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VOL. 39 | NO. 22 | Friday, May 29, 2015

Check the calorie, fat numbers on these dishes

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I received a magazine offer from Nutrition Action. Being a food editor, I’m always receiving mail from various food magazines and emails about new restaurants, cookware, food, etc. They all ask me to write about their openings, their books and articles, or the chefs. I, however, want to retire. Wishful thinking, I’m afraid.

The offer from Nutrition Action did catch my attention, though. The magazine claims it’s published for consumers by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, based in Washington, D.C. I’ve never heard of the group but I did check out the website, and it looks pretty interesting.

“Live better and longer with the strictly science-based advice from Nutrition Action Healthletter,” the website states. “We name names, remain strictly objective, and deliver scrupulously researched advice about food of all kinds.”

The flyer I received in the mail did name names, which is what I’m going to share with you. If you want to check out the website, it’s www.NutritionAction.com.

Because of space, I can reprint only a few items I thought were the most interesting, but you’ll get the idea.

Artery crust

Stouffer’s Satisfying Servings (16 oz.) White Meat Chicken Pot Pie has only 590 calories, 13 grams of saturated fat, and 930 milligrams of sodium. But those numbers are for only half a pie. Eat the entire pie, and you’re taking in 1,180 calories, 26 grams of saturated fat (more than a day’s worth) and 1,860 milligrams of sodium (over a day’s worth).

Five Fleshy Guys

Quinoa Salad with Kale and Feta

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Olive oil, for cooking
A small chunk of purple onion, thinly sliced
1 small bunch of kale, thinly sliced (discard the tough ribs)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
A squeeze of lemon (optional)

In a medium pot of boiling, salted water, cook the quinoa for 12-14 minutes, until just tender and the germ separates, making a little curly Q. Drain well and then return to the pot (off the heat). Add the cranberries, cover with a tea towel and the lid, and set aside to cool.

In a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, heat a drizzle of oil and sauté the onion until soft. Add the kale and cook about five minutes, until wilted. Season with salt. Add the kale, feta, and almonds to the quinoa. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of lemon, if you like. Serve immediately.

Think Five Guys is better than fast food burger joints? The hamburger (with no toppings) has 700 calories and a day’s worth of saturated fat (20 grams), and makes McDonald’s Big Mac (520 calories) look wimpy. The bacon cheeseburger (without toppings) has 920 calories and 30 grams of fat. Add 950 calories for the regular fries or 1,310 calories for the large. A large McDonald’s fries has only 500 calories.

Macadoozy

The Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese at Uno Pizzeria & Grill in Chicago hits 1,980 calories (a day’s worth), 71 grams of saturated fat (three-and -a-half-day’s worth), and 3,110 mg of sodium (two day’s worth). It’s like eating a family size box of Stouffers Macaroni and Cheese (which serves five) with a stick of butter on top.

Starbucks on steroids

The Starbuck’s Venti White Chocolate Mocha with 2 percent milk and whipped cream is more than a mere cup of coffee. It’s worse than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese. Few people have room in their diets for the 580 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat, and 11 teaspoons of added sugar this beverage supplies.

Stone Cold

Cold Stone Creamery’s Oh Fudge! Shake (chocolate ice cream, milk, and fudge syrup) starts at 820 calories for the small “Like It” (12 ounce) size. That’s about the same as a large (22 ounce) McDonald’s McCafe Shake. The larger “Love It” (20 ounce) reaches 1,360 calories and 52 grams of saturated fat (two-and-a-half day’s worth). That’s the saturated fat content of two 14 ounce ribeye steaks plus a buttered baked potato.

OK, I think that’s enough. No wonder America is overrun with heart-related health problems, diabetes, and obesity!

On the flip-side of the flyer is a list of healthy alternatives – few of which can be found at fast food joints.

The healthy list consists of sweet potatoes, mangoes, broccoli, unsweetened Greek yogurt, watermelon, butternut squash, and leafy greens. If you’re able to take your lunch to work, then that would be a better alternative than running up to the nearest McDonald’s. It’s even harder for travelers.

Anyway, I think I’ll sign-up for the email newsletter, meaning you haven’t heard the last of this. In the meantime, I have a very healthy salad recipe for you.

Kay Bona is an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.

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