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HG's TOP ATE Food Fakers! (Shocking Info Inside)
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HG's TOP ATE Food Fakers! (Shocking Info Inside)

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06.14.13
 

We love food, but sometimes it can be surprisingly -- even shockingly -- sneaky. Read up on these TOP ATE food fakers, and don't be fooled again!

 
 
  Restaurant Salads

To some of you this may sound like a broken record, but it's important to repeat for the newbies: A salad is not always the best choice on the menu! Dressing, cheese, fried toppings, and more can all contribute to sky-high calorie counts. Even the most innocent-sounding salads can be nutritional nightmares. Case in point? The Oriental Chicken Salad at Applebee's features a vinaigrette dressing and can be ordered with grilled chicken instead of the fried stuff. Well, even the grilled-chicken version is a nutritional disaster... It has 1,290 calories and 81 grams of fat! Not all vinaigrettes are light, people. This one contributes 690 calories and 61 grams of fat! How is that even possible!?! We're guessing a LOT of it is used. When it comes to Applebee's, stick to the Under 550 Calories and Weight Watchers menus. And when it comes to dressing, ALWAYS get it on the side. Then dip, don't pour!

 
  Flavored Water

FAKER ALERT! Many products refer to themselves as "water," even when they're fully flavored and sweetened. Some of these are reasonable options; some of them really aren't. Most flavors of regular Vitaminwater have 50 calories per 8-oz. serving... but those standard 20-oz. bottles have 120 calories each, not to mention more than 30 grams of sugar! Vitaminwater Zero, on the other hand, is a MUCH better choice, with sweetness and flavor but virtually no sugar and zero calories per serving. Click here for more flavored-water favorites!

 
 
 
  Turkey, Fish, and Veggie Burgers

In general, yes -- turkey, fish, and veggie options are often lighter than fatty beef dishes served at restaurants. But they're not always as guilt-free as they sound. If you order a Grilled Turkey Burger at Red Robin, prepare to swallow 578 calories and 29 grams of fat. Why? That patty's fatty, with 250+ calories and 19g fat. Check out The Customizer on the chain's website for better options, including meatless patties and lettuce-wrapped burgers! And don't assume Burger King's Premium Alaskan Fish Sandwich is a smarter pick than the hamburgers; it has 530 calories and 28 grams of fat. You'd be better off with a Whopper Jr. -- just skip the mayo, and it'll have 260 calories and 10 grams of fat! T.G.I. Friday's Sedona Black Bean Burger is another great example of a not-so-great choice. That thing has 870 calories and 49g fat... without fries! Click for our slimmed-down swap.

 
  Veggie Chips/Crisps

Just because a crunchy snack has "veggie" in its name, that doesn't necessarily mean it's good for you. Sometimes these things are simply veggie flavored and contain a scant amount of real-deal veggies. Plus, they're typically fattening due to an abundance of a three-letter chip foe -- OIL. Even the healthiest food in the world will become fatty and high in calories if it's fried in too much oil. Need some proof? A 1-oz. serving of Terra Stix, a.k.a. "A Delectable Medley of Exotic Vegetables," has 9 grams of fat and 150 calories -- just as much as an ounce of your average potato chips. Instead, try baking some kale with just a few spritzes of nonstick spray. Then get crunching!

 
 
 
  Smoothies

"Smoothie" is one of those terms with a health halo over it, meaning it sounds more nutritious than it actually is. Not all smoothies are smart choices. Many of them have WAY too much added sugar (sometimes in the form of straight-up syrup) and other fattening add-ins (like the next item on this list). Plus, they're often too large and tossed back like basic beverages when they're more like meal replacements or substantial snacks. CHECK THE STATS before you order. If you don't check, you might wind up ordering a Mango-A-Go-Go smoothie at Jamba Juice... the Original size has 420 calories and 89 grams of sugar -- pretty steep for a fruit drink! Instead, select the 16-oz. light version of that same smoothie, which has 190 calories and 37 grams of sugar. Sweet!

 
  Granola

It looks so wholesome, with its oats and grains and other virtuous things. Yeah, oats and grains are great for you... just not when they're coated with tons of sugar and cooked in too much oil or butter. And while granola is okay in small portions, many people eat it like cereal, so the calories really add up. Even low-fat granola typically has close to 400 calories per cup! This is yet another case in which you NEED to check the labels. Don't just check the calories and fat content, though. Take a look at the serving size, because it's typically teeny! Bear Naked's Fruit and Nut Granola has 140 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving, BUT the serving size is only 1/4 cup. Kashi's granola-like GOLEAN Crunch! cereal, on the other hand, has only 200 calories and 3 grams of fat in a full cup. Add some fresh fruit to that, and you'll be better off.

 
 
 
  Dried Fruit

"HG, it's FRUIT. It HAS to be good for me." While fruit is great for you, tiny servings with too many calories are not. A third of a cup of raisins isn't much, yet it contains more calories than THREE CUPS of fresh strawberries. Plus, dried fruit is sometimes sweetened with sugar. And we've warned you about banana chips before; not only are they sugary, but they're also usually FRIED. Wanna chomp on dehydrated fruit? Go freeze-dried. Brands like Funky Monkey and Just Tomatoes, Etc! have great options that are low in calories with large serving sizes and no added sugar. Plus, crunchy foods are more fun to eat.

 
  Not-So-Single Servings

Heads up! Just because it LOOKS like one serving doesn't mean it is "one serving" (as defined by the nutritional panel). Remember your shock and horror the first time you saw that a standard box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese allegedly makes THREE servings? Exactly. Deceptive packaging doesn't always mean those foods are off-limits, but be smart: Check the Servings Per Container portion of the nutrition panel, and do some math if need be. Canned soup is a great example, since most people consume the entire two-serving can. A can of low-fat soup can still be a good choice, but remember to multiply the stats. And get this: Blue Bunny Personals used to contain two servings in each mini-carton of ice cream, which we did NOT appreciate... Not anymore! Someone was paying attention over there, because the "Personals" have been downsized to true single-serving cartons. Good bunny!

 
 

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CHEW ON THIS:

Happy June 14th, which is both Flag Day and National Strawberry Shortcake Day! Grab Old Glory, wave it high, and dig into a Super-Duper Strawberry Shortcake.

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We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.


*The PointsPlus® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.

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