Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nutritional tip

Fast Food Meals Under 500 Calories
10 extra-value meals that'll help you save cash and calories.
By Dave Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, Men's Health

Tough times call for desperate measures: Dollar menus and extra-value meals you once dutifully shunned are now starting to look pretty good. Sure, they’re bad for you, but, man, what a deal! That's the thought process fast food chains like McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut are banking on—literally. All of these companies have seen sales go up (as well as their customers' weight) this year. Considering the dismal economy, we don't blame you for eating less-than-healthy foods to save a few bucks. But we can't just stand here and watch you order the greasiest item on the menu, either. That's why Eat This, Not That!has compiled this list of 10 fast food meals under 500 calories.

Less than 500 calories at Burger King

Whopper Jr. without Mayo with Garden Salad and 10-oz Minute Maid Orange Juice

445 calories
12 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat)
520 mg sodium
Save 9 grams of fat by opting for barbecue sauce instead of mayo. At 80 calories a packet, BK's mayo is one of the worst in the fast food world. Still feeling hungry after the last bite? Order another Garden Salad. You'll still take in fewer calories than if you had consumed a small order of fries.

Less than 500 calories at Hardee's

Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Side Salad with Low Fat Balsamic Dressing

445 calories
7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat)
1,690 mg sodium

Barbecue sauce and a mound of fresh produce keep this meal in the safe zone. Just don't order a Carl's Jr. shake or malt, and you're good to go. Check out some of the other worst beverages in America here.

Less than 500 calories at Dunkin' Donuts

Ham, Egg & Cheese English Muffin Sandwich with English Breakfast Tea

350 calories
15 g fat (6 g saturated fat)
1,040 mg sodium
English muffins have a fraction of the carbohydrates of a bagel, and none of the trans fats of the donuts and croissants. The antioxidant-rich tea is also a great way to begin your day.

Less than 500 calories at Jack in the Box

Chicken Fajita Pita with Side Salad with Low-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, and a 20-oz Fresh Brewed Iced Tea

390 calories
13.5 g fat (5 g saturated fat)
1,650 mg sodium
Loaded with fresh veggies in a fairly harmless pita vessel, this is the healthiest entrĂ©e available at Jack's, hands down. Your biggest potential culprit here is in the salad dressing—the low-fat balsamic comes with 35 calories, but other decent-sounding options, like Asian Sesame Dressing and Lite Ranch add over 100 extra to your meal.

Less than 500 calories at KFC

3 Crispy Strips with Green Beans and 3" Corn on the Cob, and a Medium Diet Pepsi

475 calories
22.5 g fat (6 g saturated fat)
1,165 mg sodium
Order a side of green beans for a good source of vitamins K, A, and C—key players in maintaining strong bones and reducing cancer-causing free radicals.

Less than 500 calories at McDonald's

Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich with a Side Salad with Newman's Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette, and a medium iced tea

480 calories
13 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
1,945 mg sodium
Counting calories doesn't mean your meal is healthy. For example: the Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich matches the Quarter Pounder without cheese when it comes to caloric content—but the chicken has no trans fats, while the burger does. Choose the sandwich and side salad for a good combination of protein and veggies.

Less than 500 calories at Pizza Hut

Two Slices Thin 'N Crispy Pizza (12") with Quartered Ham & Pineapple, and a medium Diet Coke

360 calories
12 g fat (5 g saturated fat)
1,110 mg sodium
Regardless of which pizza chain you favor, ham and pineapple is one of the most trusted combinations you can order. Ham is the leanest meat you can put on a pie, while pineapple adds low-cal sweetness and a dose of antioxidants.

Less than 500 calories at Quiznos

Small Honey Bourbon Chicken with a Cup of Chili (no crackers), and bottle of water

460 calories
11.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat)
1,540 mg sodium
Opt for the honey bourbon mustard sauce over mayo or creamy dressings to add flavor without guilt.

Less than 500 calories at Taco Bell

Two Fresco Soft Beef Tacos with Mexican Rice, and a bottle of water

470 calories
17 g fat (6 g saturated fat)
1,760 mg sodium
Order almost any menu item "fresco" style and the Bell boys will replace cheese and sauces with a chunky tomato salsa, cutting calories and fat by at least 25 percent. Beyond being nutritious, salsa is also cheap—check out our list of the other healthiest cheap foods you can eat.

Less than 500 calories at Wendy's

Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich with mandarin orange cup and small Nestea Sweetened Iced Tea

480 calories
7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat)
980 mg sodium
This is the healthiest sandwich on the menu. Don't order your chicken spicy, though: That's their cue to fry, rather than grill your bird, tacking on extra 9.5 fat grams.

If you've found this list useful, make sure to nail down the rest of the all-time best restaurant swaps as well. With knowledge and discipline, you can eat all of your favorite foods—without ever being on a diet—and still lose weight!