"How did Americans get so fat?"
Of all the questions I get, this is by far the most common. There are many reasons: We've added extra calories to basic foods, everything from pasta sauce to ketchup. We're drinking more calories than ever—450 a day, on average. And, of course, we've been trained to supersize it. Those "value" meals we order through the clown's mouth cost us only 17 percent more money, but 73 percent more calories. That's dummy economics—you wouldn't buy a new Blu-Ray Disc and then pay the electronics store to throw in some old, worn-out videotapes, would you? And so, everytime we eat out, we add 134 calories to our daily intake.
I understand that life is hectic and fast-food meals are inevitable. That's why we created the runaway bestseller Eat This, Not That! back in 2007. It's also why we've taken all of the principles we've laid out over the past few years and distilled them down to a brand-new, complete nutrition plan: The Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet. You can eat all the foods you love, at all the restaurants you love, without condemning yourself to massive portions and coma-inducing calorie counts, and lose tons of weight—without ever dieting again. (Which is why we gave it the “No-Diet Diet!” twist!) Want proof? Here are 7 fast-food meals with fewer than 350 calories. Next time you’re in a bind, opt for one of these meals and banish excess calories for good.
And remember: I'm on a mission to uncover surprising places where hidden calories
lurk. Just follow me on Twitter (twitter.com/davezinczenko) and I'll
arm you with the information you need to eat more every day—and weigh less for the rest of your life.
Best Chinese Meal Under 350 Calories
Panda Express Mongolian Beef and Mixed Veggies
7 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
1,260 mg sodium
Panda actually has several options that come in below the 350-calorie mark. As with any Chinese meal, the key is skipping the greasy mound of fried rice and the oily tangle of noodles. Pair a low-calorie entrée such as the Mongolian Beef or Green Bean Chicken with a side of veggies and you wind up with a fairly nutritious meal with plenty of protein to keep you full. Entrees to avoid: Beijing Beef, Orange Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and anything with pork.
Beijing Beef w/ Fried Rice
59 g fat (12 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
1,830 mg sodium
Your Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet savings: 1,025 calories, 52 grams of fat, 600 mg of sodium, and a half day’s worth of saturated fat!
Best Sandwich Meal Under 350 Calories
Subway 6” Turkey Breast and Black Forest Ham Sandwich
(on 9-grain wheat bread with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, pickles, olives, and mustard)
4 g fat (1 g saturated)
1,255 mg sodium
The health halo surrounding Subway is a boon for the sandwich chain, but for everyone else, it’s quite problematic. The numbers Subway advertises are only for a 6-inch sub and don’t account for cheese, mayo, olive oil, or any extras most people get on their sub. Order a 12-inch sandwich with a couple of extras and your “healthy” sub suddenly becomes an 800-calorie, diet-sinking torpedo. (To see just how quickly extra ingredients can add up, check out our shocking list of the 30 Worst Sandwiches in America.) To be fair, though, there are many nutritious sandwich combinations at Subway, and this is one of them. Just make sure to go with 6 inches (not 12), mustard (not mayo), and take advantage of Subway’s best option: unlimited veggies.
Subway 6” Meatball Marinara Sub w/ Provolone
27 g fat (11 g saturated, 1 g trans)
1,655 mg sodium
Your Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet savings: 320 calories, 23 grams of fat, 400 mg of sodium, and a half day’s worth of saturated fat!
Best Chicken Nugget Meal Under 350 Calories
Chick-fil-A Nuggets (8 count) with Barbecue Sauce
12 g fat (2.5 saturated)
1,170 mg sodium
When it comes to healthy fast-food chicken, Chick-fil-A definitely rules the roost. Lately, though, we’ve seen sodium and calorie counts starting to creep upward, so we’ll be keeping a sharp eye on the chain this year. (Still, nothing served at this poultry palace comes close to the atrocities we found when compiling our list of the Worst Chicken Dishes in America.) This 8-count meal is packed with 28 grams of hunger-blasting protein—a perfect way to refuel for lunch. Just say no to the Polynesian dipping sauce. One tub contains 110 calories!
Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe
27 g fat (8 g saturated)
1,880 mg sodium
Your Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet savings: 265 calories, 710 mg of sodium (nearly half a day’s worth), and 15 grams of fat!
Best Wrap Meal Under 350 Calories
McDonald’s Grilled Honey Mustard Snack Wrap and Side Salad with Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette
12 g fat (3.5 saturated)
1,540 mg sodium
You’d be hard-pressed to find a healthier wrap at any other major fast-food chain. Why? Because this one contains only five ingredients: grilled chicken breast, flour tortilla, jack and cheddar cheese, lettuce, and honey mustard. That’s the kind of ingredient list we like to see: simple and delicious. Tack on a side salad and you’ve got a well-rounded meal with fewer calories than one Double Cheeseburger.
Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich w/ Medium Fries
47 g fat (9.5 g saturated)
1,630 mg sodium
Your Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet savings: 690 calories (an entire meal’s worth, basically) and 35 grams of fat!
Bonus Tip: Save time, calories, and money by signing up for our FREE Eat This, Not That! newsletter.
Best Burger Meal Under 350 Calories
Burger King Jr. Whopper w/o Mayo and BK Apple Fries
10.5 g fat (4 g saturated)
500 mg sodium
Burger King holds the dubious distinction of being the unhealthiest of the Big Three burger joints, but that doesn’t mean you can’t concoct a decent meal. By simply 86-ing the mayo, the Whopper Jr. becomes one of the heathiest burgers in the fast-food kingdom, and BK’s fresh apple fries are a delicious and nutritious side. Together, they make a fine meal if you must dine on the dash. Warning: Every other Whopper sandwich has anywhere from 0.5 grams to 2.5 grams of trans fat.
Whopper w/ Medium Fries
62 g fat (15.5 g saturated fat, 1 g trans)
1,650 mg sodium
Your Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet savings: 780 calories, 52 grams of fat, and a half day’s worth of both sodium and saturated fat!
Best Mexican Meal Under 350 Calories
Taco Bell's Fresco Chicken Soft Tacos (2)
8 g fat (2 g saturated)
1,360 mg sodium
Taco Bell got a lot of flak this past year for advertising its Drive-Thru Diet, but truth is, this taco joint provides dozens of possible meal combos for less than 500 calories. The same certainly can’t be said for any of the nation’s most popular fast-food burger chains. Taco Bell’s menu still has plenty of pitfalls, so order wisely. Our advice: 1) Stick to the Fresco Menu, where not one item is more than 350 calories; 2) Run from Grilled Stuft Burritos, food served in a bowl, and anything with multiple layers.
Grilled Stuft Chicken Burritos (2)
48 g fat (14 g saturated fat)
4,020 mg sodium
Your Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet savings: 980 calories, 40 grams of fat, more than a half day’s worth of saturated fat, and nearly two days’ worth of salt!
Bonus Tip: Be wary of foods with more than 1,500 mg of sodium. Grilled Stuft Burritos are salt-laden, but downright sweet compared to our list of the 30 Saltiest Foods in America. Stay away from all of these, unless you're trying to melt a glacier.
Best Breakfast Meal Under 350 Calories
Dunkin’ Donuts Egg White and Cheese Breakfast Wake-Up Wraps (2) w/ Small Black Coffee
14 g fat (6 g saturated)
965 mg sodium
Dunkin’ might be known for its donuts, but the DDSmart Menu is the real reason to swing by this spot on your way to work. A couple of Wake-Up Wraps and a small black coffee will give you exactly what you need to stay energized through the morning. (In fact, if you don't if you don't mind 60 extra calories, opt for the whole-egg Wake-Up Wrap instead—yolks contain vitamins and minerals that are good for eye health.) This meal delivers 16 grams of hunger-fighting protein. You definitely won’t find that in two glazed donuts.
Sausage, Egg & Cheese on Croissant
46 g fat (18 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
1,280 mg sodium
Your Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet savings: 375 calories, 32 grams of fat, and a half day’s worth of saturated fat!
Bonus Tip: You can find dozens of healthiest breakfasts on fast-food menus. And then there are these: The 20 Worst Breakfasts in America. Nothing will blow up your diet and your waistline faster.
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