Posted by: Nina on Monday, April 3, 2017
The Illusive Hunt for Healthy Mall Food
Whether you're working at one of our 16 beautiful locations, or shopping at one of them, you're in a mall. And whether you'll be in the mall for a short time or a long time, you'll need to eat! Of course food packed from home will always be healthiest! But you can still make healthy, or at least healthier choices when braving the mall food court. Here are some tips to help make that happen!

At Oriental food places, opt for rice as opposed to noodles. Rice is a whole grain, where as noodles are often highly processed wheat, full of gluten that can jam your system.

Going for a salad? Ask for dressing on the side and only add what you will need. You can likely get all the flavour using only half of what they give you!

Enjoying a fresh-made sandwich or wrap? A stir-fry made in front of you? Ask for less sauce. Sauces are loaded with fat, and also a lot of sugar. Half or even a third of the amount and your food will still taste delicious.

Also at your favourite custom-made sandwich place, at the end when you are asked if you would like salt and pepper, ask for pepper only, no salt. A lot of sandwich proteins are already loaded with sodium/salt. Salts pull water from your system, and can make you bloat and retain water. While sodium is necessary for a healthy system, there's enough salt naturally occurring in your meal, you don't need to add any more.

Eat until you're satisfied. No friends are made forcing down food when you're already full. It's not fun to be regret-full (full to the point of regret).

Opt for proteins that are pan-fried or roasted as opposed to battered and deep-fried. Yes, Lemon Chicken and Ginger Beef coyly call to us. But if there is a meat option that is not breaded, give that a try, it might become your new favorite!

Enjoying a burger or sandwich that usually comes with fries? Opt for a baked potato if available! First off, it's baked and not fried so that's instantly a ton less fat! And secondly, the skin of a potato is full of fibre, and fibre is really good for keeping your system running smoothly.

Cheese please? No thanks. I love cheese, as does nearly everyone. But if you're looking to save some calories, omitting the cheese on your fast food meal is one of the easiest ways to do it. Sadly, bacon falls into the same boat.

Wherever you eat, ask for water to drink. Sugary drinks contain a ton of empty calories, and diet/lite/zero alternatives contain chemicals that can make the rest of your food taste less appetizing, meaning you crave more food in search of the satisfying flavour and end up consuming more. These effects can last for hours after your meal. Save money by bringing a reusable bottle and asking your lunch spot to fill it up for you!

Snacks can be a bit of a Trojan Horse because you figure it's something small, no big deal! Wrong. Some snacks are more sinful than others, and some have hidden nutrients!

Pretzels, although a favorite, have nothing healthy about them! Little balls or twists of processed-wheat dough, soaked in butter (full of fat), and then adding salt, or sugary topping on top, and dipping sauces are similarly full of fat and/or sugar.
How to make it healthier: Ask for the pretzel (or bites) to not be dipped in butter, and also ask for no toppings or sauces.

Smoothies can give a lot of nutrients, but keep a couple things in mind: when you're sipping, you're not chewing, so your body's metabolism doesn't kick-start the same as if you were munching through fresh fruit. Because of this, your body gets a surge of sugar, but doesn't start your metabolism to burn it off, and unused sugar gets stored as fat. Every place that makes smoothies has a different formula – some use fresh-made yogurt, and others save you sugar by not adding sorbet. But some others have a lot of sorbet, a thickening puree, or even pure liquid syrup added!
How to make it healthier: Go beyond the menu, and ask exactly what is going in to your smoothie. Leave out anything that seems like it won't give you any health or nutrient benefit.

A fancy frappa-latte from your favorite coffee company may seem like the perfect thing to tide you over to your next meal! But it's full of fat, and sugar.
How to make it healthier: Ask for it to be made with skim milk, and ask for it less-sweet. Going from 8 pumps of sugary syrup to 5 will not affect the flavour much, but will save you a few calories! Addicted to whip? Ask for a dollop of whipped cream on top so you can indulge without busting your belt.

A sweet treat from your favorite chocolate shop might just hit the spot!
A candy apple or frozen-chocolate-covered-banana may seem like too fancy to be healthy, but they pose something that few other snacks provide: a whole fruit. And while the toppings on either add sugar and fat, the whole fruit will leave you feeling fuller for longer. And because you're biting and chewing each mouthful, it will take longer to eat the snack, providing further feelings of satisfaction. And if pure chocolate is your flavour, remember that dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and often has much less sugar and less fat than milk chocolate.

When you're just a tad peckish, a hot drink can hit the spot! Whether your preferred drink is coffee or tea, try it plain/straight up and skip dairy, or opt for milk instead of cream. A hot drink will often feel more satisfying than a cold one, and it will take longer to finish, leaving you feeling more satisfied.
Sarah - Cornwall - Friday, April 7, 2017
Thanks for a new post Nina! Our location has at least a few healthy options. Taco time veggie soft taco, Freshii (expensive but certainly healthy), Sushi, edo veggies and rice, And we have a Zam Zams- they have middle eastern foods and the most delicious lentil soup.
Lisa - Saturday, April 8, 2017
Love the blog Nina!!! I've been working at Woodgrove for the past 2 weeks and filled my desire for all the unhealthy mall food. Now I am completely over it and crave more healthy options! A banana really gets me through the day. Those guys pack a punch of energy and fill me up! Thanks for the tips, I will think of them often!
Katelyn (Sunridge) - Wednesday, April 12, 2017
As a Diabetic (for the last 18 years of my life) This is literally my life. It's so hard sometimes, specially where our cart is by all the fatty food smells that drive me crazy. When I don't bring a lunch I try to stick with healthy foods. Like we have SUMO, Edo, Famous WOK, Thai Express, opa, Koryo and Freshii. Not to mention Jugo juice, and booster juice. So eating healthy is definitely a option here. Love this post tho!!
Chrissy - Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Excellent tips! I try and bring a salad or sandwich from home, but I do like to treat myself to mall food every now and again! I will keep these tips in mind to stay healthy! Thank you, Nina!
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