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Eating Out and Not Breaking the (Caloric) Bank

October 21, 2010

The Workout

I’ve been feeling a little blah lately, and the only thing getting me off my bed and over to the gym was the fact that I’d get charged if I didn’t show up for my session with Trainer Erika.

I’ve always been a firm believer that exercise is the best medicine for a crummy mood, but sometimes you just can’t get out of the bubble that is your crappy day to remember that. Luckily, I was financially obligated to head to the gym. Man, was I ever glad I did. My mood did almost a 180, and it carried over into today. I’m doing a little better, and still have a ways to go, but that workout helped a bunch.

Nothing reminds you how great your life is when you see how far you can now run, compared to how you used to struggle through a 1/4 mile.

The Eats

It’s been a while since I had oats ‘n ice cream for breakfast, so I brought it back!

As usual, I pureed half a frozen banana with some cinnamon and a capful of vanilla. In the oats is the same amount of cinnamon and vanilla, plus 1/4 c cottage cheese stirred in before the last minute of microwaving. Topping the oats n’ ice cream are fresh raspberries and a teaspoon each of raw almond butter and apricot preserves.

We order lunch at the office every day, but– as you can tell from my pictures– I almost always bring my lunch instead. It’s just easier to bring my own lunch, since most places only leave a cup of soup or a couple of sandwiches that are healthy. And I never know if the place we’re ordering from even has a healthy option that doesn’t come in the form of a side salad.

Today’s pick was Panera. Easy, right? Nope.

I used to be a huge fan of their broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl, and do you know how many calories it contains? NINE HUNDRED. NINE-ZERO-ZERO. For soup and bread.

If you take a look at their Nutrition Calculator online, you’ll find that the vast majority of the menu isn’t healthy at all. The average sandwich is between 600 and 800 calories, and way too much of that is from refined carbs.

Today, I tried to order a cup of chicken soup and half a Cuban Chicken sandwich. It comes with foccacia bread, which packs a punch of 260 calories alone for HALF a sandwich. I tried to switch it out for white whole grain, which only carries 90 calories for a half-sandwich, and THEY WOULDN’T LET ME. Probably because they’re premade and prepackaged. Not cool, Panera. Not cool at all.

So instead I opted for half a smoked turkey sandwich, minus the mayo, with my chicken soup, and I got a fruit cup for dessert. Overall, not bad. But until Panera gets with the program and become a little more flexible with their substitutions, it’s nothing more than a fallback restaurant for me.

Much better, calorically-speaking. The sodium content, however, has me chugging water all day. CRAZY.

So here is my lunch: tasty, good gloomy weather food, but a bit mundane. I’m disappointed in you, Panera. Come up with more than one healthy sandwich option.

I ordered the sandwich without mayo, so the calorie count was actually 310. And because I’m not a huge melon/cantaloupe fan, I only ate half the fruit cup. So the total calorie count was about 340. Not bad for that spread.

The spicy brown mustard made the sandwich. I used to HATE mustard, but it’s really grown on me. So have red onions… also something I used to not like.

For dinner, I went Indian and vegan and made tempeh curry stir-fry. It was the easiest thing ever to make! Just like regular stir-fry, but wiht curry sauce instead of teriyaki sauce.

There isn’t much of a recipe. It’s basically: throw in a ton of vegetables into a skillet with a little oil on the bottom (I used a teaspoon of Garlic Gold), add in 1/3 a block of crumbled tempeh, lots of seasoning (Emeril’s Asian seasoning or Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning works), and then some curry sauce. That was really it.

If you need help picking veggies, I used spinach, pearl onions, fresh heirloom tomatoes, and a frozen mix of green beans, wax beans, and baby carrots (defrosted before thrown into the skillet). See? Just throw in whatever. It’s a stir-fry– it’s supposed to be eclectic.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2010 3:00 pm

    I used to work at Panera while I was in school and one day I decided to flip through the nutrition book during a slow time. Yeah.. I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s really insane how not so good for ya most of the things there are. I remember how I used to eat and not care and now that I pay attention to things like nutrition facts I can’t believe what I was eating!

    It looks like you found some good options there though!

    • October 21, 2010 5:20 pm

      I know… it was a sad day when I found out my old favorite (broccoli cheddar in a bread bowl) was a dealbreaker.
      But even though I was a little disappointed that I was getting chicken soup and a turkey sandwich, it was pretty good!

  2. Simon Canasi permalink
    October 21, 2010 5:06 pm

    I hope you took those nasty onions out

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