Eat This Not That

In my last post I told you to save money on new books by dusting off and rediscovering old favorites. But if you’re going to buy one book this summer, I strongly suggest you buy this one:

Keep this book in your car and refer to it before you eat out. Basically it tells you what you should order at most major fast food and chain restaurants as well as what to choose when hitting the ball park, the mall, a super bowl party or having a beer with friends.

What this book taught me more than anything is that when eating out, common sense doesn’t always prevail. For example, if you find yourself at McDonalds wouldn’t you choose the grilled chicken sandwich over a burger to save calories and fat? Yea, me too. But guess what? That’s a bad idea because the quarter-pounder saves you 160 calories, 2 grams of fat and almost 1000 milligrams of sodium.

If you eat out often and want to lose weight, this book would aid you in your quest. In fact it’s marketed as a diet plan, although I view it as a resource that I can refer to when I find myself eating on the run. Written by the editor’s of Men’s Health Magazine there’s a companion Eat This Not That web site that you can peruse with lots of lists like the 20 worst foods in America and the top 125 grocery items but beware, there’s a lot of clicking required on this site. The top 125 grocery items are listed per category, so you must click on “best cereal” to find the best cereal instead of reading a list of 125 items.

When it comes to being healthy when eating out, the other thing that you can do is go online and download the nutritional information of your favorite restaurants, cafes and coffee houses. For example, if you go to Panera Bread every day and order the Chipotle Chicken on Artisan French Bread for lunch don’t kid yourself into thinking that because you ordered something with chicken in it, you’re suddenly Ms Health. That sandwich has over a 1000 calories and 50 grams of fat which is why many people are so damn frustrated. They think they’re making good choices and can’t figure out why they’re gaining weight yet they’ve never taken the time to investigate what it is that they’re eating.

Then there are the people that know that they’re making a bad choice, but feel as though they’re giving themselves a well deserved treat. It never occurs to them that they’re treat is so horribly bad for them. For example, I know someone that buys a Venti Caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream from Starbucks every day. At 500 calories and 16 grams of fat she has the potential to gain 1 pound per week just from this drink purchase. She’s knows that she’s not ordering a health food, but I doubt she realizes that this one treat per day risks adding 50lbs to her frame each year.

Look, if you want to run five miles to burn those 500 calories and keep your Starbuck’s habit, knock yourself out. But if you think that your frappuccino is just “a little treat” and not having a big impact on your diet and wonder why all of your running isn’t paying off, make sure that you’re aware of the math.

The bottom line: Don’t trust the food industry. Don’t assume that they’re looking out for your health and wellness. Their only requirement is to provide tasty food, fast and at a decent price. It’s not their job to provide you with a healthy option. Rather it’s your job to be a consumer of the information and find one for yourself. So if there are food and beverage items that you order frequently, you owe it to your arteries and waistline to get the low down on your favorite stomping grounds before your next fast food order. Eat This, Not That is an excellent addition to your health and wellness tool box to keep you grounded in reality and help you make better choices every time you leave the house.

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One response to “Eat This Not That

  1. Their suggestions are usually quite good. A good buy for sure.

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