Special Diet: Balanced

What it means

All of last year, I ate Chick-fil-A nearly every day, downed can after can of carbonated intoxicants and gained nearly 30 pounds. To my chagrin, there was no award for nearly doubling the ‘freshman 15,’ only an unhappy girlfriend and a shocked family. As the summer approached, I began a rigid calorie-restrictive diet in which I ate only the calories and nutrients I needed to stay healthy and consistently lose weight.

Since beginning my diet, I have logged every gram I consume into the online Livestrong MyPlate system, where I am given my daily amounts of fiber, sugar, protein, fat, carbohydrates and cholesterol. I have 1,800 calories that I must consume daily. It’s almost like blackjack: I try to get as close to my limit without going over. This week was no different, though my expectations were far from the results I obtained.

J Street options

For a week I’ve been eating J Street almost exclusively. The adjustment has been a strain on my calorie-restricted diet, but I’ve made some stunning revelations.

Though my carbohydrate intake was higher than usual, there was no discernible difference in fat consumption, high-protein consumption and variety of food. The good news: J Street provides enough nutrients to fill your daily caloric and nutritional intake. The bad news: There is a huge lack of high-calorie, non-grain healthy proteins. J Street does have healthy, low-calorie foods: fruits, vegetables and a delicious salad bar with fresh chicken and ham. What makes up the high-calorie options? Fried fish, barbecue chicken and concotions of healthy poultry slathered in cheese or sauce all make frequent appearances on the menu.

My biggest complaint: Where are the healthy snacks that can help me stay within my restrictions without eating a loaf of bread every day? Where are the nuts? Sure, there’s hummus, rice and beans, but I need something to chew on, something that I can take to-go and that will give me energy later.

The bottom line

If you can’t maintain a healthy diet eating only at J Street Café, it’s your fault and your fault alone.

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