GUINNESS DRAFT VERSUS SAM ADAMS LIGHT VERSUS MICHELOB LIGHT
Amazingly, Guinness (only 125 calories per 12 ounces), which has been brewed with the same formula since 1759, has about the same amount of calories as either Sam Adams Light (124 calories) or Michelob Light (134 calories). Michelob ULTRA is actually the lowest, with only 95 calories, but if you want a “regular” beer — Guinness is the answer.
HAM & CHEESE VERSUS TURKEY SANDWICH
You’d think the turkey would be the clear winner, but don’t forget that most delis add mayo, which, with 100 calories per tablespoon, turns this seemingly healthy option into a diet disaster. Substitute mustard, a fat-free dressing or ketchup to save calories and still enjoy great taste. When making or buying any sandwich, the key is to start with leaner cold cuts like turkey, chicken, roast beef and ham. On average, these contain no more than 110 calories and 5g fat for a 2-ounce serving. Avoid higher-fat meats like bacon, bologna, salami, pimento loaf and sausage. Cheese is a great source of calcium and protein, but it’s also a source of excess calories and fat — primarily saturated fat. One ounce of regular cheese contains about 100 calories and 8 grams of fat, of which 5 grams are saturated. Delis typically add three to five slices per sandwich, which sends the calorie and fat content skyrocketing. For more flavor and to fill you up, add vegetable slices, sweet peppers, pickles and plenty of lettuce.
CHICKEN WINGS VERSUS PEPPERONI PIZZA
Here again, you might think to yourself, “How harmful can wings be? They’re small, and it’s chicken after all!” But the reality is, those chicken wings are deep fried with their skin, making them a borderline health hazard, especially with the blue cheese dressing. So skip the dressing (without it the wings and pizza are almost tied for calories), or, better yet, go for a thin crust veggie pizza.
VEGGIES AND DIP VERSUS CHIPS AND SALSA
Believe it or not, it’s close. Vegetables are typically a low-calorie choice, but it depends on what you do with them. Just as french fries start out with fiber- and nutrient-rich potatoes but end up high in calories and fat, carrot sticks dunked in a mayo- or sour cream-based dip aren’t exactly a health food. Try using a low-calorie dip (4 tablespoons reduced-calorie dip: 88 calories, 7g fat, 5g carbs, 2g protein) or make your own with nonfat yogurt or mayo. Oh, and just in case you don’t think it matters what you dip with, compare 15 potato chips (150 calories) with 15 baked tortilla chips (81 calories). Why not dump the dip altogether and have some air-popped popcorn (3 cups: 92 calories, 1g fat, 19g carbs, 3g protein) instead?
CHICKEN NUGGETS VERSUS PIGS IN A BLANKET
Because the chicken nuggets are fried, I was sure they’d be higher in calories. But the fat in the “pigs” and the dough in the “blankets” more than make up for the breaded-and-fried nuggets. Make grilled chicken breast strips and you’ll save serious calories. Also make sure to use mustard, barbecue sauce or ketchup instead of mayo or other high-calorie condiments.
PEANUTS VERSUS M&MS
The surprising thing is how similar M&Ms and peanuts are in terms of calories. Yes, nuts are the better choice. They have more protein, which has been shown to make you feel full and more satisfied. Plus, nuts have unsaturated “good” fat, fiber and plenty of other healthy nutrients. But they’re also high in calories, and you can down a cup of nuts in no time. If you plan on eating nuts, try to choose ones still in their shells, like pistachios. They take longer to eat, and it also looks like you’re eating more because the shells take up space. You might want to try roasted chestnuts: They’re big and bulky, low in fat and very flavorful. And if they’re in their shells, it will take you a while to peel them.
HONEY MUSTARD PRETZELS VERSUS COOLER RANCH DORITOS
Neither choice has very much nutritional value. But if you must eat pretzels or Doritos, at least buy single-serving bags rather than the huge family-size. They might cost a little more, but they’ll save you from eating a lot more without thinking.
OTHER TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS