Eat This, Not That - The Buffet Line
"You go to college to expand your mind and you end up expanding your waistline!", says David Zinczenko, author of the best-selling Eat This, Not That! book series. "It happened to me. You start cramming for exams, you're cramming food into your mouth and the options aren't that great." But he says it's easy to lose weight, even on buffet lines, if you know how to avoid empty calories and choose the most nutritious options. Whether you're heading to class or stopping at a deli buffet on your way to the office, here's how to stay healthy when eating cafeteria grub:
Roast beef with gravy: "It's great because it's a lean meat," he says. "The gravy that they use in cafeterias are often of the low calorie variety because they tend to be instant, so that's totally fine. Also instant is the mashed potatoes, there's nothing wrong with eating the mashed potatoes, it's maybe 150 calories. It's not like your grandma makes it where it's got the cream cheese, it's got the butter." Another potato option? Choose Tater Tots, instead of french fries, because the Taters are baked.
Chili with cheese. "This is stew for skinny people," David says. "You have protein, you have fiber, you have antioxidants. It fills you up without filling you out ... So go ahead and eat that!"
Cinnamon apples: "They're good on their own, but you put them together and they're packed together with a sugary goo that turns it into a food crime," David points out. "It's just a lot of sugar; it's not that good for you."
Corn niblets: "It's nutritionally bereft. It's not that great for you," he says. "It's 100 calories a serving and it's really sweet, but it should be saved for summer barbecues."
Turkey wraps: "They can go up to 700 calories because you have this tortilla that's refined flour and oil, it's frisbee sized and it's serving as this vessel for all of these processed cheeses and dressings and deli meats, and people tend to pack them much more than they would a sandwich," David explains. "The only good thing about a turkey wrap is the name!"
Salad dressing: "You've got to be very mindful of dressings. Two tablespoons could be about 150 calories, even if they don't look like creamy dressings. If you go and you get the caesar or the thousand island or the catalina, we know that stuff is better than ranch and blue cheese, but it's not that much better if it's 150 calories per two tablespoons," he says. You can also conserve calories by keeping the dressing on the side and then eating it like a dip, rather than drowning the greens in extra calories.
Pizza: "Be very focused on the crust," David suggests. "If you go with something that has a thin crust it's going to have a half or a third the calories of a deep dish."
Cheddar and Sour Cream Chips vs. Pork Rinds: "Pork rinds are fine," David says. "In this case they are half the calories. The chips are fat and carbs." He says the pork rinds also have some fat, but they also contain protein that will satisfy your hunger.
Starbucks Venti White Chocolate Mocha vs. Venti Caramel Caffe Misto: "One of the things that's happened in the last 30 years is the average cup of coffee has gone from 40 calories then to 340 today. So, you have to really look at what you're drinking and the calories that you're taking in," David warns. In this example, the Venti White Chocolate Mocha is packed with sugar and caramel and has 480 calories, while the Caramel Caffe Misto, which contains skim milk and foam, is 130 calories. "Here you have the difference of 400 calories in one drink that's the same size from the same establishment!" David says. "Coffee habits die hard, but if you make that one same simple swap every day, you're talking about 400 calories -- over the course of a year that is 40 pounds! This is why you don't have to diet; you have to know what you're eating."
Chewy fruit candy vs. Peppermint Patty: In this example, the chocolate candy is 140 calories a serving as opposed to 250 for the chewy fruit candy. "Here's why Peppermint Patty is great: Of all the mainstream candies that's a really good one because it's dark chocolate so it's healthier; it's got antioxidants and the mint acts as an appetite suppressant!"
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