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Youth Life!

Eating Out
Avoiding a Super-Sized Belly
Author: Cynthia Pťrez

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, 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 - 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 
fried foods. 
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!).