The Next Challenge: Week 4

Ok, so I successfully completed my own exercise challenge this week.  Yay me! Now on to the next one.  Should I make up my own, or should I tackle the 100days challenge?  Upon first looking at the new challenge from the 100days site, I thought “too easy!”  The challenge is to basically avoid fast food and deep fried foods for the week.  In a normal week, that would not be a challenge for me at all.  But then I started thinking…  It’s spring break.  We have lots of plans.  Some of those plans might leave us out and about at lunch time.  Even in those circumstance, I try to avoid fast food.  I might pick a place like El Pollo Loco, Subway, Jersey Mikes… I tend to think of those as a moderately healthy choice.  Looking at the rules of this challenge, I think I might have to avoid those though.  :-/  Here are the official rules:

Mini-Pledge Week 4: No Fast Food or Deep-Fried Food

By 100 Days of Real Food, on April 1st, 2011

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
  • Donuts
  • 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.



I can see there being some challenges this week.  Wednesday, my dad will have Michael at lunch time.  There is a good chance he’ll take him somewhere I never would, like McDonalds.  Thursday I am taking the kids to Magic Mountain!  Yikes!  I already planned on taking them out of the park for lunch since I don’t want to pay top dollar for gross junk food.  But now where to?  I guess I can  pack a lunch in a cooler and picnic in our car?  We’ll see.  I have time to decide. I WILL be doing this challenge though.  I thought I should skip it since it’s an out of the ordinary week for me, but then I thought, in an ordinary week, it wouldn’t be a challenge for me at all.  Let’s take it on during this challenging week!!

Wish me luck!!



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