5 Meals Under 500 Calories From Your Favorite Fast Food Restaurants


Low Calorie Meals From Your Favorite Fast Food Restaurants

When it comes to changing your eating habits I’m a fan of making changes that best fit your life. If you’re trying to lose weight, or simply to eat better, the ideal thing to do would be to prepare most of your meals at home. However,  If you’ve never been much of a cook, expecting you to change your eating habits and your life habits can seem daunting and may ultimately mean you end up not making any changes at all.

So for those who frequent fast foods restaurants as part of their daily or weekly routine, here are five healthier meal options you can choose from some the more popular fast food chains. Each option is less than 500 calories. And while calories isn’t the only thing you should take into consider when changing your diet it is a good starting point.

1. Wendy’s – Ultimate Grill Chicken Sandwhich

Wendy's_LogoComplete Meal

An Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich with a Mandarin orange cup and medium iced tea.

Nutrition Facts
  • Calories: 480
  • Fat grams: 7 (1.5 g saturated)
  • Sodium: 980 mg

This is the healthiest sandwich on the menu. To make it an even healthier option, toss aside one of the buns and make it a one bun sandwich. You can even pair it with a salad if you’re looking for some variety with the mandarin oranges.

2. Subway: 6in Double Roast Beef Sub


Complete Meal

6in Double Roast Beef Sub with fat free Italian dressing and a medium iced tea.

Nutrition Facts
  • Calories: 455
  • Fat grams: 8 (3.5 g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 2100 grams

Yes you could get a single meat sandwich, or a turkey or even chicken sandwich and fall even lower on the calorie scale,  but if you eat out often you want variety and this is an option that, even with double the protein, is still less in fat and calories than say the tuna salad or one with different condiments.

3. Pizza Hut – Two Slices Thin ‘N Crispy Pizza (12″)

pizza hut logo

Complete Meal

Two Slices Thin ‘N Crispy Pizza (12″)  with quartered ham & pineapple, and a medium Diet Coke

Nutrition Facts
  • Calories: 360
  • Fat grams: 12 (5 g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 1,110 mg

If you want meat on your pizza that’s not chicken, ham seems to be the way to go. A Hawaiian pizza with ham and pineapple seems to be the healthier option for those who want meat on their pies. A veggie pizza on thin crust would be even healthier for those who don’t mind meatless pizzas.

4. McDonalds: Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich

mcdonaldsComplete Meal

Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich with a side salad with Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette, and a medium iced tea

Nutrition Facts
  • Calories: 480
  • Fat grams: 13  (2 g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 1,945 mg

Turns out the Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich has the same number of calories as the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, but lacks the trans fat of the popular burger. And with most fast food options choosing a salad or fruit keeps the calorie count down instead of the standard french fries.Once again toss one of the buns aside to further lower the calorie count.

5. KFC: 3 Crispy Strips with Green Beans


Complete Meal

3 Crispy Strips with Green Beans and 3″ corn on the cob with a medium Diet Pepsi

Nutrition Facts
  • Calories: 475
  • Fat grams: 22.5 (6 g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 1,165 mg

The side of green beans is a good source of fiber and vitamins K, A & C which are good your bones and reducing cancer-causing free radicals.

 Fast Food Wrap Up

Now looking at this list it would be easy to point how high the sodium count in much of these meal options. But as I mentioned before it’s about making healthier options when you eat out, and if you’re of the – burger and fries, pepperoni on my pizza – school of fast food eating this list gives you some much needed alternatives.

Do you eat out often? Does this list help you make better choices? Don’t forget to use the buttons below to share this post and get your friends in on the conversation.

5 Reasons Broccoli is a Must Add to any Diet

A big part of achieving your weight-loss goals involves changing your diet. While you can out exercise a bad diet, the level of work and time that requires isn’t aligned with the realities of most women’s day to day lives. So each week we are going to focus on a new food you can add to your diet that will not only aid in weight loss, but improve overall health a well. This week: Broccoli.

Broccoli is High in Calcium

If drinking milk isn’t your thing, eating broccoli can help you get the calcium needed to keep your bones healthy and strong without adding excess fat or calories to your diet.  One cup of cooked broccoli contains 74mg of calcium, 123 mg of vitamin C and just 44 calories.  Vitamin C is important because it helps the body absorb calcium better.  Just to put things in perspective, a glass of 2% milk has 300mg of calcium but has no vitamin C and 121 calories of which 42 of those calories comes from fat.

Broccoli Can Help Reduce the Risk of Getting Certain Types of Cancers

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable; simply meaning it’s an edible plant. Studies have shown that eating cruciferous vegetables can help reduce the risk of many cancers such as bladder and ovarian cancers.  One study showed that men who ate a serving of broccoli or cauliflower a week halved their chance of getting advance stage prostate cancer. Also broccoli contains phytonutrients sulforaphane and indoles which have been shown to boost the body’s ability to rid itself of cancerous cells and for those tumors that do form, they tend to take longer to develop and are smaller in mass.

Helps in Detoxifying the Body

Many phytonutrients work as antioxidants to dislodge compounds before they can damage the DNA.  However, new research has shown that the phytonutrients found in broccoli operate at a much deeper level.  They actually signal your genes to increase production of enzymes that help the body detoxify, preventing harmful compounds from ever attaching.

Can Help Repair Sun-Damaged Skin

A recent Johns Hopkins research study showed that Sulforaphane can help repair sun damaged skin.  Sulforaphane is a compound found in broccoli. When broccoli extract was applied to test animals that had been exposed to UV light equivalent to what a sun bather would be exposed to on a clear summer day, the extract counteracted the animals’ carcinogenic response.

Broccoli is High in Fiber

One serving of broccoli has 9 grams of fiber, that’s about 33% of the recommended amount of fiber needed daily.  A diet high in fiber helps prevent constipation, aids in weight loss and helps prevent certain digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and hemorrhoids. Fiber is very filling and low in calorie, so a diet high in fiber can help you shed those unwanted pounds

Top 3 Reasons We Eat Too Much and How to Gain Control

Cnn.com had an excellent article discussing Why We Eat Too Much an How to Gain Control. The three reasons they gave are all reasons I cna relate too and are the main reasons why I’ve had such a hard time droping the weight this go around:

1. You’re not getting enough sleep

Missing out on your zzz’s not only puts you in a mental fog, it also triggers a constellation of actual metabolic changes that may lead to weight gain. A lack of shut-eye harms your waistline because it affects two important hormones that control appetite and satiety–leptin and ghrelin…According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, people who slept only four hours a night for two nights had an 18 percent decrease in leptin (a hormone that signals the brain that the body has had enough to eat) and a 28 percent increase in ghrelin (a hormone that triggers hunger), compared with those who got more res

How to get control:

When we’re exhausted, we hunger for just about everything in sight, especially if it’s sugary or high in carbs. That may be because these foods give us both an energy boost and comfort (since lack of sleep is a stressor), Knutson says. To quell the urge for fattening foods and still get the energy kick you need, reach for a combination of complex carbs and protein.

2.  You’re sabotaged by stress

Constant stress causes your body to pump out high doses of hormones, like cortisol, that over time can boost your appetite and lead you to overeat. “Cortisol and insulin shift our preferences toward comfort foods–high-fat, high-sugar, or high-salt foods,” says Elissa Epel, Ph.D.

When we’re exhausted, we hunger for just about everything in sight, especially if it’s sugary or high in carbs. That may be because these foods give us both an energy boost and comfort (since lack of sleep is a stressor), Knutson says. To quell the urge for fattening foods and still get the energy kick you need, reach for a combination of complex carbs and protein.

3. You’ve got fatty foods (literally) on the brain

We’re hardwired to hunger for fatty, sugary, salty foods because, back when our ancestors were foraging for every meal, palatable eats meant extra energy and a leg-up on survival, says Dr. David A. Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and author of “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.”

How to get control:

Avoid eating your favorite treat if you’re in a particular mood, if it’s a certain time of day, or if you’re in a specific place; this will prevent you from creating a triggering link between those feelings or locations and that treat, Kessler says. And since the smell and sight of fatty, sugary foods is pure temptation, try to keep yourself from passing the bakery or ice cream shop you can’t resist.

Read the rest of the article. I can definitely relate to the first two reasons. The lack of sleep combined with high levels of stress had me craving  every fatty, salty, sweet thing I could get my hand on. I learned that eating protein helped quell my hunger and drinking lots of water helped kill the cravings for salty/sweet things. It’s been helping, especially as I get my stress levels down an have ben geting more sleep.

Can you relate to this article?

What are your strategies for dealing with sleep and stressed induced hunger?

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Bad Habits That Pile On the Fat

Business Day has a good article about all of the bad habits people have that are keeping them fat:

The experts have identified seven common diet mistakes most people make and how to fix them.

1. Underestimating how much you’ve eaten

Studies show overweight people tend to underestimate significantly how much they eat, and the bigger their portions, the more their calorie calculations go off track. One recent investigation by Dr Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (Bantam Dell), found that people who supersize fast-food meals actually underestimate the calorie content of their burger and fries by as much as half.

2. Discounting the effects of peer pressure

Findings from the Framingham Heart Study reveal that when one person in a family or network of friends gains weight, others tend to gain weight too, perhaps because it becomes more socially acceptable to be chubby.

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3. Distracting yourself from eating

Wansink’s studies show that environmental distractions, such as watching television, talking on the phone, reading while eating and eating with others, can be a big disconnect. In one study, he learned that even stale popcorn can lead people to overeat at the movies, not because they’re hungry, but simply because the bucket is there. This occurs as much due to the fact that you’re not paying attention to what you eat, as to a habit you’ve developed of multitasking while munching, he says.

4. Eating too many different foods

The more choices, the more you tend to eat — just think of all the temptations at a food buffet and the overwhelming desire you have to sample it all.

5. Not weighing yourself enough

“We have exhaustive evidence that people who weigh themselves daily lose more weight than those who don’t,” says Dr George Blackburn, associate professor of surgery and nutrition at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and author of Break Through Your Set Point: How to Finally Lose the Weight You Want and Keep It Off (Collins). People who watch their weight are more likely to closely monitor their eating and exercise behaviours and regain control of their diets quickly if they gain weight.

Keep readng the rest of the article. There’s some great information and tips there.

Weighting yourself daily is something I do and something I’ve recommended before on this blog as a way to maintain your weight. People have a tendency to ignore the tightness of their jeans, but if you see the weight go up on the scale a couple of pounds you’re more likely to adjust your diet or workout to lose the weight as opposed to waking up 20 pounds heavier trying to figure out how you got there and how you’re going to drop the pounds…again.

Now I know I’ve been guilty of all of the above habits. However, as far as peer pressure I am usually the biggest in my group of friends, so you’d think that being around the skinny crew would make me slimmer – yeah not so much – lol. Although I will say that I’m from a big city (by big I mean the average person is chunky) and that makes me the “skinny” girl here, so it’s easier to be heavier and not stress about it as much.

So, which of these bad habits is keeping you fat?

How do you work your way around them?

If these aren’t your bad habits what are the habits you have that’s preventing you from losing wight?

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Emotional Eating: The Truth About Why I Eat

Emotional Eating

The Truth About Emotional Eating

If anybody has been reading this blog as late then you know that I’ve been struggling in the weight category. You know that the extremely high-stress situation I find myself in has had me turning to food – mainly sugar- for support. The thing is though that most of the eating has to do with boredom. Currently I’m caregiver to my mother, occasionally my two young sisters and of course, my 4-year-old daughter. No one else. Just me. Day and day out.

Without going into too much detail my mother is a difficult woman, one who I have been trying to please all of my life to no avail. If I was to be completely honest I am incredibly resentful of the current situation because I wasn’t supposed to be back in my hometown. Some promises were made that didn’t pan out and at the last minute I ended up living with my mother instead of having my own house. Now I realize, regardless of what I was doing or where I would have been living, all roads led home because of my mom’s heart surgery.

Compulsive Eating

Now I find myself stuck in the house, with no outlet, responsible for a house full of people and a rather large house without a whole lot of help as far as taking care of my mom goes. Each day I wake up and there is nothing, absolutely nothing to look forward to. Each day I just pray for the day to end, in hopes that each day I wake up and go to bed brings me closer to the day I can have my life back. I’m bored. I’m defeated and I feel like at 29 my life as I know it is over.

Now there’s a lot I”m not saying, a lot of history and a lot of anger…but the 20lbs I’ve put on in the last couple of months is because food is the only thing interesting in my life right now. It’s the only thing I have some control over. I don’t go out. I don’t do anything, but take care of a house full of people and work…when I can. It’s frustrating and there’s no sign that it is coming to an end anytime soon. I’m holding on by a thread.

There’s no joy in this house. So I use Oreos to find some peace that I’m not getting anywhere else. And part of me doesn’t care, because what does it matter? No one is going to see me anyway. I don’t leave the house except to go to the grocery store or take my daughter to the park. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so defeated in my life and the only bit of joy I have is in the food I eat.

I recognize that this has to give at some point. 170lbs is horrible. I can’t imagine 200lbs. But right now it is what it is. But that’s why eat. There just ain’t shit else to do.

5 Foods You Should Add to Your Diet

Strawberries Rich in Antioxidants

5 Foods Rich In Antioxidants

Antioxidants are chemicals in food that help protect the body against cancer, aging and a host of other illnesses. They are an important part of any diet, so important in fact that researchers at the University of Oslo recently examine 1,113 different foods to see which ones had the most antioxidants. Here are the top five that made the list:

1. Blackberries (1 Cup)

Great for a snack. Perfect for adding to cereal or yogurt. They are also rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C. Another bonus is that they are very low in sodium and one cup of blackberries only has 62 calories.

2. Strawberries (1 Cup)

Who doesn’t like strawberries? Great by themselves, in salads, cereals or yogurt. Strawberries are also high in Vitamin C, folate (hello pregnant ladies), potassium and is a good source of dietary fiber.

3. Artichoke Halves (1 Cup)

Add them to a salad or to a past dish. Whole wheat pasta dish of course. Similar to strawberries artichokes are high in folic acid and are a good source of dietary fiber. They can also help reduce high cholesterol levels and are a good “brain food.”

4. Walnuts (1 Cup)

Eat a handful of these a day and you’ll be good to go. Research shows eating walnuts may promote brain health. Walnuts are also high in melatonin, Vitamin E and are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

5.  Cranberries (1 Cup)

Add them to a smoothie or some yogurt. Eat as a snack or toss them in a salad. very good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese, as well as a good source of vitamin E and vitamin K.

Final Thoughts

No one food is going to be a magic bullet to solve all of your dietary need. But a combination of great foods can go a long way in improving your health and your waistline.  Start with the foods on this to jumpstart your plan to have a healthier, more nutritious diet rich in vitamins, high in fiber and antioxidants.

The 20 Healthiest Foods for Under $1

Healthy Food

Healthy Foods For Any Budget

I don’t know about you all, but a trip to the grocery store puts me in a major funk these days. The prices on some basic items such as bread and milk are just unreasonable compared to what they were just a year ago. I can’t imagine what families with growing children are going through. Forget about shopping much at my favorite store, Whole Foods.

We won’t even talk about the cost of meat. I’m a hearty carnivore and fish lover but now it’s a treat to have a piece of steak, pork chops or salmon.

In my quest for alternatives, I’ve started going to farmers markets for fresh produce and fruit and Amish markets for meats and fresh juices. It’s been a good thing as I’ve been rediscovering what fresh food really is.

It’s never been cheap to eat healthy, but this is even more true in this economy. I fear that if we continue on this way, the obesity epidemic will get even more out of control. McDonald’s Dollar Menu hasn’t been affected by the economy.

Tell us about some of your cost-saving solutions for healthy eating in the comments.

Get some ideas from this article, The 20 Healthiest Foods Under $1

1. Oats
High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats have also been shown to lower cholesterol. And they sure are cheap—a dollar will buy you more than a week’s worth of hearty breakfasts.
Serving suggestions: Sprinkle with nuts and fruit in the morning, make oatmeal cookies for dessert.

2. Eggs
You can get about a half dozen of eggs for a dollar, making them one of the cheapest and most versatile sources of protein. They are also a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may ward off age-related eye problems.

Serving suggestions: Huevos rancheros for breakfast, egg salad sandwiches for lunch, and frittatas for dinner.

3. Kale
This dark, leafy green is loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium. Like most greens, it is usually a dollar a bunch.

Serving suggestions: Chop up some kale and add to your favorite stir-fry; try German-Style Kale or traditional Irish Colcannon.

Vivrant Thang blogs about live, love and music over at Songs In The Key Of Life.

3 Steps You Can Take To Control Your Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

Gaining Control Of Emotional Eating

So I was searching the web for some practical solutions to emotional eating but kept coming up short. So I thought well, I can offer what (little) advice I have on how to deal with the problem.

1. Run

Or simply put find some other way to channel whatever energy you have that you’d rather put into a pint of Haagen-Das, a bag of oreos or whatever you favorite comfort food is.

I used to be a really angry person for a lot of different reasons. Eating was one way to deal with that anger, sex was another (that’s another conversation) but EXERCISE was the best. Nothing mellowed me out faster then doing 20-30 minutes on the treadmill or punching a heavy bag or running. The idea was to exhaust myself so that I wouldn’t have time to worry or stress about what upset me.

2. Bargain With Yourself

Like I said in the last post I made a deal with myself. Eat all of the good stuff (fruit, veggies, whole grains, etc.) during the day and then ice cream is my reward. And let me stress to you how much I Luuuuuvvvv ice cream.

3. Wait It Out

What I mean about this is that if you find that you’re craving something to eat but know you’re not really hungry give it 10-15 minutes before you indulge and most importantly go do something else. Call a friend, hit up a blog (preferably this one:-) ), clean something…whatever it takes to let the craving pass.

Final Thoughts

That’ s all I have for now but if you have other suggestions feel free to post them. This is a subject I will come back to a lot ’cause I suspect that many of us are eating for reasons that have nothing to with hunger and for us to lose and keep the weight off it is something we will have to understand and work on.

My Plan To Conquer My Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

Overcoming Emotional Eating

My name is T.S. Johnson and I am an emotional eater.

Seriously, I eat for many reasons that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with hunger.

I eat because I am sad, lonely, bored, depressed, angry, horny (yeah I said it) and for a host of other reasons that have nothing to do with satisfying a biological need. I wish I could sit here and tell you that I have conquered this issue and that’s why I’m currently losing weight but I’d be lying.

I don’t have any good answers for it. For me my emotional eating is usually not a problem. Since I turned 18 I have worked out regularly. So worst case scenario I wouldn’t lose any weight but I wouldn’t gain any either.

The problem would come when I wouldn’t be exercising as often or as hard as I should be then I would gain weight. Lots of it. This is basically what happened after I had my daughter. I was 130lbs right after and within a year I was 160lbs. SMH.


Emotional Eating

While I still passed what I call the “jeans test” ( I still looked good in a pair of jeans and plenty of people let me know it.) I went form a size 4 to a size 10 and just thought I was the size of a cow. And much of the weight stemmed from a mix of depression, frustrations, stress and much more sedentary lifestyle then I was use to.

So what do I do now? Well I still eat for various non-hunger reasons but I made a deal with myself that if I eat most of the right things during the day (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, etc.) then I can indulge in a little ice cream.

I also decided I wouldn’t have any guilt about what I was eating anymore. If I had a bad day and indulged a little more then I should have then I’d say okay and I’d do better the next day. My system isn’t perfect but it works for me.

So my question for those of you who fall in the emotional eating category is: what do you do? What are your strategies for dealing with it? What are the reasons behind why you eat?

For those of you who read this and are thinking, “I have no idea what she is talking about it. I just don’t get it,” feel free to play armchair psychiatrist and offer your insight.