The Quick Lunch – Skinny Style

April 27, 2011

I am beginning to hate the term “low carb”. With the growing popularity of Adkins and the weight loss clinics popping up everywhere, it seems that there are some common misconceptions linked to a low-carb lifestyle. It’s amusing to me the people who criticize one for choosing this type of diet while they scarf down Little Debbies and frozen pizzas. For my husband and me, eating this way has provided us the opportunity to eat more fresh foods and vegetables that we have probably ever consumed, diet or not. Most people consider it a diet craze, I consider it a way of life. If you read the “about” section of this blog, you learned about the nutrition plan/advice by which I live. I have no desire to return to my mindless way of eating which left me FAT and miserable. I realized that the satisfaction I gained after eating an unhealthy meal cannot compare to the satisfaction I feel by living a healthy lifestyle. Again, I reiterate that I am NOT trying to convince you to eat the way that I do. If you don’t feel like this is the healthiest lifestyle, then continue to search for what is. But if you’d like to to give this thing a try or just learn more, keep reading.

A common complaint I hear from people in regards to eating healthy is that it is “not convenient”. And if I’ve learned anything in my 2 years of eating this way, it’s how to make it convenient. I can say with complete honesty that very few restaurants can I visit and find NOTHING healthy to eat. So, I wanted to share some good healthy AND convenient lunch ideas with you!

If I had to guess, you probably eat at some of these places regularly anyway. Don’t be deceived by the idea that eating healthy means giving up on all of your favorite local eating establishments or that fast food restaurants are the devil. The fact of the matter is that we live in America, life is hectic, and sometimes a fast food restaurant might be your only option. So here is a list of some of my favorite and “go-to” lunch spots when time is of the essence.

Yes, Zaxby’s. I’m sure you’re thinking that the sentences to follow will all be about salads with grilled chicken. While I’m sure those are good options and are certainly healthy, think on a broader and more delicious scale. My recent love for chicken wings had me searching high and low for a quick fix one weekday while I was at work. It was then that I discovered that Zaxby’s chicken wings are not breaded! Who knew? I have now added this to my list of quick and yummy lunch options. I have found that the mild sauce is not enough flavor for me but the original (hot) is perfect. If you like spicy, even just a little bit, you better go for the hot sauce. The 10 piece with celery and a side of ranch only has 5 carbs total and 4 grams of sugar. And you’ll be full, if you can finish it, until dinner!

Chick-fil-A is barely even fast food. The quality is fantastic and the service is always spot on. I love that you can visit their website and find a health guide for any dietary restrictions or lifestyle. ( I find it easy and filling to order a grilled chicken breast and a side salad with ranch, you are only consuming 10 total carbs!

If you, like me, are not too proud.. you love The Waffle House. And chances are, there is one nearby. If I go for lunch, since there is not a drive through, I call ahead. Most of the time they are busy and, since I only have 1 hour, this ensures I’ll have time to eat. I’m sure they have grilled chicken that you could eat but this time we are branching out with the cheesesteak omelette. If this is anything other than good, it’s filling! It’s made with 3 eggs, steak and cheese. I always add onions, jalapeno peppers and mushrooms for extra flavor. Plus none of those things are high in carb count. Order this for lunch and you’re only consuming 5 carbs and 1 gram of sugar.

I get it, drive through meals aren’t your “best” option (and we’ll address that later) but this post is for people on-the-go and in-a-hurry. Sadly, I have this memorized. Wendy’s combo option #9 is a grilled chicken sandwich with a side and drink. Simply ditch the bun on the sandwich, get a side salad instead of fries and you have yourself a low carb meal! Obviously, don’t add the croutons to your side salad. I know that Wendy’s does offer a variety of salads on their menu but the “toppings” which might be look to be healthy, can raise your carbohydrate and sugar intake greatly.

I know, seafood from a drive thru doesn’t sound very appetizing, right? But sometimes you’re in a pinch and you need food that won’t spike up your blood sugar only to send you crashing down 2 hours later. Captain D’s offers baked seafood options. I have ordered the baked shrimp skewer combo before, ditched the rice, and got a small salad for my side. Again, this is a very good low carb option as long as you also toss the roll.

Aside from those quick options, I have a few local favorites (for those of us in Mobile).
The Winn Dixie at Government St and Catherine has totally remodeled their store and they now have a salad bar that is sold by the pound! It’s quick and simple. I like it because I can chose what I want on my salad and how much. They also have hot food bars that I’m sure you could make a good veggie plate or on occasion find some baked chicken or fish as well. All of these can be low carb meals, if you’re careful. And if you’re not near THIS Winn Dixie, check the grocery store nearest you and view their selection of hot meals or deli items.

On Upham St at Old Shell there is a small deli called “Delish’s Desserts” but this little eatery has far more to offer than desserts. They have a daily special (which is never low carb) and a cooler where they keep salads of all kind. I am a fan of their chicken salad because it’s made from scratch and has nothing “sweet” in it. You can buy a bowl of that or tuna salad and it will probably last you for 2 days. It’s huge! They also offer chef salads and fruit salads. Check them out!

At the Loop there is a fairly new place called “Regina’s Kitchen”. They have a shrimp salad that is very good! I’ll have to warn you that it does have a very strong onion flavor but if you like onions, you will love this. They are very quick so you can order at the counter and take it to go!

So now you have no excuse! I have given you plenty of low carb lunch options and even if you only get an hour for lunch, any of these places will be perfect. However, please know that the BEST choice for lunch is to bring it from home. It saves you money and you always know exactly what you’re eating. When you cook your own meals using organic veggies and grass fed meat and when you chose to eat out, that’s not always the case. Again, this post was only to give you some ideas when you’re starving and need a quick lunch to fit into your hectic schedule.

Keep following our blog as I plan to post more recipe ideas and tips for eating healthy. My goal is to make it easy to eat good when you’re out, and more importantly to cook at home. When you plan ahead your meals at lunch are controlled and healthy as well.

Thanks for reading!

Waffle House on Urbanspoon

Zaxby's on Urbanspoon

Captain D's Seafood Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Chick-fil-A on Urbanspoon

Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

Delish's Desserts on Urbanspoon

Regina's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Taste Buds

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