We’ve all been there before. That moment when you have to make a decision to either eat nothing, or eat fast food. I just recently had that dilema myself. I needed food – fast. Luckily, a Wendy’s was just around the corner. I knew, from previous calorie-counting experience, I could find a low-calorie option there, so off I went.
As I waited on the customers in front of me, I began to browse the menu (which, by the way is always a mistake). I hadn’t been to a Wendy’s in some time so there were many new items, and I decided to try something new.
You see, if you are on a diet, you should never even consider what you WANT to eat. That’s like window shopping with no money. A dieter needs to make a decision based on what they can afford to eat, not what they want to taste. So, with that said, it’s best not to look at every high-calorie tasty menu item. Stick to the plan Bonnie.
Too late, the first mistake was made. I went off plan and ordered the Baja Chicken Salad. I did, however, go on my handy dandy FastFoodCal app to check out the damage before I actually ordered it. Once I saw the half salad was only 280 calories, I made the order – BUT, several more mistakes were made without my knowledge.
Mistake #2, #3 & #4…
After I got home, I looked up the official Wendy’s nutritional information online to see if the calories included dressing. That would be a big fat NO. Not only did it not include the dressing, their PDF nutritional menu items did not include any toppings at all. So, I used their customizable calorie counter to add or remove toppings for an accurate calorie count. After I did the math, adding the 100 calorie dressing and the 80 calories in tortilla chips, I got the REAL total for the Baja Salad, as it was intended to be eaten. 470 calories, not 280. Big difference!
Granted, I didn’t eat the chips and I didn’t need the dressing since it had guacamole and pico de gallo, but how many other people would have taken the time to dig a little deeper to find the correct nutritional information about their meal? I was so upset at how difficult it was to figure this all out. All I could think of are all the newbie dieters who gobbled the whole 470 calories up, and put 280 on their log – and they wonder why they aren’t losing weight. They are TRYING their best, but these types of common mistakes sabotage their efforts, and restaurants aren’t helping.
Counting Calories Shouldn’t Be This Hard
Counting calories is already a pain but, if you really want to succeed, now you have to be a mathematician AND a private investigator – because many chains desquise calories and hide evidence. The way many chains create their nutritional graph is an irritating sneaky tactic to throw consumers off. Notice the very first number (circled below in red) is weight, not calories. They know good and well we look at that first number, expecting THAT number to refer to calories? It’s the first number on most labels, and it’s the most important number for a dieter, so why put it second? I’ll tell you why. They hope people look at that number instead, and mistake it for a lower calorie item. Believe me, I know better and I still almost got fooled.
The Truth May be Hard to Swallow, but It Leaves a Better Taste in Your Mouth
Restaurants, you should list the calories as it was intended to be served, not list the lowest number based on what you think customers want to hear. Dishing out lies, and relying on people to be too lazy to figure out the truth, is so deceptive – and no one likes being deceived.
There will be plenty of unhealthy people who will continue to buy your greasy high-calorie food, but if you want to also capture the people who value their health more than your value meal, you need to start serving up the truth and giving us what we need to help us reach our goals while still eating on the go. The alternative is to avoid eating fast food altogether. So, do you want to help us or not? Or are you just doing the bare minimum so you can be in compliance and “appear” to be helping America fight obesity.
The fact of the matter is, no matter how tasty your food is, if you can’t be honest and more helpful to dieters, it will just leave us all with a bad taste in our mouth – and that’s something no amount of breath mints can cover up.
CLICK HERE to see 20 examples of how 1 ITEM from popular restaurants can erase 1 HOUR of hard work.
Learn more diet tips for the drive through window: Fast Food Diet Tips.
Let’s be practical here. In this fast-pace world, sometimes we need a fast-pace lunch. Unfortunately, new dieters panic at the thought of having to eat fast food because they think that means they don’t have a lot of choices. Or worse, they think it means complete failure.
The truth is, fast food chains give us more healthy choices than ever. We just need to order smart. It’s just up to us to do some investigative work so we can make the best choice possible.
Here are 10 tips to help you keep your calories low and your spirits high while dieting on the go.
10 Fast Food Tips for Dieters:
1. Go simple. The fewer ingredients the fewer the calories.
2. Go small. Avoid biggie sizing meals just because it’s a good deal. Believe me, you will eventually pay for it.
3. Avoid bread. Bread can account for 200-300 extra unnecessary calories. Try to get the majority of your calories from whole foods, instead of processed fillers.
4. Know what you’re eating. Don’t play guessing games when making your order. If you want to be sure you get results, be sure about the food you are eating. An average low-calorie meal for a dieter should be between 300-400 calories.
5. Don’t drink your calories. Stick to water, unsweet tea or diet coke. Drinking liquid sugar is just plain silly.
6. Salads aren’t always low-calorie. Just because something looks healthy, doesn’t mean it is healthy. A salad can easily add up to be more calories than a burger if you are not careful.
7. Think with your mind, not your stomach. Don’t let yourself get so hungry you can’t think straight. Many people blow their diet simply because they are starving by the time they face the drive through menu.
8. If you don’t love it, skip it. Removing one slice of cheese, or one condiment, can save you 100 calories or more. Prioritize the toppings you love, and skip the ones you can do without, to save calories.
9. Share your findings. Help others by sharing your healthy discoveries so other people can also benefit too. Education is key to success.
10. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Although you will likely find some foods you are pleasantly surprised with, many times people will continue to order something when their gut is telling them something isn’t adding up. Listen to your gut, not your taste buds.