Small changes, big results – the choices are yours

Eating lunch during the week is a huge diet hurdle for many of you. You eat at restaurants, cafeterias, and fast food joints, and the weight just doesn’t come off. My friend Adam is just like you. Adam came to me with ten pounds to lose, and an admission of a burrito habit! Spoiler Alert! 2 years later, Adam’s 10 lbs are long gone and staying off!

Mmm… burrito…

Adam and I sat down over coffee and talked about diet and exercise. During the conversation, he asked about the calories at one of his favorite restaurants; Chipotle. Adam and his family love Chipotle, and I don’t blame them. I love it, too.

Calorie Bomb

Adam’s typical meal from Chipotle, like most people, is the burrito. What Adam was surprised to hear was that his burrito made up over half of his typical calorie requirements. …in just that one meal!

“I thought Chipotle was healthy!” Adam said.

Sure, Chipotle uses pretty healthy ingredients, and has a lot of great options to support good health and your fat loss goals, but too much of a good thing is still too much.

Since I’m a big fan of Chipotle, I knew about a cool little Chipotle calculator tool from Adam and I jumped online, and we took a look at Adam’s burrito options. Check it out The Chipotle Nutrition Calculator 2.0, yourself.

As you can see, clicking the button for each ingredient adds it or subtracts it.  Make your dream burrito and see how it stacks up.

Look how a burrito can be a HUGE calorie bomb.  Try dropping the tortilla, and make it bowl, instead.  Do you need cheese, guacamole, AND sour cream?  What if you choose rice OR beans?  Why not drop both and make your burrito a bowl or a plate of tacos.

Not every restaurant and fast food joint has such dedicated fans, but many of these places have extremely detailed listings or applications for the foods they sell. Some, even allow you to customize your foods online.

So, using a bit of research, I showed Adam how a few small changes could dramatically reduce the calories of his lunch. Whether you do your homework online or in the store using the nutrition info that they hand out, know that you can make good choices.

The choices are yours

It’s your choice how to manage the calories that your body needs for the day, but you can see here how simple changes can dramatically increase or decrease the calorie load of a meal.  While not every restaurant has a fan base passionate enough to whip up a program like this, the idea is the same no matter what food you’re about to choose.

  • Burgers have options (no bun, but wrapped in lettuce, no mayo, but add mustard, no secret sauce, but add catsup).
  • Gyros have options, just like burgers. Skip the sauce? Why not have the gyro as a salad, instead? Just watch the dressing.
  • Mexican? Go for tacos instead of a burrito
  • Soup instead of a sandwich
  • More veggies instead of rice
  • Ice tea instead of soda

It also reminds me of a conversation with a friend. He often asks me about losing weight and about food choices. At one point we were at a burger stand, and after looking at the menu asked “what’s less calories than a cheeseburger?” I told him to take his best guess, and he said “half a cheeseburger?”

A restaurant menu has options, and the choices of what to eat and not to eat are yours. Choose foods, ingredients, sizes, and options that best satisfy you for the calories you’re about to eat.

3 thoughts on “Small changes, big results – the choices are yours

  1. Nevena Peltekova-Vassileva

    I can’t believe in the US the rice and the beans are in the vegetable section. In Bulgaria vegetables are tomatoes (it’s a fruit in fact, but since we never put it a fruit salad, we consider it as veggie), cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, cabbage, onion, eggplant, peppers, but corn, beans, rice, chickpeas, lentils… never. it’s such a gift to live in a world full of food challenges and lots of surprises 🙂

  2. Roland Denzel

    Yeah, I try to segment “fruits” and “vegetables” more by what how we eat them and how they treat our bodies, no matter how they’re technically classified. The only beans I would consider as veggies are green beans, snow peas, snap peas, and green peas (but only barely). 😉

    There’s a funny saying about wisdom — “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in the fruit salad.”


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