Tag: eating out

I started the Trim Healthy Mama plan yesterday and I’ve been S-mealing and E-mealing all over the place! Yesterday was actually an interesting day for me to start because it wasn’t my normal routine at all. My dad had a (minor) surgery so I picked up my grandma and we headed to the surgery center to keep my mom company and help out. This change in schedule was a bit of a test for my first day since I was out and about for much of the day. Here’s a rundown of my first crack at THM:

 

7:15 am – Breakfast (E meal)

 

 

Breakfast time! It was trickier than I expected to come up with a meal, mostly because I do my grocery shopping on Mondays and hadn’t bought food specifically for the plan yet. I started with an E meal of oatmeal with strawberries, cinnamon, and stevia. On the side, I had some plain fat free Greek yogurt with a drop of vanilla and some stevia. I was concerned that this meal wouldn’t have enough protein to make it all the way to lunch, but I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get hungry until 11 am. I tossed some oranges in my bag for a snack but never did eat them.



11 am

Dad went in for his surgery and our stomachs were starting to rumble. I volunteered to drop off dad’s prescriptions and grab us some lunch to bring back. Most of the portable options in the vicinity of dad’s pharmacy were fast food. I remembered reading the chapter in the Trim Healthy Mama Plan about eating out. The authors say S meals are the easiest to do while eating out because of the low-carb options at many restaurants. After some quick Googling for ideas on low-carb fast fooding, I discovered that Wendy’s has a lettuce-wrapped burger option, so I dropped off the prescriptions and headed over there.

 

12 pm – Lunch (S Meal)

When I was ordering, I was a little unsure how much food I would need to be satisfied. Generally, if I get fast food I order a kids’ meal or a cheeseburger with a small serving of french fries. French fries are a no-go on the Trim Healthy Mama plan because they are high in both fat and carbohydrates (not to mention that they are made of white potatoes, which are also discouraged). I’m a sucker for a salty carbohydrate so honestly that was a bit of a bummer. I planned to order a lettuce-wrapped cheeseburger but then wondered if that would be enough when I’m used to also having a bun and some french fries too. I decided to embrace the concept of an S meal and got a double cheeseburger. Now, as a dietitian, I would consider this meal too high in saturated fat and too high in calories (not to mention sodium), but it fits the THM concept. I thought about ordering a side salad also but their online reviews were less than enticing.

 

 

The lettuce-wrapped cheeseburger was messy but delicious. I would order one any time! I noticed that eating a low-carb meal didn’t satisfy me as quickly as a balanced meal with carbohydrates does, but after 10-15 minutes the meal’s fat kicked in and I was satisfied for hours.

 

3 pm 

Time for grocery shopping! For the most part, I was able to buy the usual foods my family eats when planning for THM this week. The exceptions included a handful of specialty foods that are recommended to make the diet easier and more interesting to follow. I bought pressed peanut flour (a low-fat alternative to peanut butter, used mostly as a protein source in E meals), almond flour (for grain-free baking), and coconut oil (recommended by the plan for cooking, along with butter). These products were more expensive than the alternatives I typically buy and upped my grocery bill for the week by about $25. The containers I bought will most likely last for the next 3 weeks and probably beyond, so I imagine the extra costs will average out.

 



 

6:30 pm – Dinner (E Meal)

 

 

After running around a bit and making sure dad was settled at home, I ended up making a recipe I had planned for last week but never got around to cooking (and just so happened to be a type of burger…déjà vu, anyone?). I was able to use up the ingredients with just a few tweaks for THM. I put my black bean veggie burger (which didn’t hold together well but tasted  good) on a bed of lettuce and a slice of sourdough. I made baked sweet potato fries and a strawberry banana smoothie as sides. It was very satisfying and lasted all the way until bedtime!

 

Overall, definitely not a bad day. It’s taking a bit of getting used to, thinking carefully about all of the parts of my meal to make sure to balance fuel sources per the THM plan. I have a feeling my husband and boys will particularly love the S meals I have planned for the week!

 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with the producers or manufacturers of this product; however, as an Amazon Associate, I receive compensation for any purchases of products through the links on this post.

 



Diets Trim Healthy Mama

Sorry for the delay in posting – I’ve been experiencing technical difficulties. And by “technical difficulties” I mean that my work tablet took a brief swim and is now resting in a pan of rice. 🙁 Pray for dry insides!

Anyhoo, as you may know, eating out and eating well can be a challenge. My favorite mantra for eating out:

You can make a “bad” choice just about everywhere, you can make a “good” choice pretty much anywhere, but you can always make the best choice for where you are.

Life happens. Food is a (wonderful!) part of life. By all means, eat out and enjoy it! Making choices when eating out depends a lot on how frequently you eat out. If you mostly cook at home and eat out once or twice a month or only on special occasions, ignore this post. Go out on your date night, anniversary, or family fun night and enjoy it. Don’t worry about this – it’s not a big enough portion of your whole eating picture to matter that much. I’m not advocating an all-out binge, but you should order what you want and move on.

On the other hand, if eating out is more frequent for you – maybe you travel or life is just busy – the story is different. You will have to tailor your eating out for your health goals if you ever hope to meet them. If you’re hoping to eat well with an eye towards decreasing inflammation, here are some tips from my experiences in the last few weeks:

 



 

Asian

We’ve eaten Asian food out twice since I started anti-inflammatory. Once we went to a new (to us) local Asian fusion restaurant that essentially offers a Subway-style, build-your-own sushi wrap, bowl, or salad. When eating out along these lines, choose foods without too much carbohydrate and get lots of veggies. Choose fish (especially salmon) – it’s high in anti-inflammatory omega-3s! If you’re up for spicy, add in brightly-colored spicy sauces, but go easy on those with sugar like teriyaki or sweet chili sauce. The seaweed in sushi is loaded with antioxidants too. I really wanted a sushi wrap so I asked for a light layer of rice, got miso soup on the side, and only ate half of the wrap.

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Another day we went to a Korean restaurant. This one was easy – I love bibimbap! If you aren’t familiar, it’s a crackly, delicious cauldron of rice, tons of veggies, a meat of your choice, and an egg. I chose chicken and added loads of the optional veggie add-ins at the table (especially kimchi, which not only has colorful spices but also contains probiotics). Again, I saved half for later.

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Italian

This one was tricky because (by far) my favorite type of Italian food is pasta, and most pasta dishes are just that – a giant plate of carbohydrates with a creamy, buttery inflammatory sauce. Hmph. I had to do a little finagling for this one. I decided I would still get pasta but choose a lean meat, an olive-oil based vinaigrette sauce, and lots of colorful vegetables. In this case, I picked a seafood pasta (to up the omega-3s) with tomatoes, onions, and asparagus. To prevent eating too many carbs I only ate half (are you noticing a pattern?). A vegetable-based sauce (like marinara) would have worked nicely too. Watch out for too much cheese or the absurd amount of delicious carbohydrates like breadsticks with pasta, pasta, and more pasta!

 

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If you weren’t so much a pasta person, a salad with Italian vinaigrette or a chicken breast with marinara sauce could be a less inflammatory choice.

 

Seafood

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A friend’s birthday dinner took us to a seafood restaurant. Seafood is anti-inflammatory as long as it’s not covered in butter or alfredo sauce (darn it), so you can choose a fillet of salmon or whitefish with veggies and a starch any time. I opted for a cioppino – basically seafood stewed in a tomato-based sauce with herbs and spices. High in antioxidants and omega-3s! It came with one slice of bread (plus in the spirit of full disclosure, I ate a slice of sourdough as an appetizer too). I skipped a drink and opted for water instead. Since my entree wasn’t inflammatory and it was delicious and reasonably portioned, I ate the whole thing!

 

Indian

We didn’t actually go out to an Indian restaurant in the last three weeks, but it could be a great place to go for an anti-inflammatory meal because of all of the beautiful spices they use! Keep your rice/naan portion reasonable, choose a sauce that is brightly-colored but not creamy, like curry, and get a brightly-colored veggie for a side (like palak paneer). This is a great opportunity to go meatless and choose a lentil- or garbanzo-based dish as well!

 



Anti-inflammatory Diet

Today is my third day on vacation while following my diet, and I thought I’d update you with a few tips I’ve accumulated:

  • Look for fruit and vegetable sides. Enough restaurants offer these as options that it’s not actually that difficult to find them. I was thrilled to find an epically awesome fresh fruit bowl (actually fresh and flavorful, can you believe that?) at a cafe in Portland with lunch, and a salad with dried cranberries and soup for dinner in the airport. Yesterday we went to a restaurant that didn’t have fruit sides, so I bought a bottled 100% fruit smoothie to drink instead.

Portland meal

  • Don’t look too hard. I was so focused on getting the seemingly elusive fruits and veggies that I ended up missing my protein goal for the first day by nearly half. Oops…overcompensated .
  • Try to choose low-sodium options. Every time I’m teaching about a low-sodium diet, I tell patients to expect to blow their sodium goal out of the water when they eat out. I did – the recommendation is for 2,000 milligrams of sodium each day, but I topped out at 3,300 on my traveling day (yikes!). The best way to keep that under control is to go for fresh options and avoid things like processed foods, breads, lunch meats, and soups. My biggest mistake? Soup for both lunch and dinner.
  • Pay attention. My body is really pretty good about telling me what it wants. I’m usually pretty good at ignoring it. My lunch portions, for example, were about the same as I might have eaten pre-MyPlate, but I got full part of the way through. I didn’t eat all the fruit and I gave my fiance part of my soup.
  • Work it off. If you expect to creep past your calorie goal for the day, find some activity to do to compensate. On my flying day, I was about 150 calories over. I carted my backpack and carry-on for a brisk lap around the airport during my layover and closed the gap some. Yesterday, Abbie wanted to take me to a delicious Mexican restaurant (with gargantuan portions) and I expected to be quite a bit over my calorie goal. But after snowboarding for 4 hours and a 40-minute hike with a beautiful view of Lake Tahoe, my calorie tracker actually put me at 500 calories UNDER my goal because of the activity I had done. And check out these views…totally worth it, right?

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MyPlate Guidelines