Here's the rundown of my weekend road trip.
Two friends and my honey--who is also on WW and skipping along quite nicely with it--and I started out on Friday for a 6.5 hour drive from here to Lewisburg, PA where Deb's niece Cordy was graduating from Bucknell (cum laude, too, I might add--we are all very proud!). I knew that food choices along the way were going to be -- ahem slim--pickings, so I planned ahead and brought good healthy food along for the ride: fruit salad, a package of hummus, some pieces of pita, raw almonds, and some whole wheat pasta and vegetables in a 0-points Asian sauce I had made the night before.
First stop: Starbucks. Of course. Now one of the things I am most grateful in doing this whole food reduction game is that I drink my coffee black. I always have. This is a good thing because I have heard from others that giving up sugar and/or cream in one's coffee is harder than giving up anything else in the points paredown strategy. Lucky for me--no points in the coffee.
But, I was hungry because I had been running around that morning trying to pack and do all the things one who proscrastinates as badly as I do must do before leaving on a trip and I didn't eat breakfast. Not to worry: Starbucks--not all, but several--have an array of relatively healthy fresh food choices to go with one's coffee. (Oh yeah, there are lots of high points offerings as well, like muffins, breads, and sweet rolls, but I don't look up anymore, I only look down in the case below the sweet stuff if I'm hungry.) Whola! Yogurt parfait: low fat plain yogurt, fresh fruit, and a little granola. I had to wait until I got home to calculate the points: 6, but I appreciate that Starbucks offers all the nutrition information on their packaged foods so you can choose wisely.
Next stop for lunch: Wendy's. Whoa. Be careful here. Seriously! Points are lurking in places you wouldn't even imagine. I got the Mandarin Chicken Salad. Now, by itself, this salad, which comes with big tender chunks of skinless chicken and mandarin oranges in the bowl, is 170 calories--3 points. BUT!!! They toss onto your tray some stealth ticking time bombs: packets of salad dressing, slivered almonds, and crispy noodles. Now, I'm no fool--I think--I know that almonds are better than fried noodles, so I forgo the noodles and spill that entire little packet of almonds all over my salad. Oh yeah. I opt for about a third of the sesame salad dressing, and I figure I have chosen pretty wisely and I'm feeling quite virtuous for myself.
On our way out, I see the large poster of nutrition information for each of the food items hanging in the dining room. If I had eaten everything: almonds and noodles and all the dressing, that salad would have totalled out at more than 500 calories! The almonds are the worst offender. I came home and did the points: 11. They must do something to them.
Now, I have to give Wendy's credit because if you go online, you can actually create personalized meals with their products and get the exact nutrition information for each one. And, because they allow special orders, if you plan ahead, you'll know exactly what you're getting when you order. Use this in combination with the WW points calculator, and you're golden. The key: plan ahead. (More on planning ahead in a future post.)
That night at dinner--and throughout the weekend--I limited my alcohol intake. A huge challenge, generally for me, but a slight stomach bug kept me in check for the most part. We did find some excellent microbrewed beer at the Selingsgrove Brewery the next day, that, had I been feeling better, I could have indulged even more in. Also there, we had a good healthy lunch of curried chicken salad with fresh vegetables and pita points. We also had nachos, which generally are high in points, but these had more tomatoes than cheese and no chili, so not as bad as they could have been.
My fruit salad was a great snack throughout the weekend--thank goodness for the in-room refrigerator--and, for the most part, staying away from the hors d' oeuvre table--which was surrounded by hungry young graduating people and their friends, so that was good--made the weekend no so bad for points.
Dinner Friday night was the hardest: steak and seared tuna with tempura sushi rolls, amazing grilled romaine salads and key lime pie. Hmm. That was tough. (I'm just remember that I never entered the points for those tempura rolls! Oh well.)
All in all, however, not a bad trip points wise. And we had fun all hanging out together. Biggest takeaway lessons: pay attention, plan ahead as much as possible, bank points throughout the week, and relax. I know that because I'm on WW, I didn't eat as much as I would have had I not been tracking points. And while I definitely went over the limit, I was always mindful of what I was eating--not in a panicked ridiculous and annoying to others kind of way--but just paying attention kind of way. It worked. I'm happy.