Fast-food need not be high in calories

Dec. 16, 2011 at 8:44 PM

MELROSE PARK, Ill., Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Busy schedules and holiday shopping cut into meal time at home but a U.S. nutrition expert says it's possible to eat fast-food without loading up on calories.

"The average American consumes close to 50 percent of his or her meals outside of the home and fast-food restaurants are abundant," Dr. Jessica Bartfield, who specializes in nutrition and weight management at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System, said in a statement.

Bartfield likes sandwich shops that allow customers to load up on vegetable toppings, which adds nutritional value, but she advises to pass on cheese and dressings.

"I am also a fan of fast-food places that offer soup, or even chili as soup can be a terrific option, particularly ones loaded with veggies, lean meats and beans," she said. "Be careful to avoid the cream- or cheese-based soups and beware the bread bowl, which can increase the calories by up to 1,000."

Bartfield's fast-food favorites are:

-- Select grilled rather than fried. A fast-food grilled chicken sandwich has 470 calories and 18 grams of fat while the fried version has 750 calories and 45 grams of fat.

-- Hold the cheese, mayonnaise and salad dressings unless they are low-fat options.

-- Order the smallest size. Go for the single burger rather than the double.

-- Skip sugar-sweetened drinks. These calories quickly add up, especially at restaurants offering free refills on drinks.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
TSU shooting: 1 dead, 1 wounded in third shooting this week at Houston campus
Listeria threat prompts Whole Foods cheese recall
Russia says missiles aimed at Syria did not land in Iran
Captive orca breeding banned at California's SeaWorld
Wrong drug used in Oklahoma execution