When I was a management consultant one of my daily sources of stress was what should I eat.
Finding food to eat each day doesn’t sound like a complicated task, but it gets a bit trickier when you are running from meeting to meeting and barely have 10 minutes to get away from the office.
Consider all of your additional requirements for the simple question.
What should I eat…
- That is within a 5-minute walk
- That can be prepared in <5 minutes
- That is portable / easy to carry
- That is edible at my desk
- That will satiate my appetite
This list alone eliminates a lot of options, but there are still plenty of fast-food places that cater to these needs.
Here’s where things get impossible.
What should I eat…
- That will also help me stay healthy, lose fat, and/or gain muscle?
Well…good luck with that.
While I’m sure the people in the food industry will disagree, there just aren’t a lot of healthy food court options.
The few places that do serve legitimately healthy food are lost in a sea of false advertising. What you need is a b.s. filter to navigate the food court and figure out how to create a healthy meal.
This is the exact purpose of this article: to help you solve the problem of finding fast, filling, and convenient meals that will help you stay healthy, lose fat, and/or gain muscle.
‘Healthy’ meals defined.
Step one to creating a healthy eating plan is actually defining what we mean by healthy.
There is simply so much misinformation out there on what is and isn’t healthy that we need to start with the basics and build a foundation. (Don’t believe there is misinformation? Well, the U.S. Government has been telling citizens to reduce fat and cholesterol since 1961, but recently admitted they had been wrong the whole time and that these foods are fine!!!)
My approach to nutrition is no different to the rest of my advice: I look at the available science and determine what will deliver the best results while using the minimum required time and energy so that it fits with your demanding career and hectic lifestyle.
For nutrition, success comes down to a few simple rules:
- Eat real, whole foods.
- Don’t eat toxic foods.
- Eat a diverse mix of food.
That’s it. If you internalize and apply these three guidelines, you can easily achieve 80% of your health and fitness goals.
But, to make this even easier for you, I’m going to get more specific with the exact approach to food court eating that I used during my 4 years as a management consultant.
The Food Court Diet
What I’m about to give you is the simple framework I used to eat thousands of healthy meals in food courts and restaurants across Canada and the U.S. while travelling as a management consultant.
It is a simple template that:
- Minimizes your time and energy invested by being easy to understand, easy to remember, and easy to apply in a variety of real-world situations.
- Maximizes your results by outlining extremely effective advice that can be implemented over-and-over for sustainable benefits.
It’s called the The Food Court Diet.
It is a simple mental checklist that you use every time you eat out to create a healthy meal. To make it even easier to remember, The Food Court Diet is structured as an acronym of the first 5 letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, E.
At each meal you INCLUDE the first 4 items (ABCD) and EXCLUDE the final item (E).
To use this you just mentally run down the ABCDE list when evaluating food court or restaurant menu options, and add/remove items to create a complete meal.
At first you’ll have to consciously use this framework every time you eat, but overtime it will become ingrained in your thought process until you start unconsciously making better decisions.
Try out The Food Court Diet this week and let me know what you think.
Leave a comment if you have questions on whether a specific type of take out fits the template.