Over the last few weeks, I’ve been tracking macros on MyFitnessPal. Initially, I was doing it to try and get back on Keto. (By “back on,” I mean I did it for two weeks before a vacation once.) Unsurprisingly, I bailed on Keto (nothing is low-carb enough!!!). and I then decided my #newyearnewme would be about counting macros instead. I’m currently using this calculator, which I found via this highly reliable fitness Instagram. I’m not even being sarcastic—there’s very good advice on there. My biggest challenge with macros so far has definitely been keeping my fat content in check. Within a week, I realized I knew way less about which foods are high fat than I thought. For example, I had a day of what I considered very healthy eating (salads! oats! grain bowls!), and then discovered my diet had been 60% fat. And this is why I have trust issues. So, I did some research into which of my “healthy” choices were causing that high fat content. I’m not talking about obvious fats—you should all know that baked goods are full of bad fats and avocados are full of good fats. These are the sources of fat you’re not as likely to guess as, say, a fried chicken sandwich or a BLT with mayo.
Disclaimer: Everyone’s dietary needs are different, and many diets may call for higher fat content. I am not advocating for a universal low-fat diet, so do not come for me. Rather, I am hoping this information may be illuminating to some of you (read: I don’t want to be the only one who didn’t already know all this).
I’ll be honest, I’ve never really known a lot about the nutrition content of falafel. It felt like a kind of dietary gray zone. Not as healthy as a vegetable, but probably better than cheese. Right? Not really. While trying to design a low-fat grain bowl at Tender Greens, I was pretty shocked to see that the steak topping was lower in fat than the falafel option. While falafel can be a healthy dish (the ingredients themselves are nutrient-rich), I’d somehow forgotten that it’s typically deep-fried. This adds, in scientific terms, a sh*t ton of fat to your meal. FWIW, the “baked falafel” option at Tender Greens was way healthier—but unless a menu specifies “baked,” you should assume it’s deep fried, and therefore higher in fat.
Tofu is a similar deal to falafel—it’s all about how it’s prepared. While tofu isn’t deep-fried quite as often as falafel (though still more often than you’d think), it’s really good at soaking up whatever it’s cooked in. And given that tofu on its own has just about zero flavor (it’s okay, we can all admit that), it’s usually cooked in a bunch of oils, sauces, etc. So tofu on its own? Low-fat, healthy option. But the way it’s usually prepared in restaurants can make it a higher-fat option than something like chicken.
Okay, this one errs more on the side of “foods we knew were high in fat.” But take a minute and actually consider how many “healthy options” feature nuts as a key ingredient. Protein bars that pride themselves on not adding sugar? Full of nuts. Overnight oats? Probably filled with nut butter (or WTF are you doing). Even a lot of salads and bowls will add nuts as a topping, plus, almonds are constantly touted as the ideal mid-afternoon snack. We also all know the problem with nuts—they are impossible to portion for how calorie-dense and fat-dense they are. And anyone who says they’re full after 6 almonds is a dirty liar.
So, while nuts are full of technically good fats, it’s still super easy to go over on your fat content goals if all the healthy options you’re choosing are nut-heavy. So if my breakfast included 2 tbsp of almond butter (18 grams of fat and it never feels like enough), maybe I don’t also have have a nut-based Lara Bar at 4pm (9 grams of fat), and snack on nuts at 6pm (19 grams of fat). That brings my fat content from nuts alone (not even the fun fats, like sauces and cheese and sugar) to 46 grams, when my daily goal is 48. (Let it be known that my total fat content for that day wound up being 90+ grams. This sh*t is hard!!!)
I know! I said this list would be about non-obvious sources of fat. Yet here I am basically listing the liquid form of fat and saying “surprise! This is fat.” Sue me, but also listen because this is probably the #1 thing that people forget to count in their diets. One tablespoon of olive oil has 14 grams of fat. One tablespoon of butter has 12 grams of fat. (The type of fat they offer is different. Here is a long article on different fats and how they affect you.) Even at home, I struggle to cook something edible using less than 2 tbsp of one of these. It can be super tempting to just log the one chicken breast you cooked in there, but unless you’re using a cooking spray, you have to account for the fats it absorbed.
Well, that’s the end of my tirade on fat, and now I never want to look at a nutrition label again! Remember, the worst thing you can do with your diet is eat in a way that makes you miserable, because you know that sh*t won’t last. My fat content is still way too high most days, but I’m figuring out what a low-fat day I can live with looks like. At least it’s not Keto!
We’re not getting paid to say this, but whichever betch invented Sweetgreen is fucking brilliant. I mean, we’ve been eating salad at least twelve times a week forever, but Sweetgreen has managed to make us look somewhat normal for doing so.
For those of you who live under a rock—or like, in Kentucky or something—Sweetgreen is the holy grail of salad bars. Not only do the salads actually taste delicious, but the lunch line is literally longer than the one for Kanye’s Soho pop-up shop and is usually filled with a mix of trendy models and college interns picking up a Kale Caesar for like, the CEO of Twitter. Ordering is an artform, so you don’t want to fuck this up. Here’s how to navigate Sweetgreen like a betch:
First things first: get the app. The only things betches hate more than mixed-in dressings are long lines and human contact, so the Sweetgreen app is the best thing ever. You literally compile your salad, click to pay, input a pickup time, and show up. The only downside to ordering in advance is that they don’t mix in the ingredients for you, and shaking it yourself is exhausting. It’s still worth it though—and a good arm workout. At least, that’s what I tell myself after 17 straight days of avoiding the gym. Irregardless, at 1pm, your lunch is waiting for you on a wooden shelf and you didn’t even have to talk to one person in the process. The magic of modern technology.
The Warm Bowls
We usually opt for a customized salad, but the predetermined warm bowls are a respectable choice when you’re in a rush and can’t start weighing the pros and cons of romaine versus arugula. Kendrick Lamar collaborated with SG last year on their Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe bowl which we miss dearly, but the new selections are sick too. The Harvest Bowl is a go-to when you need a carb boost, and the Guacamole Greens is perfect if you’re craving Chipotle (but obviously it’s better for you).
The Custom Order
Customizing your own salad is a fucking science. A few basic rules: mix different types of lettuce, always get the sweet potato, only get the portobello mushrooms if they’re super dark, and try whatever’s in season. Sweetgreen prides itself on having ingredients straight from the farm, so take advantage of that because God knows the only time a betch will get close to a farm is if she gets forced into shoveling cow shit on a Bachelor group date.
The proteins at Sweetgreen are the icing on the cake, minus all the icing and all the cake because well, it’s salad. We recommend the chicken if you’re basic AF, but their sesame tofu is dope if you’re vegetarian—as long as you promise not to talk about it. The salmon is a staple too but make sure you ask for it separately so they don’t toss it in with the rest of the ingredients and fuck it up. Honestly, you can’t go wrong, and their cheese is good if you’re willing to eat dairy and you’re starving yourself. You don’t fuck with a girl and her feta salad post-spin class. You also don’t judge her (to her face) for saying yes to the bread.
If we were ordering at any other establishment, we’d obviously look down at anyone opting for dressing on their salad, and instead ask for a sprinkle of fresh lemon or a gust of wind. However, Sweetgreen’s dressings are actually made fresh everyday and there’s no shit in them. The Cucumber Tahini Yogurt is almost too creamy to be legitimately healthy, and yet it is. The Miso Sesame and Pesto are other go-to’s, or go for the Spicy Cashew if you want the heat. You really can’t go wrong, but don’t expect to find any of that Ranch or Thousand Island bullshit here. I mean, you can try Sears.