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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Even Seemingly Healthy Meals Can Sabotage Your Good Efforts

Veggie burger and sweet potato fries from Joe's Farm Grill 
If you dine out and opt for whole grain bread over white bread or swap white potato french fries for sweet potato fries, you're off to a great start. Yes, a start. These seemingly healthy choices seem like a sure way to help you reach your fitness goals, but sometimes they can set you back.

This week my sister was in town for a visit. Of course I had to show her all around the Phoenix area. I had been wanting to go to Joe's Farm Grill forever, but my schedule never seemed to allow it. Now that I had time carved out, my sister's visit was a perfect opportunity to check the place out -- and let lil' sis experience a true one of a kind eatery.

The restaurant was featured on The Food Network's Diners Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. I had heard great reviews and the fact that there's always a line out the door, says something. The burger joint is known for its fresh approach on "common food done uncommonly well," as stated on its website. There is a farm directly behind the restaurant and all of the menu items' produce ingredients come from that farm. Nice. A true farm to fork restaurant.

I had heard that they recently added a veggie burger to their menu and I was eager to try it -- and I did. The "burger" consisted of a blend of grains, black beans and veggies. It came on a multi-grain bun and I ordered sweet potato fries as my side.

The meal was really good, but I was a little disappointed.

Though the meal was a healthier option, there were quite a few problems with this veggie burger and fries.
  1. The portions were too large. 
  2. The bun was gigantic, adding unnecessary calories.
  3. All components of the meal were loaded with starchy carbs. (Read a previous blog I wrote on starchy carbs here.)
  4. The fries, though sweet potato, were fried.
  5. I'm not sure about the ratio of grains to veggies on the veggie patty. It tasted like it had more grains than veggies. 
  6. I'd estimate that this meal had 1000 calories or more. Yikes! 
I'm sure this may leave you scratching your head and perhaps thinking, "then what is there to eat?"

I hear you.

The negative breakdown of this seemingly healthy meal may leave you feeling a little discouraged. Don't worry, there is a way to deal with this. 

For starters, if you view any meal that you don't cook yourself, as a treat, then you're doing yourself a huge favor. When we don't have control over the ingredients in our meals, we have to assume that something in there is not going to help us with our fitness goals. I strongly discourage dining out. But if you do find yourself at a restaurant, here a few tips to take that seemingly healthy meal, and make it better.
  1. Only eat half. Take the other half home, no matter what.
  2. If the bun on your sandwich is really thick, tear out the inner parts, making it smaller and eliminate 100 calories or more.
  3. If you're eating sweet potato fries, remember they're fried and don't eat all of them. And don't use any ketchup or dipping sauce because that adds unnecessary calories.
  4. Don't feel like you have to finish it. Eat until full, then stop. 
Dining out is a treat. I remember training for figure shows and hating having to eat out for social events. One time, I asked a server to cook my veggies "clean" meaning using no oils, butters or anything and he looked at me like I had two heads. Restaurants are in it to make things really tasty, to keep you coming back -- even the healthy options have their negative points and can sabotage your efforts. Don't let them. Know what you're eating and take the appropriate measures to stay on track. 

1 comment:

Bella Vista Community said...

I had the veggie burger at joes tonight with a side of fresh fruit. I only ate the bottom of the bun and had prob 1tbls of BBQ sauce. Any guess on calories. I calorie track and didn't realize they don't post nutrition facts. Thank you!!!