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OH MY GOSH! I just looked up my lunch nutritionals at I had one of their Market Fresh sandwiches with turkey and Swiss thinking this would be the healthiest option. 725 calories and 30 grams of fat???? Yikes!!! What gives?

In Shock
Dear In Shock,

Yeah, those nutritionals are shockingly awful -- there's no denying it. Quite often I find myself scouring fast food sites' nutritional info in search of healthy options, only to be horrified by the amount of calories and fat in seemingly innocent foods. There are salads with calories nearing the quadruple digits, dressings that have more calories than the salads themselves, grilled chicken sandwiches with dozens of fat grams -- and WORSE. Lucky for us, Arby's provides a nutritional breakdown of the ingredients in their meals. Let's dissect your lunch, shall we? Oven-roasted turkey (134 calories and only 2.4g fat -- not bad); onions, lettuce and tomatoes (12 calories -- good); Swiss cheese (ok, getting worse -- that adds 74 calories and 5.7g fat); mayo (eek! 105 calories and 11.4 fat grams); spicy brown honey mustard sauce (39 calories and 3.3 fat grams); all on thick-sliced honey wheat bread (361 calories and 7 grams of fat!). Add that up and you'll see where those 700+ calories come from. My advice? Try to look up stats BEFORE lunch as opposed to after. Then you can either request to have some of the fatty ingredients left off or choose a better selection. (Even if you don't get a chance to check out the menu stats beforehand, you can always use your best judgment and special order your meal minus a few ingredients you know are high in calories and fat). If you ordered that same sandwich in a wheat tortilla (instead of on honey wheat bread) and without the cheese and mayo, you'd save 310 calories and 18 grams of fat! I'm just glad fast food restaurants make their nutritionals known... it really can help us make smarter choices.

Hungry Girl,

My husband makes fun of me for using the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!" spray. The label states zero calories and zero fat. He says it's actually loaded with calories & fat. Can you clear this up for us? I use it instead of butter/margarine on veggies, potatoes, etc. Thanks!

Buttering Up
Dear Buttering Up,

I have answered this Q before, but since I am actually asked this question at least twice a week, pretty consistently, I figured it would be worth addressing again. If something seems too good to be true, it often is. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! spray has few enough calories to be considered calorie-free if you use just a few spritzes. However, if you do what most of us do and spray like there's no tomorrow, you can rack up calories and fat grams pretty quickly. Here's the scoop: 12.5 sprays has 10 calories and 1 gram of fat, 25 sprays (1 teaspoon) has 20 calories and 2 grams of fat, and 37.5 sprays has 30 calories and 3 grams of fat. So, while I wouldn't exactly say the stuff is "loaded" with calories and fat, you are definitely better off spraying it as opposed to pouring it on your veggies and potatoes. If you tend to go overboard with the spray, you may want to try using a light butter spread (similar nutritionals but easier to gauge how much you are actually using and how many calories and fat grams you're taking in). Good luck! And in case you're curious, the entire bottle of ICBINB spray contains around 900 calories and 90 grams of fat. YIKES!

May is National Asparagus Month. A hefty 5-oz. serving of asparagus has just around 30 calories, virtually no fat, 300mg of potassium and 3 grams of fiber. Yowsa!
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