Five Fast Food Fixes

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by Jennifer Reisinger

Do you try to make healthy choices when you eat fast
foods, opting for salads, grilled chicken and anything

Good for you - but do be careful, as you could be doing
yourself a disservice with a "healthy" choice. It's sad
that the best intentions can backfire like this, but a
little knowledge will go a long way in protecting your
waistline, so do read on!

To make sure you are not getting more calories and fat than
you realize, check out the following comparisons - the put
your newfound knowledge into practice.

01. Veggie Wrap vs. Veggie Pizza

The better of these two is the Veggie Pizza. A slice of
Pizza Hut Veggie Lover's pizza has only 200 calories and 8
grams of fat. A Fields and Feta Wrap at Au Bon Pain has
560 calories and 17 grams of fat. In this case, a slice of
vegetable pizza is a much better choice. Wraps often have
gobs of cheese, lots of oily dressing and a wrapper bigger
than a dinner plate. By comparison, a single slice of
veggie pizza is a smaller, healthier quantity of the same
types of food.

Alternative choice: Order a wrap, but eat half and toss the
rest. Better it goes in the waste can than on your waist!
Or, look for wraps made with raw vegetable, one or two
slices of cheese and mustard instead of mayonnaise or oil.

02. Hamburger vs. a Bowl of Chili

This is a tough one. Most weight conscious people avoid
hamburgers, but that isn't always necessary. You might be
surprised to learn that a McDonald's hamburger, with 280
calories and 10 grams of fat, is a much better deal than an
order of Taco John's Texas-Style Chili, with a whopping 380
calories and 22 grams of fat. But a small chili at Wendy's
has only 210 calories and 7 grams of fat, so it is the best
deal of all, especially since the beans give it 5 grams of
healthy fiber. The lesson to be learned with chili is
this: Do not assume all chili is low calorie. Most fast
food chains have Web sites where you can check nutrition
information. Of course, if you do choose chili, go easy on
the cheese topping, or sour cream. They send the calorie
and fat content through the roof.

03. Taco Salad vs. Taco

The taco is by far the best choice. Salad simply is not
always synonymous with "skinny". A Taco Bell Salad with
salsa has a staggering 850 calories and 52 grams of fat,
while an order of Taco Supreme at Taco Bell, with basically
the same ingredients, is a mere 210 calories and 14 grams
of fat. In this case, portion size is the main factor.
Almost half of the calories in the taco salad come from the
super-sized taco shell it is served in. Take a good look
at the ingredients before you choose that "low calorie"

04. Grilled Chicken Salad vs. Grilled Chicken Sandwich

While both choices have basically the same ingredients
(lettuce, chicken, onions, tomatoes, and croutons/bread),
the better of the two is the grilled chicken salad.
However, many choose the salad over the sandwich thinking,
mistakenly, that the bun will ruin their diet. However,
bread is not the enemy. In fact, these items come out
surprisingly similar in calories, though the salad wins by
a nose. A McDonald's Chicken McGrill sandwich with
mayonnaise has 450 calories and 18 grams of fat. A
McDonald's Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with one package of
Caesar dressing and one package of croutons has 300
calories and 16.5 grams of fat. Beware: The theory that
any salad is low calorie is totally false. The addition of
croutons drenched in oil, gobs of salad dressing send
calories and fat soaring. For example, the Grilled Chicken
Caesar salad with 2 ounces of dressing at Chili's has 660
calories and 32 grams of fat. Tip: Never eat salad with
the dressing mixed in. Keep dressing on the side and use
the dip-spear-eat method: Dip your fork in and out of your
dressing so a little bit clings to the tines. Then spear
some salad and eat. By doing this, you will not eat all of
your dressing, but you will enjoy the dressing's added

05. Ice Cream vs. Frozen Yogurt

This one is easy, isn't it! Frozen yogurt is often lower
in calories than regular ice cream, but the key here is not
to eat too much. Depending upon the sugar content frozen
yogurt can have enough calories to put a serious dent in
anybody's weight control program. For example, two scoops
of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Frozen Yogurt
contain 320 calories and 4 grams of fat. By comparison,
two scoops of Ben and Jerry's Original Chocolate Fudge
Brownie Ice Cream contain 460 calories and 22 grams of
fat. So frozen yogurt saves you some calories and a lot of
fat, but it still has enough calories to be a special-
occasion only food. In ice cream and frozen yogurt shops,
always ask what the calories are - don't' just assume they
are all low in calories and fat. Be careful with the
toppings, too. Piling on sprinkles, M & M's and candies
can add loads of fat and calories.


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