The next mini-pledge is a two-fold challenge where we are asking people to avoid both fast food and deep-fried food for a week. I think this will be another one of those pledges that is hard for some and easier for others. First off, according to Wikipedia, fast food is defined as “food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a packaged form for take-out/take-away.” Hopefully I don’t need to go into too much detail about why it would be beneficial for you to avoid fast food meals, but let’s take a moment to discuss the reasoning behind deep-fried food. The problem with something being deep-fried is that the food absorbs a great deal of oil during the cooking process. So when you eat the end product you are consuming far more oil – an unhealthy fat in most cases – than is recommended.
So here is next week’s pledge that officially starts on Monday:
Mini-Pledge Week 4: April 4 – April 10 – No fast food (as detailed below) or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil.
For this challenge you must avoid:
- Restaurants with drive-thru windows
- Convenience stores that also typically sell gas
- Places where you watch them assemble your food through a glass wall
- Restaurants that are situated in a “food court” setting
- School lunches (most schools do not have a fully functioning kitchen and simply heat precooked meals)
- Airplane food
The places where you can eat during this challenge:
- Restaurants with waiter service (which aren’t always ideal when it comes to food quality, but we just had to draw the line somewhere)
- Grocery stores (we recommend hitting the salad bar, vegetable sides and brown rice sushi)
- Your own kitchen!
- Friends’ houses
Even while you are eating at the “allowed” places you must still of course avoid deep-fried foods, which is trickier than it sounds. If it is crunchy and crispy you need to question it. We were even fooled fairly recently by some hard taco shells not realizing at first they probably got their crunchiness from being deep fried in oil.
Some other examples of deep-fried foods to be on the lookout for:
- French fries
- Sweet potato fries
- Potato/tortilla chips
- Chicken fingers
- Chicken wings
- Corn dogs
- Egg rolls
The goal of this challenge is to force you to figure out alternatives to a Big Mac even when you are starving and on the go. And the key to success is planning ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out where and when you will have your next meal. Consider packing some whole food snacks to hold you over including bananas, apples, oranges, nuts, popcorn (with minimal oil/salt), dried fruit, store-bought Lara Bars, whole-grain crackers, cheese sticks, etc. Also take the time to pack lunches for work, school, long car rides, and airplane trips.
To take the pledge: Please leave a comment below with the number of adults and kids in your household that will participate, and also share if you will do it for one day or for the entire week. Put it in writing to make it official!