Choose This Instead of That: Part 2 Foods
By Nurse Kimberly
Because many popular food choices are not the healthiest it is necessary to find replacements for them or make adjustments when cooking them. Eat this not that has become a theme in creating healthier lifestyles. Shows like The Biggest Loser and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution that aired this past year presented ways to prepare the foods you love in a healthy way.
What are some of the most popular not so healthy foods that you eat and beverages that you drink? I did a little research and was shocked! Some of the foods and beverages I looked up had over triple the amount of sugar and calories I had estimated. In order to help families make healthier choices I decided to share what I found. This is Part 2 of “Choose This Instead of That”. Let’s learn the truth about some of our favorite foods!
Yo Quiero Taco Bell
Tacos, burritos, nachos, refried beans, and queso dip……..the list is endless! Some burritos have almost 1000 calories! If you are trying to watch your sodium intake, beware. Some of these food options have over 2500mg of sodium in one serving. But just like many other people, I love tacos too. Cooking at home is your best option for these favorites. When you dine at restaurants you don’t have the same control over how the food is prepared.
If you are out for a fiesta night make modifications to your order. Choose black beans instead of refried beans and hold the cheese and sour cream. Doing those two things will slash extra unwanted calories. If you are at happy hour watch out for those tangy margaritas. They are delicious! Delicious in this case comes with as many calories as the basket of chips on your table. If your dying to have one, order a small instead of fish bowl size and request extra ice and request fresh squeezed lime juice in place of the sugary lime syrup.
My personal favorite way to have tacos is at home. Instead of beef I use lean ground turkey. In place of cheese and sour cream I dice fresh lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, onion, and a green pepper while my meat is cooking. There are also flavored whole grain mini tortillas available. These are a great substitute for the flour and corn tortillas.
My advice on pizza is either prepare it yourself or limit your serving to one slice. One slice of pizza at Pizza Hut, Dominos, or Papa Johns can have up to 700 calories or more! This favorite also is packed with sodium. Not such a good choice if your heart is in bad shape or if you have high blood pressure! Next time you order pizza ask for thin crust, light cheese, and veggies for your toppings.
If you can, make pizza at home. You can provide your family with the perfect My Family Plate ABCD plate. Buy a round whole grain flat bread, fresh veggies, low sodium pizza sauce, part-skim mozzarella cheese, and a lean protein. Personally, I think lean turkey sausage tastes wonderful on home made pizza. Your home made pizza provides your family with veggies, whole grain, and protein. Add some fresh fruit on the side and you have a perfectly quick and nutritious meal.
Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger.
In this category I chose to pick on three of the most popular places to get a cheeseburger.
We will pick on Burger King to get things started. Burger King is home of the Whopper. It’s a yummy mess and weighs in at 670 calories without cheese! If you turn you whopper without cheese into a medium size value meal with a coke and fry the calorie count increases to 1400 calories! That’s more than some people need in a day. Eating at Burger King frequently is not good for weight loss and weight management. The unhealthy fat and high sodium content in these types of foods ultimately contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other unwanted health consequences.
Moving on let’s take a look at McDonalds Big Mac. The sandwich alone has 540 calories. If you add on a medium coke and medium fry your looking at 1130 calories. Since we are talking about McDonalds let’s take a look at the nutrition facts about their all time famous kids happy meals. One 4 piece chicken nugget happy meal with a small fry and small chocolate milk has 580 calories. A small cheeseburger happy meal with a small fry and chocolate milk has 700 calories. Kids shouldn’t be worried about calories. Kids should however be eating nutrient dense foods. How about a hamburger without the cheese, replace the fries with apples, add a small salad, and instead of sugary chocolate milk skim milk or water. That is a healthy and nutritious meal for a child made the way pediatric dieticians recommend.
Last but not least White Castle, what you crave. One cheeseburger is not that bad. It only has 170 calories. If you eat 4 of them ( it’s easy to do) you are looking at 680 calories. Make it a double cheeseburger and you have 300 calories for 1 and 1200 calories for 4 of them. Most of the time fish is a great choice, but not at White Castle. One fish sandwich has 340 calories. And if you want to add a side dish to your cheeseburger the medium onion ring has 480 calories and their medium fry has 370 calories. This makes it very easy to see how someone who eats here on a regular basis could become obese, develop heart disease, and have stroke stage blood pressure!
If you love whoppers, have one. Everything is good in moderation just don’t make it a weekly habit. At home I make burgers from time to time. Just like the tacos, I purchase lean ground turkey and grill them on a bar-b-que pit. Add lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, ketchup, mustard, and a whole grain bun and you almost have a flame grilled whopper. The healthy version without the mayo, cheese, and white bun.
I love cheeseburgers! But I also value my health now. Seeing so many patients suffer in the hospital over the past 6 years from chronic diseases triggered by their obesity has really make me take my health seriously. This article is meant to be informative and provide information. Many people have no clue about many of the foods they eat and how damaging those foods can be to their health. So next time you are tempted to order something in a drive thru, take a second to think about what you are ordering. If it’s a splurge day, no worries. But if you are trying to be healthier, lose weight, control heart disease you may want to make something at home. Has the nutrition information of any foods you love been shocking? If so, let me know! Pass this information along. It’s good to be aware of what your eating!
If you missed it! PART I: Choose This Instead of That: Foods