Thursday, October 23, 2008

The most bang for my caloric buck

Dining while traveling is always a problem for me. I'm OK with eating restaurant food here and there, scattered sporadically throughout the month. But when the angst of planning vacation meals, three meals a day, seven days a week enters the picture, I completely freak out. I love to eat and I've become accustomed to getting the most bang for my caloric buck, so to speak. So when I can make a huge egg white omelette with sauteed spinach and smothered with reduced fat pepper jack cheese and tomatoes at home for less than 200 calories, why would I want to double or triple those calories by eating something similar at Bob Evans? At lunchtime I'm faced with "splurging" on a supposedly healthy fast food salad that typically has calories somewhere in the 400-500 calorie range, when I know that I could have had a very tasty salad at home from under 300 calories. Dinner time presents another list of dilemmas, ranging from portion size to how the meat and vegetables are cooked. Hidden calories abound in the amount of fat and/or sugar used to create your favorite restaurant entree.

Again, I'm not completely neurotic on this issue when I'm faced with a single meal on the road. An extra 700-800 calories in one day is one thing. Multiply that by seven and you've gained yourself a pound to a pound and a half.... and that's even when you THINK you've chosen wisely! That's craziness!!

I do respect and applaud that many restaurants are at least trying to jump on the diet-friendly bandwagon, but I think that more could be accomplished in this area. Steamed vegetables could be available nearly everywhere with minimal equipment and effort. The option for reduced fat cheese and maybe fat free sour cream would be wonderful, yes? Whole grain croutons, buns, breads, wraps and tortillas would be skin off no one's teeth, would they? Soups and sauces made with skim milk instead of cream? Excellent idea, I say!

But I digress (and quite lengthily, I I'm about to give credit where credit is due, so not to worry.

It appears that Long John Silvers has jumped on the healthy food bandwagon with both feet running. Now keep in mind that I haven't tried any of the items I'm about to promote, so I surely can't vouch for their tastiness. But... I can tell you that I haven't stepped foot nor gas pedal in a LJS restaurant or drive-through in over a decade because I saw nothing but GREASE on their menu. Now, however, I find something worthy of my time and calories to at least try. Their Freshside Grille menu boasts such items as Grilled Pacific Salmon (150 calories,) Grilled Tilapia (110 calories) and Shrimp Scampi (110 calories.) Add their Vegetable Medley (50 calories) to any of those three, and you've got yourself a meal for under 200 calories! Could even I, Mags the Magnificent, beat that at home? I don't think so. Next time I'm traveling, I'll be stopping at Long John Silvers. And you can take that caloric buck to the bank.

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