Can you hear the sirens? It may sound like there’s a big fire a couple of blocks away, but actually, that’s the sound of your muscles squealing in fear. They’re in trouble because it’s time for a meal (let’s be honest, when isn’t it?) and you’re nowhere near a chicken breast.
America abounds with choices of chow for those with an empty belly and some spare change. But very few of those options are suitable for someone who’s trying to fill that belly while adhering to their bodybuilding diet. Being the hero who rescues your muscle mass from certain doom is fairly simple if you know where - and how - to look.
Obviously, no matter how heroically you search, you’re not going to find the ideal bodybuilder menu at many of the following locations. But that’s okay. The idea is to find food that contains enough protein (without too much excess carbs and fat) to tide you over until you can get back to eating “real” food. And while we also advise you to eat clean for the rest of the day after experiencing a diet dilemma, don’t berate yourself if your emergency option causes a slight aberration in your daily fat intake. See how you fare on the following crisis-management quiz, and try to be better prepared from here on out.
1) Convenience Store Cuisine
What could be simpler than running into the am/pm while your car is gassing up? Especially when you’re late for a doctor’s appointment across town and you have no time to stop for lunch beforehand. Also simple? Grabbing the wrong thing from the junk food littering the convenience-store shelves. What should you pick?
a) Jack Link’s Beef Steak jerky and a small bag of Corn Nuts
b) Nachos and a blueberry muffin
c) A bean and beef burrito
With option B, the neon-orange “cheese” on those nachos could come from a hot vat that hasn’t been cleaned since people routinely wore neon orange. And there’s at least one brand of blueberry muffin that contains 710 calories, a very low 10 grams of protein, 85 grams of carbs and 36 grams of fat. The beef and bean burrito, on the other hand, may seem like a more well-rounded meal. But it’s also overloaded with carbs (37 grams), and though it has only 9 grams of fat, it’s low in protein.
At only 16 grams per burrito, you’d need to eat at least two to get a decent dose of protein, which would mean ingesting far too much of the wrong kind of carbs. Stick with low-fat (2 grams), high-protein (28 grams) beef jerky and a small (1.7-ounce) bag of Corn Nuts, which boasts 20 grams of slow-burning carbs (corn is fairly low on the glycemic index) and just 5 grams of fat. So, the answer is A.