When I find myself out to eat, either at a fast food place or a sit down restaurant, I need to make different choices than I would have before finding out my numbers were so high. Take McDonald’s for example. Before, I might have ordered the classic cheeseburger where now I find myself looking at the Asian salads. Recently I went to McDonald’s with a few friends, had the Crispy Asian Salad (which was very good by the way) and ended up feeling pretty good about my commitment to eating better. Until I got home and started doing some research.
My Crispy Asian Salad has 380 calories, 17g of fat and 45mg of cholesterol and adding the dressing increases the fat by a few grams. Hmmm…that seems high to me. Wanna know why, because it is. A McDonald’s cheeseburger has 300 calories, 12g of fat and 40mg of cholesterol…less in every category! What I learned quickly was just because the word “salad” is in the title don’t assume it is better for you. To be fair I did order the crispy version but looking at the grilled salad which has 300 calories (same as the cheeseburger), 10g of fat and 65mg of cholesterol I’m not sure that was the deal breaker.
Well, I thought, it’s McDonald’s what should I expect. So I started looking at other similar salads like the Mimi’s Cafe Asian Chop Chop and this will blow your mind. Mimi’s salad has 1277 Calories, 73g of fat (112% of you daily allowance) and 193mg of cholesterol. Just for reference if we had stayed at McDonald’s and ordered a Quarter Pounder with fries we would have eaten 760 calories (517 calories less), 39g of fat (34g less) and 90mg cholesterol (103 less). Ok, so this trying to eat better stuff is going to be harder than I thought. Not only do I have to make better choices but I need to make sure the choices I’m assuming are better actually are.
So here is what I did. I picked the 5 places I eat lunch at the most and went to their website. There they list the nutrition info for their menu and I was able to do a quick side by side comparison on what good and bad choices actually look like. For me, since I’m not looking to lose weight but just lower my cholesterol, I didn’t really focus on the calories but really looked at the fat and cholesterol numbers. This does take a little effort, but sometimes makes for a little interesting conversation over lunch with your friends. Well, until they don’t want to talk about it anymore and you are forced to start a blog so you can share all the cool things you’ve learned. Yeah, maybe bringing it up is a bad idea….hey wanna go to lunch sometime?