Essential Healthy Living

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Best healthy lunch choice or not?

Thieves and Honey Lemon Tea Gummies with Thieves and lemon essential oil

Today we ate lunch at Chick-fil-A, our go-to fast food joint. If you know anything about me and my family, we eat at Chick-fil-A quite a bit. The team members at Chick-fil-A have become like our family. I love Chick-fil-A, but let's just review what a healthy lunch would look like at Chick-fil-A. Let's not nick-pick this apart or read too much into it. Try your hardest to live by the 80/20 rule (80% healthy, 20% other), but sometimes, life finds you at a fast food restaurant. Just try to make the best choices where ever you are eating. Today, this photo was on our table, so I thought I'd pick it apart for you and make my observations.

At first glace, this indeed looks like a very healthy lunch. You have grilled chicken, some nice leafy greens and non-calorie drink. AND only 280 calories. This is a diet jackpot! Or is it? Let's break it apart. First let's start with the protein portion of the meal. Protein is essential for your body and a must-have at every meal. At Chick-fil-A you have the choice of two proteins: grilled chicken breast or fried chicken breast. Obviously grilled is a better choice over the fried chicken. But be aware of your ingredients.

Per the Chick-fil-A website, ingredients are: Grilled chicken (whole breast filet, seasoning [water, apple cider vinegar, soybean oil, yeast extract, salt, modified corn starch, palm oil, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, corn maltodextrin, sea salt, flavor, sugar, chicken stock, cane molasses, chicken fat, spice, natural flavor {including smoke}, dextrose, lemon peel, citric acid, red bell pepper, orange juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate, natural flavor, paprika, vinegar, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid, and spices]).

Do you see what I see? Lots of GMO items, soybean oil, corn maltodextrin, just to name a few. You can google any you don't recognize, but just be aware of all the additives and hidden ingredients in your innocent grilled chicken breast/nuggets. The fried version has very similar ingredients including some extras for the breading, including milk products, etc. Another hidden element here is the sodium. 8 grilled nuggets have 530mg of sodium. Per the FDA, the daily value for sodium is less than 2,400 milligrams (mg) per day. 8 fried nuggets contain 1060mg. Grilled chicken breast at home prepared with healthy ingredients would be best, but if you have to eat out, this would be a better choice over the fried.

Now let's examine the new Superfood Side. It is very pretty and taste yummy. Kale + walnuts + "flavorful dried sour cherries" = heaven, so let's move on.... right? Not so fast! Let's take a look at the ingredients on this one:

Broccolini®, kale, maple vinaigrette dressing (maple syrup, soybean oil, water, brown sugar, onion ([including dehydrated], distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce [water, soybeans, salt, alcohol], balsamic vinegar, salt, spice, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate added as preservatives, maltodextrin, dextrose, canola oil, yeast extract, natural flavor, calcium disodium EDTA to protect flavor), dried cherries (cherries, sugar, sunflower oil), roasted nut blend (glazed walnuts [walnuts, sugar, natural flavor, canola oil], roasted almonds, glazed pecans [pecans, sugar, natural flavor, canola oil]).

Again, do you see what I see? Soy sauce (gmo, gluten), soybean oil (no bueno!), Sodium benzoate (a preservative that promotes cancer and kills healthy cells), canola oil (gmo, first used as an insect repellent, one to avoid), just to name a few. Personally I would skip this side at all cost. Instead opt for the side salad, preferably with no cheese and no dressing or bring your own dressing with you. The dressings will have similar ingredients to those listed above. Pair that with a fruit cup or top the side salad with the fruit to add flavor.

Lastly we have the unassuming diet beverage. I will not go into my lengthy lecture on the dangers of diet drinks, I will just say this: STAY AWAY FROM THE DIET DRINK! I don't want to hear your excuses that you can't have sugar, therefore you are opting for the chemical drink. Don't go there and don't lie to yourself. Diet drinks do way more harm than most of the crap you can get into your body. Drink water with your meal instead. See, I just saved you $2! In reality, for optimal digestion, it is wise to NOT drink ANYTHING while you eat. You chew your food until liquid, then swallow. Drink a glass of water after you leave. If you can't bare to drink water, opt for a medium tea. If you HAVE to have some "sugar" in it, then order it 1/4 sweet and 3/4 unsweet. This will bring the calories down from 130 to 32.5 and the total sugars from 32 down to 8 grams. Not the best, but a BETTER choice. Tip for drinking unsweetened tea: Start off by ordering 3/4 sweet-1/4 unsweet. Once you get used to that, move the ratio to 2/3-1/3, then 1/2-1/2, etc. until you get down to the 1/4-3/4 or full unsweet tea. You will adjust to the taste, I promise! After that, if you try and order a full sweet tea, it will be so super sweet, you won't want to drink it.

On a side note: I totally was eating a spicy chicken sandwich, large fries and 1/4 sweet tea while taking this picture. It is not about being perfect 100% of the time. It is about making healthier choices whenever you can and knowing what you are putting into your body.

Bridget Davet

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