Apr 14 2011

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TOPS lists overestimated eateries

It appears that all “healthy” restaurant cuisine is not.  There are ways to guard against being mislead while dining out.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Club nutritional expert Beth LaCoste is part of a nonprofit organization advocating improved public health through the shedding of excess poundage.  She recommends asking servers how food is prepared, and using the internet to check out eating establishments’ nutrition information.  There are misconceptions about many popular foods:

1. Salad
Although heaps of chopped-up green, leafy veggies and/or fruit can be very healthful, salads laden with cheese and dressing should be avoided because these extra ingredients pack on calories and weight.

2. Fish
Lemon-laced fish that is baked or grilled is excellent, but platters of fried fish can add up to more than 2000 calories, especially is seasoned with copious cream sauces or butter.

3. Smoothies
A very nutritious, low-cal breakfast can be whipped up from yogurt and fresh or frozen fruit.  Pre-packaged smoothies, however, often include sugar and fattening whole milk.

4. Wraps
Too much cheese and sauce can amount to very calorie-laden wraps.  Stick to those with lean meat, veggies, little or no cheese, mayo or cream sauces.

5. Coffees
Straight coffee without added elements like milk or cream has no calories.  Such additives can boost coffee drinks’ calorie count to greater than that of a large hamburger.  Hold the whipped cream, and, if anything, use skim milk and sugar-free syrups.

6. Muffins
Muffins from bakeries and cafes often rival cake for sugary content and calories.  Best to avoid.

7. Fried veggies
Frying vegetables is one of the very few ways of making greens unhealthy.  Although it is becoming a popular trend–do not do it.

8. Multi-grain breads and buns
The phrase “multi-grain” sounds healthy, but is not.  Many of the refined grains used in such breads and buns have been drained of their proteins, antioxidants and nutrients.  100% whole-grain breads are much healthier.

9. Chicken
Chicken dishes like grilled breast are excellent choices as long as they are not seasoned with such condiments as bacon, cheese and mayo.  Instead try mustard, onions, tomato and lettuce.

10. Salad bar
Being included on a salad bar is not an automatic indication a food item is healthful.  Stay away from creamy salads like macaroni-and-peas, and cut back on shredded cheese.  Hard-boiled eggs are good, as are various lean meats and fresh vegetables.  Light dressings, oil and vinegar are excellent seasonings.

For more information call (800) 932-3677 or visit www.tops.org.

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