Avoiding a Super-Sized Belly
Why do you eat fast food? ďItís good food,Ē said 16-
year-old Junior and many other teens when asked this
question. In our modern world fast food is convenient,
tasty and cheap, which is why 1 in 4 Americanís eat
fast food every day. You can get it on the go in your
car or dine in and chill with your amigos. Fast food
may be low in cost, but it is high in calories, sodium
and fat, according to www.helpguide.org, a website
focusing on healthy living. Eating fast food is also
one of the main contributors to the obesity epidemic
in America now.
Yet most teens donít care how many calories we
consume. We just eat. Itís like 16 year old Rudy
said, ďI donít think about the calories, but itís not
like Iím eating a bucket of mayo.Ē How can we stay
away when there are so many commercials on TV just
tempting us with those huge mouth-watering quarter
pound cheeseburgers and taquerias are on every block?
Whether for convenience or temptation, many people eat
out once in a while. So how can you eat out and not
consume an entire days worth of recommended calories?
Itís actually fairly simple. All you have to do is
follow some simple rules.
Scenario A: Every fast-food station
Rule #1 NO Super Sizing - Helpguide.org says to
keep portion control in mind. Most restaurants and
fast food joints normally give you too much. The
portions at fast food restaurants have steadily grown
since 1977, according to researchers at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The average size of
a hamburger has grown to 7 ounces, which is nearly 100
extra calories. Soft drinks, which are filled with
many calories, also went from more than 13 ounces to
almost 20 ounces-a 49-calorie increase. And those
medium fries at McDonaldís that may seem insignificant
contain 450 calories and 22 grams of fat. You should
order the small size of whatever you can so that you
can eliminate the temptation of overeating.
Nutritionist Melissa De Vera of Dominican Hospital
suggests that you at least take half of your meal
home. Another suggestion is share. When you share your
food the portion size you were eating automatically
becomes smaller. Besides, sharing is caring.
Rule #2 NO Mayonnaise - Most fast-food spots
pile the mayo on, so ask for your burger without it.
Or, if you like the mayo, at least take some of the
mayonnaise off with the napkin or something. The same
goes for salad dressing. If you like salad dressing
order it on the side along with any of your favorite
sauces. Most sauces and condiments can contain up to
170 calories and up to fifteen grams of fat per
serving (thatís a lot for just one sauce). If you
order these on the side you can always control how
much you consume.
Rule #3 LOW Fat- De Vera says if you are eating
a salad you should eat with fat free dressing or
reduced fat dressing. She also suggests that if you
must have soda you should stick to diet (water and
milk are the best choices though). When I say low fat
Iím also talking about the fried foods. Help Guide
suggests for you to try grilled, baked, broiled,
roasted, poached or steamed foods, rather than the
Scenario B: Chinese take out
You decide that you want to eat some healthy food but
you donít want to cook. Hey, Chinese seems healthy
since it has a lot vegetables. You step in and order
some sweet and sour pork along with chicken chow mien
and an egg roll. Your friend next to you orders some
stir-fried vegetables, with some broccoli and beef.
Who is eating healthy and who is not? Sorry to say
this but neither of them are.
Most Chinese food dishes contain more sodium than you
should eat in an entire day said Jayne Hurley and
Stephan Schmidt of the Virginian Pilot. Still, you can
make this food better by adding steamed rice to
balance your meal out. If you add steamed rice
remember that there is more food on the plate so take
it home. Yet there are other small things that you can
do. You can sop up some grease off an egg roll if you
roll it in a napkin. You can also take off the
breading on the sweet and sour pork. To make the beef
and broccoli more healthy you should ask for less beef
and more broccoli. Instead of having stir-fried
vegetables you could try them steamed.
Scenario C: Mexican
Mama didnít cook and you are starving. You know that
you want something delicious, something that your mom
would make at the house. You go into the local
taqueria and order a super beef burrito with refried
beans, cheese, rice, sour cream, and guacamole, served
with a side of chips. What a meal! But is it healthy?
No way Jose! Stay away from the refried beans, expert
De Vera proposes. Instead, opt for whole pinto beans
or black beans, since refried beans are cooked in
fatty oil or lard. And that Spanish rice typically has
about 300 milligrams of sodium in it, which is a third
of your recommended daily requirement. Also, look out
when it comes to those dishes with a lot of queso.
Cheese is very fatty. Ground beef also has a lot of
fat, so instead, aim for getting carne asada or
chicken, which is the healthiest option. You might try
eating some soft chicken tacos instead of beef since
the chicken is normally roasted or boiled. When
ordering beef tacos, order them soft. The hard shells
are fried and contain saturated fat. You should also
stay away from the tortilla chips says the Nutrition
Action Health Letter, they are high in fat and sodium.
You should also order the sour cream and guacamole on
the side. This is to control how much of these
condiments you put on your plate (donít put too much!).