Two out of three adults living in the United States are overweight or obese. So, it’s not surprising that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions.
However, eating out can sabotage the best of efforts to gain control of weight and health. Do you know what you’re ordering? Take the following test and see where you stand.
1. Which sandwich has fewer than 500 calories?
a. Tuna wrap b. Tomato and fresh mozzarella c. Turkey
2. Which breakfast has about half the calories of the others?
a. Belgian waffle and fruit topping b. Two eggs and 1 slice buttered toast c. 3 slices French toast and syrup d. Eggs Benedict
3. Which Italian dish has fewer than 800 calories?
a. Fettuccine Alfredo b. Spaghetti with meatballs c. Eggplant Parmesan d. Cheese ravioli
4. Which side dish has at least twice the calories of the others?
a. Mashed potatoes with gravy b. Rice pilaf c. Buttered baked potato d. Coleslaw
1. Turkey has fewer calories (350) than a tuna wrap (600) or tomato and fresh mozzarella (700). Calories start to climb if you add cheese, mayo, guacamole or sauce. For low calorie flavor, add mustard or, better yet, veggies.
2. Two eggs, scrambled, and a slice of buttered toast (430) have fewer calories than eggs Benedict (700), three slices of French toast with syrup (800), or a Belgian waffle with fruit topping (800). To avoid eating 400 milligrams of cholesterol in the eggs, choose egg whites or scrambled egg substitute.
3. A plate of cheese ravioli typically has about 600 calories, fewer than the eggplant Parmesan (800), spaghetti with meatballs (1,200), or fettuccine Alfredo (1,500). They all have at least half a day’s portion of saturated fat. For a lower fat choice, split an order of pasta with red sauce.
4. A buttered baked potato typically has about 400 calories, double that of coleslaw, rice pilaf, or mashed potatoes with gravy (200 each). Higher calorie choices include French fries (600), loaded baked potato (600), and onion rings (900). You’ll get fewer calories by choosing steamed veggies.
The above calorie amounts are averages and will vary depending on preparation and serving size. Many menu items are large portions so consider sharing with a friend or taking the remainder home. Ask the restaurant for nutrition information (sometimes this information is provided on the website).
One of the best bets to reducing caloric intake is to take your meals back to the kitchen. I’m not referring to “to-go meals” but cook and eat-at- home meals. Find short cuts to preparing healthy meals that are tasty, simple and healthy. Save the eating out for special occasions or when you simply can’t pull off a meal at home. Reintroduce yourself to your kitchen this year.
The following dish can be prepared in less than one hour, add in a green salad and a piece of fruit and you’ve got dinner – at home.
(Source: Dining on A Dime, January 2014, Erin Henry and Mary Meck Higgins, KSU Extension)
1 pound extra lean ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
3 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 15-oz. cans small red beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
½ cup tomato paste
1 ½ cups dry elbow macaroni (try whole wheat)
½ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1. Spray a 4-6 quart saucepan or large skillet with non-stick vegetable spray; add ground meat, onions, garlic, chili powder, and green pepper. Chop up meat and stir until meat is cooked through (165 degree F).
2. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni following package directions, omitting salt.
3. Add the drained and rinsed beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste to the ground meat mix. Bring the sauce to a boil, and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if sauce becomes too thick.
4. Combine cooked macaroni and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook over low heat until cheese melts.
Nutrition Facts per 1 ½ cups (makes 10 servings)…250 calories, 5 grams fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 490 sodium, 33 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 19 g protein.
(Source: Quick and Easy Meals for Less! University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension)
Lori Wuellner is a Wyandotte County Extension agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, K-State Research and Extension, 1216 N. 79th St., Kansas City, Kan. Telephone 913-299-9300, email firstname.lastname@example.org.