I often help clients’ make the best choices at the restaurants they frequent. This means I’ll help them make the ‘healthiest’ choice for that moment when there is no other choice.
It doesn’t mean I encourage fast food. But it does mean that for my clients I’ll look up the restaurants’ menu online and research what each menu item contains, and make judgment calls based on the ‘good, better, best’ theory in nutrition. Fast food isn’t healthy for our body, as we all know, but even though it’s really hard to get into ‘good better or best’ with them I’m going to do my best!
Removing ALL other options (if we CAN’T get fresh food, didn’t make time to prep food) [Read: The Fastest Way to Food Prep] there will always be some ‘better’ options within the reality and limitation we are stuck in (ie. fast food.) And food at a restaurant vs. fast food vs. carnival food are all within their own scopes too, so learning good/better/best is helpful for you no matter where you go and want to consider the healthiER choice, wherever you are.
While ‘fast food’ could not be considered healthy due to the highly processed ingredients, I aim to make things simpler for people and most of the time, simply telling them not to eat fast food isn’t realistic. While anyone trying to eat healthier intuitively knows that fast food isn’t good for them, it’s also not in my coaching style to say “You CAN’T eat xyz.” You can only make the best choice with what you know and what resources you have with the time you have available. So the best we can do is know which foods in the places we frequent (while we work on changing that!) are better for us. And this is one place that a lot of my clients’ frequent, so I made a list.
We know fast food isn’t healthy. Fast food is filled with sugar, canola oil [Read: What You NEVER Want to See on Food Labels] and weird ingredients like L-cysteine hydrochloride, tricalcium phosphate, colourings like yellow #5 & #6 and ingredients containing MSG. They aren’t made for nourishment, they are fillers. BUT, sometimes we are on road trips, or sleep in and miss breakfast…. or you or your partner forgot to grocery shop …. and drive thru’s happen.
What made the list, and what didn’t? It was difficult to determine how to make the list. If I was super picky, I wouldn’t have been able to pick anything except drinks. So I picked menu items that had 3 or less nasty ingredients that I wouldn’t want to eat. Most of the items that didn’t make the list had 4-15 ingredients that I really don’t want in my body.
So here’s the best choices to make when your doin’ the dirty through a Timmy’s…
12-grain bagel with herb and garlic or plain cream cheese - if you don’t like cream cheese or can’t eat it, butter or honey are the other healthier toppings that they offer
Pretzel bagel - while it doesn’t have any of the cracked whole grains that the bagel above does, it clocked in with only 2 ‘no-no’s. But because its also a white bread, make sure to have fat with it, like butter, so it won’t spike your blood sugar as fast. [Read: Eat Fat AND Lose Fat: 7 Reasons Why]
Cheese/Raisin tea biscuits - while these aren’t ideal if you can’t have fat with them (white flour, sugar) they just barely made the cut
Greek Yogurt with Mixed berries - while not as good as making your own at home since it’s skim milk yogurt and not whole yogurt, I’ll overlook the sugar and natural colors/flavours for the actual fruit in this that makes it worthy of the list!
Hashbrown -I was hoping to be able to add more to the breakfast list, but the wraps (with additives) with the added eggs (with additives) and cheese (with additives) and meat (with additives) and sauces (with numerous additives) was over the budgeted list. Asking for a hashbrown and veggie wrap with no sauce would be a potential around that, although I’m unsure they would do this if you asked!
Savoury Potato Wedges - while not cooked in an ideal healthy fat, they still made the list
Crispy Chicken on Ciabatta bun - pretty much the only sandwich I can recommend. Ask for it without the ‘mayonnaise-type sauce’ added to the bun.
Garden salad - the balsamic vinegarette isn’t just balsamic vinegar and oil as you’d hoped, but this option still gives you some veggies
Notes: I was hoping to be able to add some more lunch options like soups or sandwiches to the list, but their quantity of sugar, MSG, sugar, preservatives and more sugar didn’t make my cut.
None of the donuts or treats make the list because of the ingredients in the cake, fillings, fondants and glazes. But if you need a treat, the ones with the least amount of additives and sugar are:
Ginger molasses cookie
White chocolate macadamia nut cookie
Steeped tea -plain, no cream/sugar
Coffee - plain, no cream/sugar (or bring your own honey/alternative milk to add, you can also ask for their soy beverage, may not be available in all stores)
Specialty herbal teas: peppermint, Apple Cinnamon Herbal Tea, Honey Lemon Herbal Tea, Chai Tea, Peppermint Herbal Tea (Caffeine-free), Chamomile, Orange Pekoe, English Breakfast, Green Tea
Bottled Juices/Tea: apple juice, orange juice, citrus green iced tea, lemon iced tea
While I’d love to recommend the ‘fruit smoothies’ the amount of sugar they contain actually made them not make my list!
Stay away from anything caramel drizzled!
Eat slowly, chew well and it’ll help your body digest it better - no matter what the food is. Read: [7 Ways to Stoke the Flames of Your Digestive Fire]
I researched many hours for this blog. I combined my skills of Holistic Nutrition knowledge when it comes to what’s natural and healthy for our bodies, and the ability to read a 31 page ingredient document over and over. I’ve distilled it and made it simple as best I can.
It’s pretty simple and there isn’t tons to choose, but gives you an idea. Other posts I’ve written that might give you better ideas right now:
Thanks for reading. Here’s to the best choices possible in each moment.