Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eat This, Not That--How To Keep Thin[ner]

As a follow-up to our recent posts on the obesity epidemic, we thought we'd point our readers to a helpful website that provides insight to proper portions and hidden calories in restaurant meals.

[We also note data released by the federal government suggesting that the rate of childhood obesity has plateaued, albeit at a Himalayan level.]

The website is sponsored by Men's Health and is called "Eat This, Not That." The editors review various chain restaurant meals, give you the gory details on how bad they are, and suggest alternatives.

What we like about this site is that they don't tell you useless things like "eat a plain turkey sandwich with no condiments in place of a double-cheeseburger." Yes, we all know that; but the plain turkey just doesn't taste that good.

Instead, they alert you to seemingly healthy dishes--such as the Cosi Signature Salad--that are in fact packed with calories, fat and sodium, and then suggest an alternative at the same restaurant that might still be tasty. (We had kind of suspected that those delicious Cosi salads weren't particularly healthy.)

They'll also send you a free weekly email newsletter with their latest tips. In today's email, we learned that the Albacore Tuna Panini Melt at Einstein's Bagels--which sounds healthy enough--has far more calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium than the Albacore Tuna Salad Sandwich on whole wheat at the same restaurant.

It's really pretty eye-opening, and sometimes shows that you'd be better off with the meal you crave than the seemingly healthier alternative.

If you're planning on a trip to a specific restaurant--say Applebee's--you can target your research to that chain's meals.

They also have some eye-popping lists of the "worst foods" in a whole lot of categories. For example, the Worst Breakfast is the Bob Evans Caramel Banana Cream Stacked and Stuffed Hotcakes (pictured here), with 1540 calories--the same as FIVE egg mcmuffins. You'd be better off with the Bob Evans Western Omelette at 654 calories.
We like the site for it's practicality--the editors know we all like food that tastes good, and realize we just need a little guidance to make better decisions, even if they aren't ideal.

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