So, the basic premise of my latest book, When to Eat What, is all about planning ahead so that you don’t find yourself stuck in difficult food situations. A fair amount of the book is spent giving ideas of how to plan ahead, nutritionally speaking. But, as we all know, life doesn’t always go as expected and we can still find ourselves unprepared now and again.
Well, that’s what happened to me today. My 3 1/2 year old son had a 9:45 am follow up Dr. appointment and then school at 12:30. And, we had lots of ideas for what we were going to do in those 2 plus hours between the two, including an early lunch around 11:30 at home like we usually do on a school day. Well, we walked into the Dr.’s office at 9:45 and walked out at 12:01! Forget all of those fun ideas, now we had less than 30 minutes to get home to get his backpack, eat lunch, and get to school. No grilled cheese, tomato soup, and cantaloupe for us, not today!
So, what does a self-respecting mom and dietitian do now? She takes advantage of the local McDonald’s drive thru is what she does. Now when I was growing up, McDonald’s was a once-in-a-while special treat, not the kind of place where the employees called you by name when you walked in. And, with my own family now, it’s still a once-in-while, there’s-no-other-option kind of place. Personally, I think fast food places, have their purposes and if used properly, i.e. once in a while, can fit fine in a well-balanced eating plan. I don’t believe they should be a daily, or even weekly habit, but occasionally there’s nothing wrong with a visit.
But, what you do at that visit is important to. Just because you’re doing fast food, doesn’t mean you have to go hog wild and jumbo-size the 3 layer bacon cheeseburger “value” meal. As long as you keep things simple, you can have a occasional fast food meal and your scale will be none the wiser. For example, basic, simple burgers are usually a safe bet, sharing fries is great, and they all sell lowfat milk or water. Most have simple salads too, and drizzled with just a bit of reduced fat dressing and you should be good to go.
So, the next time your best laid plans go awry, don’t assume you’re healthy eating needs to go out the window, just take a deep breath, and choose some simple foods from as many food groups as you can to get you through to your next meal.