Lunch Review: Subway Turkey Breast Salad

We suppose Panera’s awesome chicken salad might have made us a bit biased when it comes to other restaurant options.  Okay, really biased.  That’s probably all it is.  Right?

Or is Subway hiding behind their cleverly executed marketing, which has convinced us all they’re the healthiest fast food option?

Today’s lunch review is not a happy one.   As Tina searches through Subway’s online menu, seeking the perfect healthy option to review for you, dear reader, in an effort to make your lunch-on-the-go selections healthier, she finally lands on their Turkey Breast Salad.  She nods approvingly.  “I would rather have the Double Chicken Chopped Salad,” she says, “but we should try something new.”

Stephanie meets plenty of friendly service and even friendlier smells at the local Subway, and walks away happy with the experience.  But when Tina takes a bite, she knows right away something is wrong.

First off, where’s the turkey?  It was almost a hopeless task, Tina digging through her salad to find any shreds of meat she could to weigh.  (Yes, we weighed it.  Don’t you want a thorough review?)

subway turkey 1

Voilà!  Here it is.  After minutes and minutes of agonized sifting: an ounce and a half of turkey.  It’s precisely the amount they promised, but not exactly the delicious juicy turkey breast we dreamed of.  Tina tosses it back into her salad and starts in on her lunch.  “I don’t know if it’s the most delicious salad I’ve had, but it’s an okay option,” she decides.

subway tukey 2

This picture is after Tina found the turkey hidden beneath the lettuce and veggies.

It looks as though we’re facing a mundane C+ sort of review for this salad.  But things get exciting when Tina comes across Subway’s page of Product Ingredients.  This is different from nutrition facts; here we see more into the details of each ingredient and food item they offer.

Suffice it to say Tina’s salad went untouched after she read this page.

Tina’s discovery at Subway has encouraged her to pen a more thorough, coherent article than we can offer now about what preservatives and additives can do to the body, and why we should all avoid them.  For now, we can only mention the horror at realizing Subway injects their hot peppers with Yellow Dye #5 (why?! Fresh peppers?!), and their meats have way too many ingredients that are not meat.  Sodium, fats, carbs, sugar and the like should be considered when selecting a restaurant meal, but additives like the ones Subway uses rather liberally should be avoided all together.  Soy protein concentrate, another leading player in Subway’s “meats”, for example, can create hormone imbalance, among other issues.  Some of their additives may not exactly be deadly, but why would you consume protein with so many fillers if you can help it?

For now, realize that you don’t have to limit yourself to free range, organic, hand-fed and well-loved meat.  You do want, however, to see only a few ingredients in your proteins: ideally meat, and as little after that as possible.  High-quality protein is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, having higher energy and generally fueling your body.  Don’t settle for sodium injections, corn syrup solids or soy protein concentrate.

We give Subway’s options overall a resounding F.  Sorry, Subway.  Your food is tasty and we appreciate the gift card, but absolutely cannot recommend it to anyone.

Nutritious Lunch at Sticks Kebob Shop

We had an absolutely overwhelming response from our clients on that last post about Panera.  Making food at home is always the best option, but everyone needs a break now and then.  Our clients do a wonderful job of staying disciplined and keeping their eyes on the prize, and we know they deserve a reward.  How long can one shy away from the office deciding to order out together? or avoid going to dinner with friends for fear of breaking the rules?

Well, next time you have a say in where to go, we recommend Sticks Kebob Shop.  For you Richmonders, there’s one right in Willow Lawn.  Feast your eyes on this scrumptious delight:

kebob 1

Oh boy.  Is your mouth watering yet?  As if their Mixed Garden Vegetables with Basil Oil kebob wasn’t delightful enough, they also offer an amazing Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs kebob.

kebob 3

These are the two Tina would highlight at Sticks.  They are delicious and even more delicious together.  Sticks makes a tasty little side of cucumbers, tomatoes and other delights, and we think that rounds out the meal pretty well.

kebob 4

Grilled veggies and meats seem the obvious choice for healthy options, but the savvy restaurant-goer has to be careful.  We were surprised, once we really started researching, at how many dishes are wayyyy too high in carbohydrates, overall calories and sodium (good grief, so much sodium).  With this combo, though, Tina found she could get the protein she needed at lunch time as well as our old friend low glycemic index carbs through the veggies.  The extra fiber doesn’t hurt, either.  What Tina really enjoys here, though, is the healthy fat that is included without the heavy cost of loads and loads of sodium.  Total sodium for these two together is 175 mg.  Sticks has a shrimp platter which looks awful tempting (Stephanie was this close to ordering that), but with 1,270 mg of sodium it’s not quite worth it at half of your sodium need for the day.

Tina’s only complaint is that the fiber could be a little higher.  3 grams isn’t so bad, but she will have to make sure to include 22 grams more during the day so meet the daily recommendation of 25.

If you’re in Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg, check this place out.  At Willow Lawn the staff is exceedingly friendly, willing to offer suggestions about their favorite items and preparing meals quickly.  Before you go, take a glance at their nutrition information, and try to make sure your selection matches those of these two kebobs in protein, carbs, and sodium.  They also offer a little side salad to enjoy with your kebob choices, which Tina gives a thumbs-up.

The Mixed Garden Vegetables with Basil Oil kebob and the Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs kebob get an A-.  They may be no Power Chicken Hummus Bowl, but as far as we’re concerned, still a great option.  Enjoy!

Tuna Avocado Salad

tuna avocado

One of the hardest things about eating healthy is meal-planning.  It’s not always easy to grab something quick after a busy day that fits into the categories of nourishing, nutritious and delicious.  It’s also not easy to vary the ingredients you enjoy enough to make multiple meals.  It seems to us that one of the tricks to overcoming these obstacles is to have on hand certain staples that are versatile and quick, easy to add to anything.  Allow us to introduce you to the tuna-avocado combination!

Tuna is a simple healthy option that already fits into multiple recipes.  Mixing in avocado allows tuna to take on a more creamy texture, and the combination is absolutely delicious.  This week’s recipe features our tuna-avocado combo in salad form, but keeping a container of it in your fridge will allow you to add it to wraps, sandwiches, or as a side to dinner.

Ingredients:
2 cans of Wild Planet albacore tuna ( I use one with olive oil and one with water)
1 avocado
3 chopped scallions
Szechuan seasoning (Penzey’s)
chopped chives

Directions:
Mix together tuna and avocado, mashing avocado into tuna.  Add chopped scallions and chives.  Season with Szechuan seasoning and pepper.  Place onto a bed of lettuce and surround with vegetables of choice.

Enjoy!

 

Smokey Dill Arctic Char

Arctic Char happens to be one of my favorite fish.  It is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acid which is important for cell health and decreasing inflammation.  Read below for the health benefits of the sides, and in the meantime start up this quick and delicious fish dinner!

Arctic Char

 

Ingredients:
8 oz. of Arctic Char
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon smoked salt
1 lime
Ground peppercorns to taste

Instructions:
Coat a glass baking pan with olive oil.

Set oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Place Arctic Char in glass pan with skin side down.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Add dill, salt, pepper and squeeze lime over fish.

Bake for 30 minutes until the fish flakes.

Serve over baked spaghetti squash and add stir-fried greens.

Baked Spaghetti Squash:

Spaghetti squash is a great replacement for pasta: it’s lower in calories, higher in fiber and has iron and vitamin B-6.  It is also boasts quite a bit more antioxidants than pasta (which actually contains none) to help decrease your risk of certain diseases.

Slice spaghetti squash in half.  Scoop out seeds.  Place in a glass baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until you can insert a fork into the squash.  Take out of oven and allow to cool.  Once cooled, scrape the spaghetti squash out of the shell and serve.

Stir-fried Greens:

I can never say enough good things about greens.  They are high in fiber, minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins K,C,E, along with many of the B vitamins.  They also provide phytonutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems, and a small amount of Omega-3 fats.
I like to use a mix of swiss chard, bok choy, dandelion greens and kale.  I slice the greens horizontally, then add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a pan and turn the temperature to medium.  Add garlic, onions or chives and add the greens.  They should be ready in about a minute.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Zest Salad

We’ve noticed here at Lighten Up that Spring seems to be our busiest season.  Whether the motivation is to increase training over the summer or to look good in a bikini, we don’t know- or care!  We’re just glad to have clients who are excited about getting healthy, whatever their reasons.

However, this yearly influx of new clients leaves us staring at each other at the end of the day wondering where the time has gone.  Many of our clients seem to be suffering from the same experience.  Has Spring always been this busy?

It’s more important during busy times than any other to keep energy high, maintain focus, and take care of yourself.  Don’t skip lunch, and make sure you’re eating foods that are nourishing.  Today we have the perfect “recipe” for on-the-go lunches: Cranberry Orange Zest Salad!  Prepare it in the morning, store it in the office fridge and bring it out for a quick energy-boosting lunch.

The walnuts in this salad are full of omega-3 fatty acid, and veggies are always a good source of antioxidants.  Beets provide iron, folate, vitamin C and a rich source of a phytochemical compound called glycine betaine (which can help with lowering homocysteine levels in the blood).  The root of the beet, too, is a rich source of b-complex vitamins- niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6)- and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.  And don’t forget that salads have a healthy dose of fiber, too.

Zest Salad


 

1 cup arugula
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 cucumber, sliced
1 radish, chopped
1 fresh beet (cooked in boiling water until soft, then peeled and chopped)
8 walnuts halves
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon dried orange zest (I use Penzey’s)
1/8 teaspoon Szechuan salt
fresh ground peppercorns, to taste

Mix together in a bowl and add some reduced balsamic vinegar to taste with two teaspoons olive oil.

 

Tina often brings this salad in for lunch and adds fresh salmon from the previous night’s dinner, or a can of Wild Planet Tuna, which is aluminum free.  If you’re vegan, add black beans instead.  Enjoy!