There are 8 things you might be doing, not realizing that you are putting weight on your body doing them. So, here they are!
1. Gourmet Coffee Drinks
A cup of black coffee is only 10 calories and has health perks, including a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. However, once you start adding the flavors and milks, you are adding sugar, calories and carbs. A Starbucks Frappucinos can pack major calories (we’re talking 450 or more and up to 63g of carbs), even a simple Iced Flavored Latte with two percent milk has 250 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 34 grams of sugar and up to 41g of carbs.
Order smarter: Watch your order size (the jumbo sizes can double the calories and fat over a small cup), ask for skim milk, and avoid options with sugary syrups. I personally stick with an Americano with less than 3g of carbs and it is Espresso with water. I add non-dairy creamer and Splenda. Divine.
2. Turkey Burgers
The weight-conscious person might choose a turkey burgers as a heart-healthy alternative to beef. But chain restaurant versions bring unwanted calories, fat, and sodium. Ruby Tuesday’s Turkey Burger, for example, has 699 calories, 39 grams of fat, and more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium–PLUS 48g of carbs.
Order smarter: Try cutting your burger portion by a third for a more realistic meal size. You can also eat half the bun to cut unwanted calories. I personally eat NO bun. I wrap it in Lettuce or dip it liberally in a sauce. You can order a small side salad with it and you will have less than 10g of carbs for everything.
3. Chicken Salads
Chicken salad is always a great choice. You get your protein and your vegetables, while still being filling. Beware of crispy add-ins and fatty dressings, which can quickly turn a healthy meal into a waistline train wreck. Burger King’s Tendercrisp Garden Salad, for example, has 410 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 1,060 milligrams of sodium. Measure for measure, you’re better off with a regular burger, at 260 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 490 milligrams of sodium. Another example: Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad with dressing, which contains a walloping 1,310 calories, 95 grams of fat, and 1,210 milligrams of sodium–with 42g of carbs.
Order smarter: Choose an option with dark greens, such as spinach, lots of raw, vibrant vegetables, grilled protein (avoid words like “crispy” and stay away from breaded anything), and have a vinegar type dressing on the side. You might be looking at less than 10g of carbs for the salad. I prefer the Chargrilled Chicken Salad at Chick Fil A at 11g of carbs. Watch out for the dressings though. Check the carbs on the bags. The ranch is super low in carbs.
4. Veggie Sandwiches
Surely a veggie sandwich must be healthier than one with sodium-, fat-, and preservative-filled deli meats. But even veggie sandwiches can be secret calorie, fat, or sodium when they’re loaded with cheese and oil. A foot-long Blimpie Veggie Supreme, for example, contains 1,106 calories, 56 grams of fat, 26 grams of saturated fat, and 2,330 milligrams of sodium (far more than the 1,500-milligram daily limit experts recommend). A Veggie Delight 6 inch Subway sandwich is 3 grams of fat, 520g of sodium, 230 calories–not bad so far, but it still has 44g of carbs because of the bun.
Order smarter: Ask for mustard instead of mayo or oil-based dressings and stick to a sensible six-inch portion. Honestly though, it is the bread. You are better off having a salad with or without meat than a veggie sandwich.
5. Baked Potatoes
Boasting plenty of vitamin C, folate and other B vitamins, fiber, iron, and potassium, a plain-old baked potato is a pretty healthy side dish. But at Wendy’s, the Broccoli and Cheese Potato contains 330 calories — pretty high for something you’re probably eating along with a main meal — and 470 milligrams of sodium. To blame: the “cheese” sauce, which is actually a blend of more than 20 ingredients, including food starch, sugar, fillers, and colors.
Order smarter: Skip fast-food cheese and sour cream. If you’re making a baked potato at home, top it with a quarter-cup of nonfat Greek yogurt for a mere 80 calories and a healthy protein punch. There are still about 27 to 63g of carbs in a single baked potato, depending on size. So, I am not sure it is worth it and it has a high number on the glycemic index. If you have to do a potato at all, consider sweet potatoes. Better on the glycemic scale and about 20g of net carbs in a medium-sized one.
6. Fruit Smoothies
Many Jamba Juice Original fruit smoothies contain 300 or more calories each; many creamy original smoothies pack around 500 or more — much higher than the 100- to 150-calorie-limit many nutrition experts recommend for snacks. They’re also loaded with extra sugar, up to 100 grams or more in some cases. A 16 ounce smoothie can have about 40g of carbs when made with Splenda and no ice cream, but some of them are almost 100g of carbs.
Order smarter: Avoid choices with “creamy” descriptions, which are less healthy than plain fruit. Ask if your smoothie can be made with low or nonfat yogurt, but greek yogurt is better and quite honestly, you are better off with some cut up strawberries in some greek yogurt to eat. I gave up smoothies. Fruit has a lot of carbs and there is a lot of fruit in a smoothie.
A seemingly smart snack pick — with a healthy dose of protein and calcium — a Strawberry and Blueberry Yogurt Parfait, a combo of vanilla yogurt, sweetened strawberries, and vanilla granola, contains 300 calories, 60 grams of carbs, and 39 grams of sugar. That’s almost like eating an oversized bagel. Some yogurts, even low-fat have a lot of carbs. Some are between 20 and 35g of carbs.
Order smarter: You’re best off stashing store-bought yogurt in your desk at work than ordering the fast food kind. A 6-ounce plain nonfat yogurt contains anywhere from 80 to 150 calories and 12 grams of sugar. If you do order yogurt in a restaurant, pick the smallest available portion and avoid the granola, which often has added sugar. You are also better off with Greek Yogurt. However, some have almost 30g of carbs and then there are some like Dannon Light and Fit, which has 8g of carbs.
In theory, oatmeal is an ideal breakfast— you can’t go wrong with whole grains and blood sugar-steadying fiber. But some super-sized fast food versions contain added sugar and excessive calories. McDonald’s Fruit and Maple version, for example, packs 290 calories and 32 grams of sugar, and up to about 40g of carbs.
Order smarter: Watch for high-calorie toppings. Skip the brown sugar to shave off empty calories, and stick with a few pieces of fruit and nuts. Watch the portion size too. Stick with a small cup.
Watch out for all of these so-called healthy fast foods, and you should do well. Happy Holidays.