7 Menu Swaps for Healthy Dining


#5 Top Swap: Smoothie

Eat This
Jamba Juice Light Strawberry Nirvana (power size, 30 fl oz)
310 calories
0.5 g fat
59 g sugars

Not That!
Smoothie King Lemon Twist Strawberry (32 fl oz)
657 calories
0 g fat
156 g sugars

Total savings: 347 calories and 97 g sugar!

Portion distortion! These two cups differ by only 2 fluid ounces, yet Jamba's is a large and Smoothie King's is a medium. Order a "large" at Smoothie King and you'll receive a 40-ounce bathtub of a smoothie. That would have qualified as slapstick comedy 50 years ago, but today it's become the standard fare. And what's shocking is the part you can't see: Roughly a quarter of the sugar in the Lemon Twist Strawberry comes from added sweeteners. That's 150 unnecessary calories.

In contrast, Jamba's smoothie earns the majority of its 58 grams of sugar from real fruit or fruit juice. And the 30-ounce smoothie you see here? It's the biggest you can order. That's good, because if you need more than 30 ounces of smoothie, you should probably consider sitting down to a real meal.

More: Jamba Juice's Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Made Skinny

#4 Top Swap: Burger

Eat This
Carl's Jr. Guacamole Turkey Burger
490 calories
21 g fat (6 g saturated)
1,120 mg sodium

Not That!
Ruby Tuesday Avocado Turkey Burger
968 calories
61 g fat
1,601 mg sodium

Total savings: 478 calories and 40 g fat!

The potential for excess is every bit as high with turkey as it is for any other burger. If the patty is riddled with fat and buried under calorie-dense accoutrements, it's going to cause damage, and that's true whether the meat comes from turkey, ostrich, or organic parakeet.

Thanks to an oversized patty and an excessively buttered bun, Ruby's take on turkey has just 39 fewer calories than its hulking Bacon Cheeseburger. In your own kitchen you can construct a turkey burger with a quarter-pound patty, a slice of cheese, and a big scoop of guacamole for 400 to 500 calories, so that's exactly what you should expect when you eat out. Thankfully, that's what Carl's Jr. delivers.

Stealth health foods: Restaurant menus are awash in empty calories, but amidst the fat-making wreckage are a handful of surprising standouts. You'd be wise to memorize this list: 20 Shockingly Healthy Restaurant Foods. Bonus: Chili cheese dogs and beef burritos make the list!

More: Recipe: Curried Turkey Burger With Mint Chutney

#3 Top Swap: Pasta

Eat This
Romano's Macaroni Grill Pollo Caprese
560 calories
22 g fat (7 g saturated)
1,530 mg sodium

Not That!
Olive Garden Chicken Parmigiana
1,090 calories
49 g fat (18 g saturated)
3,380 mg sodium

Total savings: 530 calories and 11 g saturated fat!

Here are two chicken dishes with roots in Southern Italy, but by the time they leave their respective kitchens, one has nearly twice as many calories as the other. "Caprese" denotes the deep-flavor trio of tomato, basil, and mozzarella, and Macaroni Grill serves it alongside a juicy piece of grilled chicken.

"Parmigiana," on the other hand, is a dish that appears to have drawn more culinary inspiration from the southern states of America than from the southern tip of Italy. Notice how it's been dunked in a deep fryer, just like the french fries, onion rings, and chicken-fried steaks that help make one in three Americans obese.

More: 5 Whole-Grain Pastas to Keep You Fueled

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