Let's face it, there are times when our day doesn't always pan out how we imagined and we need to pick up a quick bite to eat and as much as we'd LOVE you to eat Muscle Food products all the time, we know that's near impossible to do.
Well how can you eat out and still eat healthy…That's why we've consulted expert nutritionist Dan Rayner to help solve your problems for you.
Don't stop eating out, just make smarter choices…
This week Dan gives us the low down and what he'd order if he were shopping
The most popular place on the planet to buy a sandwich? Perhaps! However, what choices would I make as wiser choices? We all know there are healthier alternatives out there, and admittedly, there will be processed meats and cheeses, high sugar sauces and sodium filled subs. On the other hand, there are always ‘clever options’ you can take rather than just going all out with a full meal deal and ordering a foot-long sub, a doughnut, a bag of crisps and a high sugar soft drink!
First things first, the type of bread! The 9-grain wheat 6 inch is my choice to start of my subway journey! The lowest in terms of calories out of all the 6 inch breads, other than the Italian. However, with the difference being 7 calories and with the wheat bread holding more nutritional value compared to the white bread, I'll stick with my first choice. The 9-grain wheat 6 inch bread also being the lowest choice in terms of sugar as well as being one of the highest fibre breads on the menu. If you wanted to keep your carbohydrates more in check then you could opt for a mini wheat bread! Coming in at 68 less calories and 13 grams less of carbs.
Now, what's going to make this a great sub inside? Bear in mind I want to keep this part of the article tasty as well as 'a better choice' so I will be choosing a sauce and toppings! I would firstly choose a protein source to keep it the highest I can in protein and to keep calorie control. Therefore, I would pick either the chicken breast or the steak. You might be pleasantly surprised that the steak is quite a 'lean' choice! Coming in at under 100 calories, less than 2 grams of fat and still packing over 16 grams protein, leading it to being a decent option. Chicken being the lowest and the leanest with a good protein ratio. I could also have gone with turkey breast to keep it lean, but it would only averagely give me just over 11 grams of protein. A protein filling to perhaps avoid would be the spicy Italian, which comes in at over 10 grams of saturated fat and over 2 grams of salt.
Next, The cheese! Ask for only 1 Slice and save yourself some fats. To be fair, all the sliced cheese options rank close in terms of calories but avoid the processed choice for the healthier option. This is my way of keeping taste, health and portion control in check. You could avoid cheese full stop and save on the saturated fats. However, with the saturated fats coming in at just above 2 grams, it won’t harm you if you consume it now and then! I’ve added a slice in to make this sub a little more enjoyable and not just a piece of bread with some sliced chicken inside.
Now it's time to get some volume added to my meal! The salad bar is always a great way to add a lot of food volume for very little calories, but be careful, some options in the salad bar can still be loaded with extra calories, saturated fats and sugars. I would add lettuce, cucumber, onions and peppers. like I say, it won't add a lot of calories but it will fill your sub up and more importantly fill you up!
Time for a sauce topping! If I was to have the steak as my protein option I would go with the mustard dressing. With my chicken, either the lite mayo or ranch sauce. These three sauces will be the lowest in terms of sugar intake. The lowest ranked sauce in terms of calories would be the sweet onion sauce, however, that would also pack in over 7 grams of sugar. At times, the lowest calorie option isn't always the healthiest. Have some more portion control in this part of the sub - I would ask for only 2 lines of sauce not their typical 4 lines and save myself half the unnecessary calories.
All the above with my changes (half the portion sizes on some things) you're looking at under 450 calories and at least 25 grams of protein. For something that still tastes great and isn't just a boring sandwich, that’s not bad!
My choice of drink would be a calorie free fizzy drink to save on silly amounts of unnecessary sugar, or pick the healthiest option possible and go with a bottle of mineral water. Yes, the calorie free fizzy drinks will have artificial sweeteners present, but having them now and then in a balanced diet, won’t harm you. Here's a few other choices that I could make.
A Calorie Saver…
This next combination would equal and be the lowest in terms of calories with a decent protein hit! A mini wheat bread, chicken breast, no sauce or cheese, then add fillings of lettuce, onions, peppers and cucumber. Coming in at under 300 calories and 20 grams of protein. Not bad seeing as you're still able to eat out and keep good portion control.
Straight off the menu…
Now my choice from something straight off the typical menu you see in stores! A 6-inch sub, with 9 grain wheat bread and a turkey breast filling. Not the lowest in terms of calories (277) however it does pack you with at least 20 grams of protein. If you choose the lowest in terms of calories, then your protein content would be very low. I'd personally rather pick a protein filled meal. Combine the protein with the fibre from the bread and it will help keep you feeling fuller for longer and will also contribute to you hitting your protein requirements for the day.
I could then make my sub even lower in calories with hearty Italian white bread, but seeing as the difference is just 10 calories and the more nutritional values that the 9-grain wheat bread will hold, I will stick with my first option. If my protein intake was low for the day or I just wanted an extra boost of protein, I would ask to double up on turkey! This would also double the salt content, so perhaps be a little wary of salt later in the day to balance it out.
The obvious choices…
The salad boxes. If a traditional subway is not your thing then there’s always the choice of a salad! You can choose from chicken, tuna, ham, Italian BMT and turkey. I would personally choose the chicken for the healthiest option. It’s not the lowest in terms of calories, however, the fat and salt content show some positive numbers, as well as the bonus of having over 18 grams of protein.
On a final note, of course there are healthier options out there. But, sometimes it’s nice to eat out, socialise with friends and live your life a little, rather than continuously worrying about carrying food with you or panicking about where to eat. Just be a little more ‘wiser’ in your food choices and you can live a healthy balanced lifestyle!
About Dan Rayner
Dan Rayner is the Pure Elite Beach Body Pro World Champion, International Male Model Pro World Champion, part time model and fitness blogger, who is based in Herne Bay, Kent.
You can also connect with Dan via social media, by searching Dan Rayner Fitness on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.