Below you will find the first 7 Fast Food Survival Guide blogs! Next week I will begin with the new episodes! Her you go! They are:
1. Taco Bell
6. Chipotle Mexican Grill
7. Muscle Maker Grill
Danny’s Fast Food Survival Guide – Volume 1, Issue 1
First, let me tell you how this idea took shape. I travel all over the world speaking, teaching at seminars and playing music. In doing so, there are times I just cannot help but have to eat at some kind of Fast Food restaurant. Jillian and Bob, on season 8, took us to a restaurant and taught us that there are things you can do to make healthier choices when eating out! I have also learned that there are certain items on the menu that are healthier than others! Notice I AM NOT saying Healthy, but Healthier!
Let’s face it; Fast Food is a part of America. And in the long run, starving for hours and hours on end is NOT an option for me while travelling. The other day, my wife called and asked me what I wanted from Taco Bell. I thought, “WHAT!?!” Then I told her I’d text it to her. I promptly went to their website and downloaded their nutritional information. I then saw SO MANY really BAD choices, but also a few I could live with! “THAT DOES IT,” I thought, “People need to know the better choices, because in reality they are going to eat out now and then!” So my Fast Food Survival Guide was born. I will let you in on what I would choose at a major Fast Food restaurant. These are “Danny’s Choices,” not “Healthy Choices,” but what I’ve found is that with my Biggest Loser experience, I have been very well educated on what I can and cannot have at these places! So here goes, Restaurant 1 is what started it all, TACO BELL:
I found the following choices to be okay at this restaurant. DANGER: If you eat several, though, you WILL GET FAT!
Fresco Crunchy Taco, 140 Calories
Fresco Chicken Soft Taco: 150 Calories
Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco, 150 Calories
Fresco Soft Taco, 170 Calories
Chicken Soft Taco, 170 Calories
Pintos & Cheese, 180 Calories
Black Beans & Rice, 200 Calories
Chips & Corn Salsa, 280 Calories
Black Beans, 80 Calories
Cilantro Rice, 120 Calories
Mexican Rice, 120 Calories
Danny’s Choice: Fresco Chicken Soft Taco. It has 150 Calories, only 35 from fat, and 11 Grams of Protein to 18 Grams of Carbs. Not a bad balance! Sodium is a little high, though.
Runner Up: Fresco Crunchy Taco. It has 140 Calories, but half are fat which I hate, so watch out! Lower sodium than the Fresco Chicken Soft Taco, though!
Honorable Mention: Chicken Soft Taco. It has 170 Calories, only 50 of which are fat, and 12 Grams of Protein to 18 grams of Carbs. Sodium is higher than I like, but compared to the other choices, this one is pretty good.
Best Side: Black Beans. Only 80 Calories, 10 of Fat, and 200 mg of Sodium. Not horrible!
Danny’s Preferred Meal: 1 Fresco Chicken Soft Taco, 1 Fresco Crunchy Taco, and 1 Black Beans. 460 Calories and it is pretty filling!
THIS IS NOT WHAT I WOULD LOVE TO EAT, but if I have to eat at Taco Bell, this might be an example of what I would order!
Tune in next week for Issue No. 2: McDonald’s!
Is there anything to eat at McDonald’s?
Danny’s Fast Food Survival Guide – Volume 1, Issue 2
Last week we took a look at Taco Bell. Although the burritos were out of my calorie range, I found that there were some lower calorie options. Remember that this is not intended to push fast food to the public, but it is meant to offer my preferences for the healthier options on the menu. My opinion is that of someone who has lost over 200 pounds, and kept it off for more than 3 years – not that of a nutritionist or trainer. And I am a balanced individual. Yes, I have to eat fast food every now and then!
Today, I present the question is there anything to eat at McDonald’s that I can live with? Let’s take a look. Here are some choices I found on the menu listed from lowest to greatest calorie content:
Kid’s Fries, 100 calories, 70mg Sodium, 13g Carbs, 1g Protein
Premium Caesar Salad w/ Grilled Chicken, 190 calories, 580mg Sodium, 10g carbs, 27g protein
Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (grilled), 250 calories, 670mg Sodium, 27g carbs, 16g protein
Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (grilled), 250 calories, 650mg Sodium, 27g carbs, 16g protein
Fruit & Maple Oatmeal w/out Brown Sugar, 260 calories, 115mg sodium, 48g carbs, 5g protein
Ranch Snack Wrap (grilled), 270 calories, 700mg sodium, 25 carbs, 16 protein
Fruit & Maple Oatmeal, 290 calories, 160mg sodium, 57 carbs, 5 protein
Premium SW Chicken Salad w/ Chicken, 290 calories, 650mg sodium, 28g carbs, 27g protein
Egg McMuffin, 300 calories, 820mg sodium, 30g carbs, 18g protein
Danny’s Choice: Premium Caesar Salad w/ grilled chicken
Second Choice: Premium Southwest Chicken Salad w/ chicken
Honorable Mention: At first I had a regular hamburger with kid’s fries, BUT THE HAMBURGER CONTAINS TRANS-FATS! I refuse to eat ANYTHING with Trans-Fats. I am in awe that restaurants still serve foods with Trans-Fats when it is completely avoidable!
Danny’s Choice: Egg McMuffin, HOLD THE CHEESE! (I do not like to put cheese on sandwiches, because you hardly taste it and if I am going to eat cheese, I WANT TO TASTE IT! It saves 50 calories! This changes the numbers to look like this: 250 calories, 29g carbs, 15g protein.
Second Choice: Fruit & Maple Oatmeal w/out Brown Sugar (carb loader! Better add some protein!)
Danny’s Choice: Kid’s Fries (I’m sorry. McDonald’s fries are still the best!)
Next week I will take a look at Chick-fil-A’s menu, and I’ll even tell you what I sometimes ate from there over the last 3 months of The Biggest Loser – and STILL managed to lose 55.58% of my body weight and become the Biggest Loser in the history of the show!
Danny’s Fast Food Survival Guide – Volume 1, Issue 3
So what if I do “Eat More Chikin?”
McDonald’s was up last week. I was surprised to see there were actually some things that you could eat that would allow you to “weather the storm” of a stop through the drive-thru! Again, I want to stress that I am not advocating any restaurant as a health food stop; it’s just that in America today, we sometimes find ourselves eating there on the go, with friends, or just before that important meeting! If this is going to happen from time to time, why not know what the healthiest options are? So today we look in my 3rd installment at a restaurant that I actually ate at from time to time during my season of The Biggest Loser, season 8! This proves that you can eat some things in moderation at a drive-thru and still lose 239 pounds in 6 ½ months! This week it is Chick-fil-A.
Here are some of the healthier options:
Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich, 300 calories, 3.5g fat, 38g carbs, 29g protein, 1120mg sodium
Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich NO BUN, 110 calories, 1.5g fat, 3g carbs, 21g protein, 670mg sodium
Chick-n-minis – 3 count, 280 calories, 10g fat, 31g carbs, 16g protein, 640mg sodium
Chargrilled Chicken & Fruit Salad, 230 calories, 6g fat, 23g carbs, 22g protein, 650mg sodium
Chargrilled Chicken Garden Salad, 180 calories, 6g fat, 11g carbs, 22g protein, 650mg sodium
Fruit Cup: Large, 100 calories, 0g fat, 27g carbs, 1g protein, 0mg sodium
Side Salad, 70 calories, 4.5g fat, 5g carbs, 5g protein, 110mg sodium
Light Italian Dressing, 15 calories, 5g fat, 2g carbs, 0g protein, 580mg sodium
Fat Free honey Mustard Dressing, 60 calories, 0g fat, 114g carbs, 0g protein, 210mg sodium
Reduced Fat Berry Balsamic, 70 calories, 2g fat, 12g carbs, 0g protein, 150mg sodium
First of all, let me say I applaud some other fast food restaurants that have taken steps to reduce the sodium in their food, and I hope others follow. There is a lot of sodium in Chic-fil-A’s food. If you are working out and sweating a lot, sodium is of less concern than if you are sedentary. If you are sedentary, it can lead to hypertension/high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney failure. So I recommend you to steer towards lower sodium foods! During the show, I would often, after a 2-3 hour workout, stop by Chick-fil-A and get a Chargrilled Chicken sandwich with no bun. It gave me 110 calories of mostly protein, which aided in helping me retain my muscle mass during my massive weight loss on the show. The sodium was 670mg, but after I had sweated for 2-3 hours, I actually needed to replenish sodium into my body. So SWEAT MORE if you eat higher sodium foods!
Danny’s Choice: Chargrilled Chicken Garden Salad (I often choose to bring my own dressing, but if I don’t, I opt for the Reduced Fat Berry Balsamic for lower sodium content)
Second Choice: Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich NO BUN (I usually opt to take off at least the top bun, which saves on sodium, calories and carbs!)
Third Choice: Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich (higher sodium, but remember, eating out is NOT what I do every day, nor do I recommend it. This is a survival guide to help you make the best choices possible in the situation!)
Honorable Mention: Chick-n-Minis 3-count
Best Side: Fruit Cup – Large
Second Side: Side Salad w/ Reduced Fat Berry Balsamic
Danny’s Meal Choice: Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich, NO TOP BUN, Mustard, Fruit Cup-Large, Unsweetened Iced-Tea.
Next, I move on to Arby’s! Is there ANYTHING at all to eat at Arby’s?
Danny’s Fast Food Survival Guide – Volume 1, Issue 4
Well, it’s off to Arby’s today! I actually stopped along a bike ride and had a regular roast beef sandwich and fed the top bun to the birds to save calories. Then, while looking up the detailed information on the internet, I vowed never to eat another fast food item without having researched it first for my Fast Food Survival Guide. I saw that it contained a small amount of Trans Fats! TRANS FATS??? That’s what started this journey I am calling “Danny’s Fast Food Survival Guide.” Needless to say, I didn’t include ANYTHING with Trans Fats or immense amounts of sodium on this list! Here are some of the healthiest options:
Apple Slices – 35 cals, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 0mg Sodium, 9g carbs, 0g Protein
Chopped Side Salad, 80 cals, 5g fat, 3g sat fat, 105mg Sodium, 5g carbs, 5g Protein
Jr. Roast Beef, 210 cals, 6g fat, 2g sat fat, 520mg Sodium, 25g carbs, 12g Protein
Jr. Turkey & Cheese Sandwich, 210 cals, 5g fat, 2g sat fat, 730mg Sodium, 24g carbs, 1g Protein
Jr. Roast Beef Wheat, 210 cals, 6g fat, 2g sat fat, 520mg Sodium, 25g carbs, 12g Protein
Chopped Farmhouse Salad-Roast Turkey, 240 cals, 13g fat, 7g sat fat, 760mg Sodium, 10g carbs, 22g Protein
Jr. Deluxe Sandwich, 260 cals, 12g fat, 3g sat fat, 560mg Sodium, 26g carbs, 13g Protein
Prime-Cut™ Chicken Tenders – 3 piece, 350 cals, 17g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 970mg Sodium, 25g carbs, 25g Protein
Here are my results:
Danny’s Choice: Chopped Farmhouse Salad – Roast Turkey
Runner up: Jr. Roast Beef Wheat
Honorable Mention: Jr. Roast Beef
Best Side: Apple Slices (Natural fruit ALWAYS takes first!)
Second Side: Chopped Side Salad
Danny’s Preferred Meal: Chopped Farmhouse Salad – Roast Turkey w/ Apple Slices
Danny’s “on the go” Bike Meal: Jr. Roast Beef Wheat (and feed the top bun to the birds!) w/ Apple Slices
Please be careful when selecting salad dressings! They will often add so much fat, sugar and calories to your salad, making them almost as bad as a burger! When you can, hold the cheese and throw that top bun to the birds!
Next week I’ll be looking into SUBWAY! Tune in!
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Danny’s Fast Food Survival Guide – Volume 1, Issue 5
Subway – As seen on The Biggest Loser!
Well, overall Subway is one of the more healthy places you can eat fast! But if you don’t follow a few simple rules it can turn bad…fast!
Let me tell you what Jillian Michaels taught me about sandwiches and watching calories: Say yes to Mustard and no to Mayonnaise, say yes to Vinegar and no to Oil. Those two tricks can save you a hundred calories on a sandwich!
Here’s another trick from Season 5 winner Ali Vincent. She told me in Boston while we ran the Boston Marathon together that she never put cheese on a sandwich. She said it adds 50-80 calories and you hardly taste the cheese! She says if she’s going to eat cheese, it won’t be on a sandwich…she is going to taste the cheese if she’s going to eat the calories!
Some bread is better than others. I like to eat the bread with the least amount of calories and sodium. You have to be careful, because some bread can add a few hundred more. Subway gives their nutritional info, so be wary when ordering your bread!
Here’s how I like to shop at Subway:
Pick the bread. Here’s what I choose:
6” – 9-grain Wheat Bread: 210 Calories, 2g Fat, 310 mg sodium, 40g Carbs, 8g Protein
6” – Italian White Bread: 200 Calories, 2g Fat, 290 mg sodium, 38g carbs, 7g protein
6” – Sourdough Bread: 210 Calories, 3g Fat, 210 mg Sodium, 41g Carbs, 8g Protein
Pick the meat. These are my favorites:
6” – Oven Roasted Chicken Breast: 80 Calories, 2g Fat, 3g Carbs, 13g Protein
6” – Black Forest Ham (2oz): 70 Calories, 2g Fat, 3 Carbs, 8g Protein
6” – Turkey Breast (2 oz): 50 Calories, 1g Fat, 2g Carbs, 9g Protein
Pick the Veggies! Go crazy! My favorites are:
Banana Peppers, Cucumbers, Green peppers, Lettuce, Olives, Onions, Spinach, Tomato, and JALAPENO’S!
Pick your condiment:
Mustard and Vinegar (NO MAYO OR OIL!) Oil is okay, but adds calories! Let’s face it…we are trying to cut back calories! Also, Avocado adds calories, too, so I avoid it on these sandwiches. I love the Deli Brown Mustard!
Danny’s Favorite Sandwich:
6” – Oven Roasted Chicken Breast on 9-Grain Wheat. Add Jalapenos before toasting. Then add Lettuce, Tomato, Olives, Green Peppers, Banana Peppers, and MORE Jalapeno’s! Brown Mustard and a splash of vinegar, and sprinkle a bit of pepper! PRESTO! A healthy sandwich!
I choose not to eat chips, or if I do, I get the baked chips. Chips just add Carbs and aren’t good for you! Choose to skip them! You can eat a lunch for less than 400 calories by sticking to a good plan and skipping the cheese!
Good luck and good eating! Next up: TBA! I’m putting a question on my Fan Page at www.facebook.com/thedannycahill ! Go there and answer and have a say which Fast Food restaurant is next!
Danny’s Fast Food Survival Guide – Volume 1, Issue 6
CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL
Chipotle Mexican Grill
The trick to eating at Chipotle is to DITCH THE TORTILLAS! The Flour Burrito Tortilla is 290 calories! That is C-R-A-Z-Y! Corn Taco tortillas are 180 calories while a Flour Taco tortilla is a whopping 270 calories! So right off the bat, I’m going to tell you to GO FOR THE BOWL!
When choosing Bowl contents, select 4 Oz. of Chicken, Beef, Barbacoa or Carnitas. Lowest in Sodium and fat is Steak and Chicken which contain 190 Calories each for 4 ounces.
When choosing items for your Burrito Bowl, the lowest calorie options are Fajita Veggies (2.5 oz = 20 calories), Tomato Salsa (3.5 oz = 20 calories), Lettuce (1 oz = 5 calories), Red Tomatillo Salsa (2 fl oz = 40 calories), and Green Tomatillo Salsa (2 fl oz = 15 calories). You really can’t go wrong with these items! I stack up the fajita veggies rather than add Sour Cream (2 oz = 120 calories) or cheese (1 oz = 100 calories). You get more bang for your buck! Watch the sodium in the tomato salsa, though – there is much less sodium in Green Tomatillo Salsa (230 mg per 2 fl oz). Black Beans or Pinto Beans add sodium, but are a good nutritional source of fiber and protein. If you go with rice, choose Brown Rice for less sodium. It will add 160 calories per 4 oz of rice. I skip it and get more veggies!
Danny’s favorite dish from Chipotle:
Burrito bowl with chicken, Black Beans, Double Fajita Veggies, Double Romaine Lettuce, and Green Tomatillo Salsa.
The nutritional information for the above meal is as follows: 375 calories, 8.5 g Fat, 2 g Saturated Fat, 1190 mg Sodium, 37 g Carbohydrates, 15 g Dietary Fiber, and 42 g Protein. A little high in sodium, but if you did cut the Green Tomatillo Salsa, you’d cut 230 mg of sodium and get it below 1000. Seems you can’t get many low sodium dishes in fast food these days.
You can calculate any Chipotle meal at http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/menu/nutrition_calculator/nutrition_calculator.aspx
You could substitute any meat for the chicken and get a variety with near the same results. I actually think it’s relatively healthy, except for the sodium content!
I’ll announce the next restaurant next week! Tune in again!
Danny’s Fast Food Survival Guide – Volume 1, Issue 7
MUSCLE MAKER GRILL
Danny’s Fast Food Journal – MUSCLE MAKER GRILL!
I’ve been to healthy food restaurants before, and it is comforting when you know that the calories and nutritional make-up of the food is pretty good. But it’s really awesome when the food tastes great too! This is what I found at Muscle Maker Grill. Here in Tulsa, it’s located at Highway 75 and 71st St. in the Tulsa Hills Shopping Center. I drove there in the snow to sample some of their best selling dishes, and here’s what I found:
First, I tried the Texas Chicken Nuggets. A serving of them are 284 calories and only 310mg of sodium. My first thought was that my son David would love them! He’s usually caught dipping his Hot Wings in a thick Bleu Cheese and killing his calories for the day! These are served with fat-free sour cream and trust me, they are amazing!
Then, I had a few bites of the Mardi Gras Cajun Grilled Chicken Salad. It was amazing, and without the croutons it is Gluten Free! In fact, EVERY DISH except one can be made Gluten-Free which is a great plus for those looking for Gluten-free restaurants! A serving of the salad is 415 calories and has 610 mg of Sodium. It is very high in protein and low in carbs, but does have a bit of fat. Overall, not a bad choice after a workout! Not to mention it tastes incredible!
Then a plate was placed in front of me and I almost lost it. It was The Godfather! Holy cow! Just looking at it made me happy! It was made with a grilled chicken breast. Portabella mushrooms, roasted red peppers, reduced fat mozzarella cheese and a gluten & fat free balsamic vinaigrette! It was served on top of some steamed broccoli, and it was amazing! Not to mention it has only 366 calories per serving and 560 mg of Sodium! Pair that with 8g of fat and 14g of carbs to the 49g of protein, and you’ll probably build muscle just looking at it! This was my favorite of the day!
Then, they brought out the wraps. I had a bite of the Signature Wrap (550 calories) and the Santa Fe Wrap (681 calories). These would be great on the go meals after a heavy lifting session or after running your 5K!
All in all I have to say the food tasted incredible and by watching the Nutrition Guide that was readily available in the store, it’s hard to go wrong at the Muscle Maker Grill! I suggest if you live in the Tulsa area, get over there after your next workout! There’s not much on the menu that could cancel out your workout. Just be mindful of the calories and you can’t go wrong! (And how can you go wrong when the calories are right there on the menu and not hidden like at most restaurants?)