Two weeks ago, we covered the wonderful nutritional world of burgers, TexMex & sub variations, and how to eat healthy while dining out. We realized there are way more options than we previously anticipated and we would need to open up a part 2. This week, we’ll cover wings, Greek & Thai food.
Huh? What was that noise? Oh. Our stomachs. Right…it’s lunch time, yes?
Buffalo Wild Wing ® / Bars & Wings
Who doesn’t love a good rack of wings or ribs after a long week of work? Thing is, despite their relatively tiny size, wings carry loads of calories, sodium and possibly trans fats, especially if coated in a sugary sauce. We recently investigated Buffalo Wild Wing’s ® menu to look for a healthier, but still filling option and lo-and-behold, the “naked tenders” caught our eye. If you’re looking for a low cal but protein-filled option, opt in for the naked tenders combo and trade in the fries for a salad or even sweet potato fries if you have a crunch-craving. As for seasoning, your safest bet are the dry flavourings. But, if you must whet your whistle the hotter the sauce, the less likely it will have sneaky sugar that ups the caloric value. The same rules apply here as with every other option. If you’re going to have breading, go for the whole-wheat options. Skip the soda for water or tea. Choose healthier side options. Most restaurants have more than just salad. Ask if they have a daily soup special. As long as it is isn’t a loaded cheddar and bacon soup, you’ll probably do just fine!
Oh, the healthy Mediterranean options at your fingertips abound. If you love your fresh, crisp vegetables with well seasoned meat, Greek food is where it’s at. Interestingly, Feta cheese, the staple Greek dairy addition, is traditionally made of sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep & goats milk. It is still very high in calories for a cup, (about 400!) so take it easy on the cheese if you’re watching that aspect of your diet. In regards to protein, feta has 19g of protein per 100g serving which is quite decent, and will help you fell fuller longer. Enjoy classic gyro meat or dishes like spanakopita in reduced portions. When it comes to sauces, hummus is high on the “better keep the portion size low” side, but tzatziki can be enjoyed in slightly greater amounts! Stock up on healthy vegetables and you’ve got yourself a stomach-filling, healthy meal.
Thai is a delicious, but tricky one to tie down nutrition-wise, since there are many Thai fast food restaurants with different styles of cooking. Some have Korean influence. Some have more of a Vietnamese influence. Others are certainly “Westernized”. Either way, the real danger zone is the noodles. We are addicted to Thai food at GoDay.ca – our team lunches are 85% of the time Thai lunches. We have some serious pad thai lovers here, and it was shocking to see how high in calories a standard pad Thai dish (without any protein) is – over 1000 depending on the restaurant! WOW! Rice noodles are a bit deceptive, too – they have roughly the same caloric value as wheat pastas.
If you have an insatiable desire for Thai at lunch, keep the noodles low and the veggies and protein high. Remember too, if you’re getting a coated protein (a breaded chicken dish for example) that increases your portion quite a bit than having it “naked”. Soups are also a good option, but check the sodium content before you order. Nothing’s worse than feeling like you’re going to pop at your desk like a balloon right after lunch.
While this is no means an extensive or absolute list, we hope that the general nutritional rules of thumb (high protein, lots of veggies, low sugar, healthy fats) will stick with you as you make the journey out for lunch. Apply these rules wherever you go, no matter what the dish is you crave, and you can enjoy dining out without the guilt.