Make Good Choices--Even away from Home

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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?

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MUSICNUT 7/11/2019
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
RCLYKE 2/11/2019
Fast food is a challengeespecially Subway Report
ANHELIC 1/31/2019
Thank you. Report
Life style change is a big key to setting the right goals and reaching them. Report
Life style change is a big key to setting the right goals and reaching them. Report
In my area there is always a subway around and that is where I would go. We are driving to Florida in March and I will make sure we take a cooler along. Report
This is great advise and so true about the bombardment of restaurants!

I do not carry a survival bag, but I will in the future! Last nite I was smelling McDonalds fries and we werent near a McD's LOL

Thanks! Report
You're so "on target" with going prepared. I find that the healthy snack with me really helps to keep me from things I'll regret later. Great ideas!! Thanks! Report
Great blog with some really great ideas on how to eat healthy during our holiday shopping - and even daily shopping times! Thanks! Report
It is best to prepare and have a plan. Last weekend my wife and I were going to go out for lunch before we went shopping. We had checked the nutrition information for the restaurant we were going to ahead of time and stuck to our plan. The great thing was, when the server brought our food out they stated, "this looks like the healthiest lunch I have seen all day." That made us feel really good and we told them we have been working on losing weight and part of the lunch was our recent success.

Yesterday my wife was going shopping with our daughter and she packed food ahead of time so she would be able to keep control of what she ate. Report
I think that your idea of always having healthy snacks with is a great idea. I've had it so many times where I am out, hit by hunger like a truck and then have to try to figure out what to eat -and often it is not healthy :-( But now I know!
Yes, I pack a lunch if I have to go into the city for an appointment. This way, it saves me money and I make what fits into my day for caloric intake. Subway is about the only healthy eating out option in my small city. I also bring water from my tap at home (it is far less expensive than bottled water). I don't usually snack, but healthy trail mix made with yogurt chips is a good choice. Great article! Report
I can't get this in Canada, but since my son lives in the US, I've asked for this from him for Christmas... Can't wait to try it !!! Perfect for me!!! Report
I do frequently pack my work lunch cooler with light string cheese, a measured portion of almonds, fruit, water, a granolar or fiber bar. It's not as hard to do as one might think. This has allowed me to shop longer instead of collapsing from sugar shock. Great idea! Report
I'm a big fan of Wizard of Oz, and love the mental picture you present here. Thanks for all the great tips! Report
smart advice! Report
Fast food alley is to tempting, but you got to find the healthy on the menus! Report
Very nice. Report
Since I have five children, I am use to packing food to take when we went anywhere. Now that they are grown, I still will go to a grocery store and buy something, if not I will eat at Subway, like I did today when we were out getting new textbooks for my DD who is in college and she sold back her old ones as it was the end of the semester. Report
having a plan is a great idea! Report
Great article! Last night I got off work at 2AM and was starving......all I wanted was fast food but I pulled my trusty bag of nuts and dried cranberries out of my purse and made it home without hitting the drive through! I keep an apple and nuts in my purse most of the time........ Report
Nice job! Great reminders -- love the image of the restaurants throwing food at you - funny and creative! Report
great article Report
You and I have converged on some similar solutions.

Here's my column about finding food while on the road looking for white water to kayak:

My #1 favorite source for road food is the grocery store. Report
Good article! Report
It's such a good idea to have a plan before leaving the house. If I already have breakfast and lunch with me, making good choices is a no-brainer. It's when I have to make spur of the moment decisions -- "I'm hungry, what's around here?" -- that I run into trouble. Report
Today is the 1st day of my life style change. i'm never on the computer so this is a pretty good start. Hopefully i'll be seeing y'all later today as i keep track. we'll gotta get the kids up .

good morning new friends! teri jo Report
All great suggestions!! I do most of those already! :-)

We went to get our Christmas tree last night & my husband HAD to have McDonalds. He & my sons had Big Macs, of course. I chose my standard "in the mood for a burger" option, which is a Cheeseburger, fruit n' yogurt parfait & a glass of water. You get to enjoy a burger (can you really enjoy McDonalds though?), without the guilt of eating one of the oversized sandwiches.
A good stuff. Report