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“Healthy” Fast-Food = Fat Food

By now, most of us know that a burger, fries and a Coke for lunch, (even if your burger has veggies on it and your Coke is Diet Coke) is not the wisest fast-food lunch option if you at all care about your health. So in recent years, fast-food chains have added healthier items to their menus. From fresh salads to grilled chicken breast sandwiches, most of them have done OK with giving us a healthier selection of fare to choose from.

But oftentimes, a name is truly deceiving.  Enter Lisa Lillien, the creator of the Hungry Girl website and cookbook, to crack open some of the misnomers of fast-food “healthy” eating.

According to Lillien, Quiznos Flatbread Chopped Salads are a calorie and fat nightmare! If you have ever chowed down on their Roasted Chicken with Honey Mustard Flatbread Salad, we have some alarming news for you: Your seemingly innocent lunch salad was packed with  74g fat and 1,110 calories! Are you still breathing?quiznos salad

And if you’re an Arby’s fan, you’ve been duped if you think that eating one of their Market Fresh Sandwiches was a free ticket to indulge in dessert later on in the evening. The Roast Turkey and Swiss weighs out to be 708 calories and 30g fat with over 300 of the calories coming from the bread alone. Yikes!

So what should you do? Lillien suggests a number of lunch tricks that will save you heaps of calories, fat grams and even money. From eating one of Subway’s Fresh Fit 6-inch sandwiches to packing your own lunch, where you have control over the ingredients used and the portions, are just two ways to prevent a lunch disaster.

Subway

If you must dine at a fast-food restaurant for lunch, most every chain has a few fresh salad options.  Opt for this rather than a greasy burger. But be careful with the dressing or adding fried chicken, cheese, or croutons to your mound of greens. Opt for the low-fat dressing or skip the dressing entirely and choose grilled chicken breast and leave the extra cheese and croutons out.

Eating lunch should be a fun and enjoyable break in your day, but it should not break your waistline as well. If you know ahead of time where you are going for lunch, scope out the restaurant’s website for their nutrition information. Plan ahead what you’re going to eat, right down to what kind of drink you are going to have. This will prevent you from succumbing to temptation, even if the rest of your dining partners are chowing down on fries and milkshakes. You will thank yourself.

Don’t forget to use another great resource, Eat This, Not That offers pages of insight on where to dine and restaurants to avoid.

September 11th, 2008

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