Yesterday, I was able to attend a nutrition seminar held at the college I work at. I almost didn’t go but am glad I did because there was a lot of great info, which I knew I wanted to share with my readers.
The seminar was geared towards busy college students, and the goal was to show them what choices they have when eating out at places like McDonald’s, Applebee’s, etc. We all know what’s healthy and what’s not, but if you’re faced with a few not so healthy choices while out, would you know what to pick?
The nutritionist gave us 4 things to look out for when buying “fast-food” or dining out:
- Type of food
- Size of food
I’m sure you know that grilled chicken is better than “crispy” chicken sandwiches (aka fried), but do you know how much the difference is?
A KFC grilled chicken sandwich isn’t too bad…250 calories
A KFC extra crispy chicken sandwich is…510 calories!
Still not TOO bad compared to the stuff I’ll talk about in a bit.
This conversation started with mayo. I love mayo. My mom has been buying the olive oil Hellman’s recently in an attempt to get a “healthier” mayo. Well, guess what…it isn’t that much better! Mayo is made from soybean oil (the cheapest oil they can use) and the mayo that says “olive oil” actually only has a tiny, tiny bit of olive oil, and the rest is soybean oil. They basically put the minimum they can in it so that they can put “olive oil” on the label.
The good news is, she stated that, “unless you’re eating jars at a time, don’t worry about whether you get olive oil mayo, low-fat mayo, etc. They’re all basically the same.”
Next, let’s go through options for each meal of the day. Some of the stuff I will outline, you may already know, but it’s good information for those who may not know, and a good refresher for those who eat out!
The nutritionist said, “muffins are donuts for rich people.” They really have no nutritional value, even bran muffins, which you may think it does. You will eat it, and you will still be hungry, and that’s how your day goes downhill (eating wise).
Oatmeal > Muffins. A medium sized oatmeal is about 260 calories, and a bran muffin is 480 calories.
Next, ham > sausage. Always. Why? because it has less fat. Even 2 pieces of bacon is still better than sausage. An Egg McMuffin = 300 calories, and a Sausage McMuffin = 450 calories. She said that if you need to get breakfast while at a McDonald’s (obviously oatmeal is the best), the Egg McMuffin actually isn’t that bad.
SIDE NOTE: She told us that the Egg McMuffin has the ham on the top, and the Sausage McMuffin has the sausage on the bottom (of the egg) due to scientific research by McDonald’s about what the best way for the egg and meat to hit your tastebuds is. So weird…
Okay, lastly, let’s talk about omelettes. I believe this is from Applebee’s, but a Simple and Fit Omelette is only 330 calories. Not bad at all. But if you get the regular spinach and mushroom omelette, it is……….910 calories! I couldn’t believe that. I have ordered omelettes many a time at diners, thinking it can’t be that bad because it’s just eggs and stuff. The killer is the cheese. That is what adds a ton of calories. Think about that next time you want to order an omelette!
So you’re at Burger King..which do you choose? The Original Chicken Sandwich? Or the Double Hamburger?
If you’re like me, you may have thought the hamburger would be worse…but it’s actually half the calories of the chicken sandwich. 330 calories vs. 630.
Also, she talked about how fries really aren’t THAT bad if you get a small, and if you are really craving them. A small only has 230 calories. A large, however, has 500 calories.
Other great fast food options are:
- fruit & yogurt parfait
- side salad
- fruit dippers
- Wendy’s chili
- Wendy’s baked potato (not loaded)
If you’re going to a deli for a sandwich, the top 3 deli meats are:
- roast beef
As she mentioned, “if you can see the fat, then don’t eat it,” referencing salami.
“No 100 calorie snack pack will make you feel like you ate anything. You’ll just eat more snack packs.” Truth!
Here are some points she made on snacks:
- Nuts are good in moderation
- Lays will not fill your stomach, which is why you could eat a whole bag of them.
- Nature Valley granola bars are a great option. But any granola bar that has chocolate or yogurty dip/base is not.
- Fig newtons aren’t a bad snack option when in a pinch.
Keep a stash of these at home, at your desk, in your car if possible:
- Bars, such as Larabars which you can keep in your car for a while.
- Peanut butter
- Carnation Instant Breakfast. Not the best breakfast, but it’s something for on-the-go when you need it quick.
I love Larabars. They are all natural and have a lot of great flavors. I like having them when my sweet tooth strikes.
“Healthy sells.” Restaurants know this. They know you want to eat healthy, but that doesn’t mean the dishes are, in fact, healthy.
Let’s say you go to Applebee’s and get a salad. They actually have a salad on their menu that is 1,200 calories!! That’s almost as much as some people need to eat in an entire day. And that’s a salad. Make sure to check the ingredients. If it contains cheese, it will most likely have a lot of calories, because restaurants load it up with cheese to make it taste better. This applies to any dish.
She suggested also getting a sirloin as opposed to a chicken dish if you’re dining out. A sirloin can be served plain with a side. When is grilled chicken ever served just plain? It usually has cheese, sauces, it’s breaded, fried, etc.
What about if you want Chinese food?
- Dumplings if shell is thin
- Egg drop soup
- Sichuan dishes (less fat)
- Egg rolls
- Spare ribs
- General Tso (or any of those types of chicken)
- Sweet n’ Sour Chicken
- Lo Mein
- Fried Rice
How can you make it better?
- Skip the rice
- Steamed veggies
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know that Ben & Jerry’s is WAY higher in calories that normal ice cream. But it’s so good =(
A 1/2 cup of Eddy’s ice cream is 130 calories. A 1/2 cup of Ben & Jerry’s is 360 calories! And who eats only a half cup? I certainly don’t…
Here are some good dessert options if you have a sweet tooth like me:
- Luigi’s Italian Ice
- Klondike bars
- Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Skinny Cow ice cream
- Slim-A-Cow ice cream
So there you have it folks. A key thing I will remember when dining out is cheese! I actually wasn’t aware it was so high in saturated fat and calories.
Another key point to remember, that the nutritionist stated as well, as that eating things in moderation won’t kill you. Indulge if you want, just don’t eat the whole bag of chips or the whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Though I know that’s hard
I thought her seminar was very informative, and feel like I can make better choices if I’m out at a Burger King (which is rare but sometimes my friends want to go), or out to dinner.
What did you find interesting about this seminar? Did you learn something new?
What’s your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor? I love Half Baked!
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