Because I really wanted to write two different posts today, I'm adding a little message into a post with tips on making better choices while in restaurants. There are more than a handful of people around me that I care about who are currently getting news from healthcare professionals that are cause for concern. And so before I get into a basic list of tips, I want to remind us all (myself included) that we have to invest in our futures - the being here - with nutrition and exercise. I'm changing the voice now: Your lifestyle habits are a powerful tool that you have to protect yourself against illness and disease. And with so much fat loss talk, nothing is more real than when your wellness is threatened. It trumps fat loss / aesthetic talk. You presumably only get one body and one life - at least maybe, depending on your beliefs. Invest in making your time here enjoyable, remaining out of hospitals, growing with your families. When you are making your lifestyle decisions, try to remember that this is largely up to you. Cutting corners, racing to the finish (whatever that might look like for you) isn't worth compromising your health and happiness. This doesn't mean to never enjoy a pizza or night out, but you want to follow an 80/20 type of ratio. 80 percent of the time, treat your body with diligence and compassion so that you can enjoy your life, help to take care of others, and to generally be well. Changing the voice again: Let's aspire to not take our health, and therefore our lives, for granted. Okay?
Now. Composing meals outside of the house.
Drawing on some intent from that last paragraph, you absolutely have to look to produce. You have to, have to, have to learn to like vegetables. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. They are our best illness-fighters, happiness-givers, life-promoting little wonders. If it's breakfast, make sure whatever you order includes some fruit, or maybe spinach in your omelette. If it's lunch or dinner, whatever you order must have greens or pack some kind of colourful punch grown in nature. Beets, sweet potatoes, zucchini, broccoli - I don't think I need to list off everything. You must have produce, you must have colour, breakfast lunch and dinner.
Secondly, protein. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you want organic tofu or tempeh or a great medley of legumes like edamame, chick peas, lentils. If you avoid meat, you want as much variety of other whole foods as you can get to increase your likeliness of getting in all of your amino acids. If you eat meat, pick a nice quality fish, meat or chicken dish. Stay away from fattier cuts. Avoid heavy, rich sauces. Your fats should come from natural fat sources when you can - oils from substances that grow from the ground. Avocados, nuts, olives, coconuts.
The combo of your proteins and produce might come in the shape of an omelette, a protein packed salad, a classic dish of meat and veg, a sandwich...
If it is a sandwich, take off half the bun. I'm not going to go into a carb debate right now, or even a gluten one. Too much starch, out of balance with your other macronutrients (proteins and fats) will jar your insulin levels and leave you hungrier and more lethargic. Keep those blood sugar levels stable, and you will be clear-headed, energetic, lean and healthy.
The size of the starch (bread, rice, potatoes, etc) should be no larger in my opinion than the size of your fist. Your protein should be the size of your palm. Your produce should be as big as your head :) It's important to learn to eyeball these things and to be able to apply nutritional balance wherever you go, forever, in your life. Counting calories and obsessing over numbers is exhausting and a waste of time. Learn what foods are best for you, choose those that are as natural as possible, and then put them together in balance. Then no matter what buffet you stand in front of or what menu board you are looking at, you will know how to take care of yourself and get in some great food that will serve you and propel you forward as opposed to hold you back.
If you have any questions, I'm here.