Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Worst Foods at Chain Restaurants (and Better Choices)

Many of us have those days when cooking for the family is impractical or when they want to eat out. Let's face it - that gourmet burger, set of chicken nuggets and fries, or that pepperoni pizza can hamper our weight-loss efforts.

Well, I have good news for you. Whether you're eating from work or just eating out, here's my own list of some worst foods at various chain restaurants (not just fast foods).

All Meat Combo Pizza at Chuck E. Cheese

Pizza and entertainment really co-exist, but kid-friendly food can spell out waist-unfriendly. A good example is a slice of the All-Meat Combo pie from Chuck E. Cheese, which can set you back 240. But that's not all - it has 566 grams of sodium and 4 grams of saturated fat.

Not bad, but you'll likely eat another slice or two and you're on your way to a belly akin to Pasqually's (the Italian chef who plays the drums) if the pie's eaten regularly. Three slices can cost you 720 calories, 1698 milligrams of sodium, and 12 grams of sat fat. The pizza chain's main mouse's favorite leisure activity is skateboarding, but you* have a bit over two hours to do what he does for active time!

Better Choice: Want a Helen Henny-sized waist? Have a slice or two of a small BBQ Chicken pizza at your next outing at this joint with kids. It has 150 calories, 2 grams of sat fat, and 394 milligrams of sodium. Earn extra health tokens if you ask for half the amount of cheese and an order from the salad bar with a tablespoon of dressing.

A Full Rack of Ribs from Beef 'O' Brady's

Sports pubs are the last places you would find unhealthy items, or aren't they? Face it - there are tempting entrees to select, and the full rack of ribs is sure to please any sports fan. Consume all of it and you'll get a whopping 2239 calories, 47 grams of sat fat, and 4624 milligrams of sodium. Beef O'Brady's loves football, but fate forbid if you'd play the touch version for 3 hours and 45 minutes after eating this!

Better Choice: 3 out of 4 nutritionists recommend the Chicken Breast Dinner, which has 407 calories, 2 grams of sat fat, and 453 milligrams of sodium. Round it out with a fresh garden salad with a tablespoon of dressing and you'll increase your fiber as well.

Bacon and Cheddar Burger at LongHorn Steakhouse

Oh gosh, where do I start at this lofty and fatty LongHorn Steakhouse sarnie? Bacon and cheddar cheese are horrid burger toppings, gosh darn it! Oh, and if the 920 calories make your waist, hips, thighs, and heart scream, make them scream louder in agony for its 22 grams of saturated fat, three whopping grams of trans fat (Gah!), and 1230 milligrams of sodium.

There's a previous study from Denmark that found out that playing soccer burns more fat than jogging, but be prepared to play 2 hours of it after eating this!

Better Choice: Grab healthy eating by the horns with the LongHorn Salmon, (the 7 oz kind). Don't worry about the 13 grams of total fat (3 of them saturated), it's mainly omega-3 and other unsaturated ones. But the 300 mg of sodium and 290 calories are something to kick your heels up for joy! All it needs is a side of fresh steamed asparagus to round out a great meal.

It's possible to eat healthier and lose weight while eating out. Just don't do it more often and cook most of your meals at home, no matter how much it kills you.

*That's based on a woman who weighs 150 pounds, give or take!

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