What you put in or on your burrito, sub, smoothie, latte, pizza, bagel, or plate of fast-Chinese food matters. Here are a few examples of how to slash the calories and boost the nutrients. Talk about a win-win.
At Panera, a (partly) Whole Grain Bagel and cream cheese (520 calories) plus a 16 oz. Caramel Latte with no whip or caramel drizzle (320) means 840 calories for breakfast.
Instead, order an Avocado, Egg White & Spinach Breakfast Sandwich on a (partly whole grain) Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat (320 calories without cheese) plus a Latte with skim milk (100).
Voilà! You jettison half the calories, three-quarters of a day’s saturated fat, an estimated 6½ teaspoons of added sugar, and 340 milligrams of sodium. And you gain a few leafy greens and some healthy (unsaturated) fat in the avocado.
- Get the app. Panera lets you customize your order—and see how that changes calories, etc.—on your smartphone or at kiosks in most stores.
- Salad up. Salads beat sandwiches because you trade bread for veggies. You’ll cut the amount of dressing in half if you order it “light.” Or try the reduced-fat balsamic vinaigrette or another lower- calorie dressing.
- Stick to the right side. The apple (80 calories) easily beats the chips (150) or baguette or roll (170 to 190).
Think smoothies are healthy? At Jamba Juice, a medium (22 oz.) Amazing Greens Smoothie packs 500 calories, thanks, in part, to the sugary liquids—lemonade and peach juice—that Jamba adds to the greens, peaches, bananas, and pumpkin seeds.
A few of Jamba’s smoothies skip those liquids. That lets you halve the calories
with, say, a small (16 oz.) Green Up ‘N Go Smoothie (apple, nonfat greek yogurt, cucumber, baby spinach, grapes, pumpkin seeds, and lemon juice).
- Downsize. A small is around 200 to 400 calories. A medium typically is 300 to 500. Most larges run 400 to 600.
- Skip the juice & sugar. Jamba lets you replace the fruit juice with 2% milk, and the frozen yogurt or sherbet with nonfat greek yogurt (to bump up the protein). Smoothie King and Tropical Smoothie Cafe add turbinado sugar to many of their smoothies. It’s no better than any other sugar.
Pieology, MOD Pizza, Blaze Pizza, and other assembly-line places let you pick one of the restaurant’s combos or choose your own crust, sauce, and as many toppings as you like (typically all for one price).
At Pieology, a Mad to Meat You pizza (pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, mozzarella, red sauce) will set you back 1,050 calories. But you can get down below 500 by eating half of the right Custom pie. Ours had red sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, green bell peppers, red onions, and fresh basil on a whole wheat crust (Pieology won’t say what percentage is whole).
- Eat just half (or go mini). At Pieology, the (11.5”) crust alone—whole wheat or white flour—delivers 460 calories, much like Blaze’s (400) and MOD’s (490). But MOD’s mini (6”) crust has just 210 calories. For a gluten free crust, add roughly 50 to 150 calories to your full-size pie.
- Pile on the veggies. Raw veggies are freebies. (Skip the salty olives and pickled jalapeños.) Add a roasted veggie or two (if you find any), plus a handful of fresh basil after baking.
- One cheese, please. It takes about 300 calories’ worth of mozzarella to cover a full-size crust. That’s plenty.
- Think red. Tomato sauce has fewer calories than pesto or (artery-clogging) alfredo sauce.
- Try a side salad. Skip the salad’s cheese. (There’s cheese on your pizza.) Or split a pizza and a larger salad with a friend.
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