The supposed king of the healthy fast food surprising has some pretty calorie dense options. The good thing about subway is the customizability of each item. You get to choose everything and watch it being made so there shouldn’t be too many hidden ingredients. Maxing out in a meal can bring your calories above 2000 easily. A footlong with double meat, double cheese, and a variety of sauces, mayo, chips and a drink will do that. Stick to a 6″ or a wrap or even make your own salad and skip the starch vehicle all together. Go for lean but substantial meats such as chicken breast, roast beef, or even the subway club. Get double meat to bring up the protein, giving you a more filling sandwich that is still nutritionally sound. The breads are almost the same but we recommend the ’9-grain wheat bread’ for its lowest calorie (210) and lowest GI.
The cheeses are pretty much all the same, so if you need it, go with your favorite. Sub out mayo for light mayo or even better skip it all together and get some mustard. Sauces can be ok but if you already stacked with cheese/mayo consider skipping them. Your best bet is the fat free honey mustard or fat free sweet onion.
Make sure to stack a mountain of veggies (Read our Codex Of Leanness for more info) and opt for water instead of soda (or get diet) and no chips.
Roast Beef (Double Meat)
6″ Wheat Bread
Veggies + Water
approximately 0 kcal
The double meat and the veggies make this sandwich especially filling and nutritious.
Soda is single handedly responsible for a large part of the obesity problem. It is used for hydration, taste, energy, digestion aid and everything in between. Ridding yourself of a soda addiction is three fold: combating the caffeine and sugar addiction and finding another source of hydration. Water takes care of the second part REALLY well. As for the caffeine, get your boost from coffee or tea or, hell, even caffeine pills: somewhere where that jolt doesn’t come with 14 tsp of sugar. Eating proper meals will help stave off the sugar addiction.
Here are some comparisons:
And here is a flexible recipe: (and perfect pre- or post-workout!)
12 oz cold coffee
30g whey (usually 1 scoop)
1 c milk (use whichever fat content suits your macros/goals)
1 c. ice, or less, depending on your blender’s abilities
Blend and serve!
Hopefully now you are better prepared to fight the fast food menace. Remember, fixing your diet isn’t about the perfect macro-split or eating clean all the time, it’s about better choices. So switching to diet coke alone might put you at a caloric deficit and on the road to weightloss. Beyond that, realize that change happens gradually, don’t force a lifestyle on yourself that will make you miserable and set you up for failure. Take your current lifestyle and work on improving it, soon enough you will notice that you have achieved your goals painlessly.
For looking lean, diet is the only answer. If you’re diet is out of line, I don’t care how hard you train, you’ll only ever get part way there. Diet is also one of the greatest sources of confusion. In this article you will learn some essential tips and tricks for making your diet a success.