Simple swaps to cut calories, fat with fast food

Expert gives Local 4 list of menu options that save calories fat and carbs

Running from work to after school activities, a lot of people are eating on the go, but they can still avoid foods high in calories and fat.

"I try to do no cheese on anything, and then no fries, skip the fries," said Caroline Huff of Dearborn.  

Huff also takes off one half of the bun to save on calories and carbohydrates.

Angel Thomas avoids processed items on the menu.

"Like baked potatoes or the wraps they have sometimes with grilled chicken," said Angel Thomas of Warren.

Stacy Goldberg is the chief executive officer of Savorfull in Detroit.   Her advice is to pay attention to the sauces on what you're ordering and avoid those that have a mayonnaise base.

"Even swapping mustard for mayo or salsa for ketchup, you can make a great transition," said Goldberg, MPH, RN, BSN.

Goldberg recommends avoiding food described as "crispy," loaded," "smothered," "supreme," "grande" or "fried."  She said this usually means the food is dipped in oil, loaded with cheese, bacon, sour cream, covered in a fatty sauce or just too much food.

Goldberg gave Local 4 a list of food swaps to consider when eating fast food.

Order a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a crispy chicken sandwich and save 150 calories and 12 grams of fat.

Order the chicken or steak burrito bowl instead of the chicken or steak burrito to save 300 calories and 50 grams of refined carbohydrates.

Eat two thin slices of pizza instead of two slices of pan pizza to save 220 calories and 20 grams of refined carbs.

For breakfast choose a ham and egg white breakfast sandwich instead of a sausage and egg breakfast sandwich and save 150 calories and 15 grams of fat.

Goldberg also warns that people can get unwanted calories in drinks.

Her advice: Chose unsweetened tea, water or regular coffee over pop, juice, lattes, slushies, frappuccinos or sweet teas.   She said it varies but you can save anywhere from 300 to 800 calories in sugar.

Salad always seems like a healthy option but choose a light or lowfat dressing.

"A caesar salad can be higher in calories than your hamburger, so it's really important to take a look at the grams of fat that are in your salad dressing, the amount of cheese that you're putting on a salad, the bacon, the croutons, it can be a fat trap and people don't know that," said Goldberg.

When ordering, Goldberg said don't be afraid to ask for what's not on the menu.

"Be sure to ask questions because just because you don't see it on a menu doesn't mean that maybe the restaurant you're at can't do specific tricks to meet your dietary needs," said Goldberg.  "For instance Subway, they have avocado now on their menu, sometimes they don't always advertise it, but you have to ask and they'll put it out for you."

Another trick is planning ahead and packing food.

"I always recommend on Sunday, if you're going to have a really busy week, go shopping ahead of time and purchase the foods you can bring for your own lunch or on the road. You know, have veggies and put them in little recyclable containers so you can grab and go,' said Goldberg.

She said consider having boiled eggs or string cheese so you have healthier options with you before you get hungry.

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