I am a junk food junkie. I like my food fast – if not immediately – and I hate to cook. I also unfortunately resemble a very round pigeon. There is a connection between the two, I know. That’s why I was so happy to come upon these 13 tips that will help me cut calories when I order out.
All these tips are courtesy of Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko. It’s a quick read, it’s easy to follow, and sized to fit in your purse (if, like me, you favor enormous bags).
1) My favorite sandwich at Quizno’s, the small Chicken Carbonara, has approximately 755 calories. OUCH! Alas, that means it’s no longer my favorite Quizno’s sandwich. Instead, I am learning to love the Quizno’s small Honey Bourbon Chicken on wheat bread (310 calories).
2) A two-scoop chocolate and vanilla hot fudge sundae from Baskin-Robbins is 530 calories. Yes, I know it sounds like a lot, but some hot summer nights a gal just has to go for ice cream! And it’s better for you than the BR Strawberry Shake, which is 650 calories. Who knew?
3) The Cosi Tuna Melt looks, smells and tastes delicious, but it's also an amazing 1,012 calories. Hell, for that I could have TWO hot fudge sundaes! My second favorite Cosi selection is the Turkey and Brie Sandwich. It's 772 calories and the book's author discourages it. But hey, it's still more than 300 calories less than the melt!
4) Is there an Au Bon Pain nearby? A quick trip over there in the afternoon is infinitely better for you than a trip to the office vending machine. The Small Vanilla Yogurt and Blueberries and Granola will satisfy your sweet tooth and at 310 calories it’s a much better bet than a candy bar. Most full-sized bars come in at about 300 calories, too, but they aren’t loaded with calcium and ant-oxidants.
5) Do you stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast? Forget the Multigrain Bagel, even with Lite Cream Cheese. It’s 500 calories and loaded with fat. I was surprised to learn that Ham, Egg and Cheese Muffin Sandwich – which I had previously, incorrectly dismissed as fatty and greasy – is only 310 calories with 1/3 less fat.
6) A stop at Burger King for the Egg & Cheese Croissanwich is even better for your diet. It’s only 300 calories. If you prefer Mickey D’s (and I do), the Egg McMuffin is also 300 calories.
7) I know, I know. There are a million reasons not to eat at McDonald’s. But sometimes I just must, MUST have one of their burgers. A Quarter Pounder is just 410 calories. I know that sounds like a lot, but a Big Mac is 540 calories and a BK Whopper is 760. So in fast-food burger context, a QP isn’t so bad.
8) I love KFC Honey Barbecue. And it’s OK! The Honey Barbecue Snacker is just 210 calories. Hurray!
9) Not everything on the Jamba Juice menu is good for your diet. Fortunately, my favorite, the Berry Fulfilling smoothie, is just 260 calories, but the harmless-sounding Aloha Pineapple is 500 calories. So choose carefully.
10) My mom loves The Olive Garden. If you end up there with your mom, I recommend the Shrimp Primavera. First of all, it’s not bad. Secondly, it’s 706 calories. Within the Olive Garden universe, that’s also not bad at all. The Mixed Grill with Vegetables sounds like it would be better for your diet, but it’s 839 calories and has more than double the fat.
11) I don’t have to change my Taco Bell habit at all. Two Soft-Shell Tacos are just 340 calories. (Be careful, though; they’ll try to sell you the three taco meal because it’s a better deal.) However, if you love the Baja Beef Chalupa, you may wish to rethink your ordering choice. It’s 410 calories and double the fat.
12) My two favorite sides from Boston Market are at the two ends of the spectrum. The Green Bean Casserole is terrific and just 60 calories. The Squash Casserole is to die for, but it’s (shiver) 320 calories. I guess those marshmallows on top should have given me a clue …
13) Those Arby’s Market Fresh Sandwiches sure look like they’re better for you, don’t they? Well, looks are deceiving. A traditional Super Roast Beef Sandwich is 440 calories, while the Roast Beef and Swiss Market Fresh is 810 calories!
It could be very useful calorie companion as you grocery shop, too.
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