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Where Can I Eat When I Can't Cook?

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So I need some practical advice.  I work a job that can have some pretty wild hours due to production demands and being on-call.  I'm working on restarting (again) and trying to do meal prep. However, I don't necessarily always have time for this since I can easily hit three 12-hour days in a row and will just collapse afterward with no ability to do said meal prep.  While I know the real solution is "Make Time to do it!" (I'm working on that) I want to have back-ups just in case.  So, the question now becomes: What fast-casual places are "safe" to eat at if you're trying to eat clean and lean and running to a grocery store isn't an option?


I'm thinking of places like Crazy Bowls and Wraps, Panda Express, ETC as candidates, but I don't want to throw off my eating plan by getting hit with a ton of sodium or bad stuff without realizing.  Is anyone able to help?  I think Panera is a solid option after looking at their menu & nutrition stuff, but I'm not sure.  

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Hard to say without examining the menus in detail, as I don't really know those places. But fast food restaurants tend not to be "clean", and they have a reputation for loading up with salt. So don't drive yourself crazy looking for the perfect healthy meal. If it were me I'd just look at the menus, see if any of the places have something with a bit of protein and veg, and not too much refined carbs, sauce or sugar, and call it a compromise. 

Let cheese and bread and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination.

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On 7/25/2019 at 9:52 AM, wells101 said:

So, the question now becomes: What fast-casual places are "safe" to eat at if you're trying to eat clean and lean and running to a grocery store isn't an option?


Are you nutrition goals related to calories or macros or just making sure you are making good choices?


If you are currently worried about calories, as long as the restaurant had calories listed, and you stayed within your range, it technically wouldn't really matter. 

If you are focusing on calories and macros, I'd look into a meal service that you could customize to your needs. It might be a bit more expensive, but you'd also be guaranteed to hit your goals and microwaving one would be just as convenient as stopping at a fast-casual place.

If you are just focusing on making good choices, then @Harriet hit the nail on the head.


In regards to sodium intake, unless you have an existing condition that necessitates watching your sodium intake, it's probably not a huge deal. Our bodies to a pretty good job of eliminating excess salt - if it were me, I'd just increase my water intake on those days.

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@Sylvaa is aware of how much in control I am of my life (i.e. not at all), and have had to resort to a lot of the above methods. Fast food places are usually an easy option since they're pretty standardized in their portions and have their calories posted, so consistency (the most important part) is pretty easy to achieve. Cover your calories, cover your protein, and your body composition should take care of itself.


If it were feasible I would eat at Chipotle every day. (One of our athletes does.)

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