Is it worse for my body to go hungry or to consume foods that are high in fat, carb, sugar, calories and low in nutrients? During times of extreme hunger pangs my better judgement and standards drop faster than a French fry in the back seat of a mini-van. So I know what it’s like to be tempted by the delightful smell of fried food and I know I’m not alone. So, what can you and I do when we have the need to feed and the oceans of fast-food are ripe for the picking?
We have all been there. You are on a long road trip and you’re three exits away from eating your own arm. Maybe you have to stay late at work and the exceptionally healthy chicken cobb salad you ate for lunch just isn’t going hold you over for the drive home. Or better yet, coming home from the gym and your body is begging for some replenishment. The drive-thru beckons your dollar bills like a Siren!
Ideally, you should plan ahead. Know when your willpower is weakest and never get caught off guard when hunger strikes. You could leave a box of granola bars in your car, carry an extra piece of fruit in your lunch, eat enough food at each meal or eat more frequently. If you are skipping breakfast you are setting yourself up for failure. Likewise, if you are eating like a bird for lunch you are probably going to be hungry well before dinner. As a rule of thumb you can eat a whole heck of a lot more healthy food for the same calories as very little of something unhealthy. Translation: more food volume = less hunger. Less hunger =
better/easier dietary decisions.
Hunger vs health. I do not advocate eating any highly processed food such as what you get from fast-food restaurants but there are equally bad non-fast food options out there. So, what are the options, how do we satisfy hunger without sacrificing health and what info do we need in order to make an educated decision? Let’s take a look at what some of our trainers would do if faced with this “do-or-die” situation.
Cory Hill: Subway - If I was in a pinch and had to stop at Subway I'd order off their fresh fit menu. The 6" Veggie delight is a low calorie/sodium option packed with nutrients. Stick with wheat or honey oat bread for the fiber. Grab apple slices over chips. Drink water instead of a sugary beverage.
Kevin Lim: McDonalds - If eating at McDonald's or on the go is one of your only options during your hectic work day, don't fret, you can still eat well while utilizing fast food as a tool towards your fitness and health goals. For great low-fat and overall low-calorie meal at McDonald's I would order: 2 grilled chicken breasts only (from the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich, no bread) and the Creamy Fruit 'N Yogurt Parfait. This meal ends up at 390 calories with a whopping 52 grams of protein and some micronutrients from the fruit & granola! This is a great option especially for individuals with the goal of losing weight. Combine eating habits like this with consistent strength/cardiovascular training, and you'll be at your goal in no time.
Miles Sabin: 7-11 - If I had to eat food from 711 I’d grab a banana, yogurt, and trail mix.