Making Healthier Choices when you don’t have time to cook

In my ideal world I have all day Sunday to cook and prepare meals for the week.   Every day I would have whole food lunches that I could just grab and go. For dinner there would be easy delicious, ready to go meals that would take minutes to prepare. Well, that RARELY happens.  Life just gets too busy or sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking and then having to do the dishes.  So what do you do?   Fast Food is so easy but SOOOOO unhealthy unless you learn to make healthier choices when you don’t have time to cook.

Below I have a list of a few of my favorites. If you need something fast just follow these 5 simple rules to make your favorite healthier choice.

  1. Look for 500 calories or less. Lots of fast food chains have the calorie count right on the menu.
  2. Try to get something with lots of veggies. No, the lettuce and tomato on your hamburger does not count!  Find a veggie loaded salad and go easy on the dressing.
  3. Don’t order ANYTHING fried. No side of fries please (that is my biggest weakness).   They are loaded with trans-fat and way too much sodium.
  4. Go for the “low carb” version when you can – cut out the bread, pasta, rice, tortillas, etc. and save a ton of calories and keep your blood sugar from spiking.
  5. No Sugary Drinks (sodas, lemonade, fruit juices). Order water or ice tea instead.

Here are some of my favorite fast food meals.

Chipotle Salad or Bowl


Chipotle is a fast-food Mexican restaurant that has become extremely popular. Many people consider it to be healthier than other chains because it uses high-quality ingredients and emphasizes animal welfare and sustainable farming practices.

Chipotle also makes it very easy to create low-carb meals.  A salad with meat or chicken, grilled vegetables and guacamole contains 14 grams of total carbs, 8 of which are fiber.  This meal also provides about 30 grams of high-quality protein.

And although vinaigrette is available, generous servings of guacamole and salsa make salad dressing unnecessary.

Subway Double Chicken Chopped Salad


“Eating fresh” is pretty easy at this chain, where you can get lean meats or just fresh veggies on whole-wheat bread with a variety of dressings.  In recent years, the chain has been offering chopped salads that can be customized with protein and vegetables of your choice.  One of my favorites is the “Double Chicken Chopped Salad with Avocado.”   It is so big I can sometimes save half for a snack later.

 In-N-Out Burger (or ANY burger joint) – Protein Style


I LOVE In-N-Out burgers and since switching to a low carb diet I can still get all the flavor without the blood sugar spike.   Just ask for any burger Protein Style.   Carl’s Junior, Burger King, 5 Guys, Smash Burger even McDonald’s will do this for you if you ask.

Wendy’s Mango Chicken Salad (or any of their <500 Calorie Salads)

wendys salad

This salad is so yummy I can even use my will power not to order their fries.  Not all of Wendy’s salads are on the healthier side. The Spicy Caesar Chicken Salad for example packs 790 calories and 51 grams of fat.  Watch the dressing.

Panera Bread – Breakfast and Lunch


Looking for a fast breakfast – try Panera Bread. The Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak is a nice healthy low carb option.   They also have some amazing salads.   Just replace the bread for an apple!

I  hope this helps you eat healthier when you don’t have time to cook.

Until Next Post

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