I write this article as i just scarfed down 3 beef tacos with lettuce, tomato and probably a bit too much sour cream. Fitness is hard enough as is, but trying to tie in office life, daily meetings, parenting or other crazy obligations that control your schedule – it can be a lot of pressure and the handy dandy meal prep isn’t always right there when you need it. I forget my lunches often or i forget to prep for the next day, because life happens – and thats fine.
I’m sure there is some keto/vegan/part-time ninja warrior with ample time in the day to work out reading this and doing the typical “YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE TIME” gimmick, and as true as that might be, sometimes you gotta think on your feet. Being a follower of the “it it fits in your macros” belief, you honestly can get away with a great deal of seemingly “bad” eating by portioning out what you’re putting in your diet.
Sometimes you gotta hunker down and stop by a fast food place and grab a much needed bite because not eating is worse than eating poorly. Lets get down to the Player Way approved noms for your fast food consumption.
1: Tacos (hard or soft shell)
The horror stories that you’ve heard about Taco Bell food being low grade isn’t necessarily accurate. As it is fast food, its quality isn’t top grade, but when it comes to the bare essentials of protein, veggies and necessary fats, its a good meal for on the go. At 170 calories each, i’d grab two (or three if working out) and follow up the meal with a healthy snack. Save the sour cream if you’re planning on doing any cardio after eating – it may not mix well with running.
Places to try: Del Taco, food trucks, taquerias
2: Jr. Burgers or Value Size Fast food Burgers
Portion control is very important when it comes to intake and personal fitness. Too much of anything can be potentially bad, but luckily you can get small hamburgers at almost any chain for little to nothing. Checkers and Burger King have great burgers, ask for extra veggies and skip the cheese – cheese alone adds 40+ calories per burger. Without the cheese you’re looking at 180 calories per burger which isn’t too bad at all. Grub on.
Places to try: Wendy’s, Burger King, Checkers, Cookout and your atypical fast food burger chains
3: Chik-Fil-A’s Grilled Cool Wrap
Not like Chik Fil-A can do much wrong in the first place, but when I think of a healthy-moderate medium in fast food, Chik Fil-A is the default option as their food doesn’t give you much of a heavy feeling after consumption. Their grilled chicken cool wraps are absolutely delicious and filling – and at 350 calories you’ll be well within your macros whilst maintaining a full belly. It comes with dressing, so be moderate on its use. Also be sure to get the fruit cup instead of fries; fries add about 200-250 calories onto your meal alone.
Similar places to try: Panera, Jason’s Deli and other slightly bougie fast food chains that “kind of care” about basic caloric intake
4: Broccoli and Beef (Chinese Food and Hibachi)
Typically, most Chinese food can give you a bloated, heavy feeling after eating it, on top of being full of trans fats and heavy on the carbs. Most broccoli and beef combos at Chinese restaurants are a pretty solid choice as far as fast food goes. You can usually catch a solid lunch break meal combo, but i’d pass on the egg roll – substitute for a soup if possible. Like most Chinese food meals, they heavy on you may want to eat about half of it, and save the rest for later. Half a portion is around 400 calories, but rich in protein. Add rice or noodles in moderation if you want to add a little bulk to your meal.
Places to try: Panda Express, Sakura, the Chinese restaurant place that has expensive dinner but 6 dollar lunch specials. They’re everywhere: Choose one.
5: Pho – (the fast food that’s not really fast food, but whatever)
Pho isn’t traditionally labeled a “Fast” food, but it is considered a casual lunch cuisine for office culture. The process of making both can take quite a while, as they require you to take a bit of time to prep all the necessities. If you’re one of the lucky few that live or work close to a Pho restaraunt (like myself), call in an order in advance. Make sure you make full use of all the spices, cilantro, limes and blend it into the perfect delicacy
Pho soup made with chicken has 475 calories per 1 1/2-cup serving. Pho made with beef has 367 calories per serving. Beef is usually the better blend, anyhow.
Places to try: Your local Vietnamese restaurant. If you know of a drive thru Pho spot, please post it in the comments. I feel that i need to experience this phenomenon at least once in my life.
With these options you’ll be ready for a workout after your shift, on lunch break, or whenever you can squeeze in the time and can feel secured that you fed your body the right balance of things.
- Starbucks Protein Bistro Box (Small, but filling)
- Chipotle (literally anything, in moderation)
- Chili from Wendys (Great with a baked potato)
- Captain D’s Grilled Fish combos (excluding fries and battered items)
Also, screw salads (except those from Zaxbys).