Avoid the worst food choices

April 17, 2009 10:55:00 AM PDT
According to a new survey, more than half of all Americans say they're in good or excellent health. And the other half thinks they need to lose only about 10 pounds.Yet two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That's because many of us eat too much and exercise too little. But you can cut calories if you avoid some food choice mistakes.

Number one on the list -- potato chips. One ounce of chips has 152 calories and 10 grams of fat -- and that can add up over a one year period. Try rice and popcorn cakes instead. Both have less than 100 calories per serving. And they're now available in many flavors, so you can satisfy a salty craving without hitting the chips.

Next on the "bad" list -- doughnuts. They're nothing but flour, vegetable shortening, white sugar and then deep-fried. One glazed donut can pack up to 2-hundred calories and 12 grams of fat. For a healthy substitute, try a whole-grain bagel. Half of one has 125 calories and just 3 grams of fat.

Fried chicken -- we all love it. But one large piece of chicken can have up to 400 calories and 22 grams of fat. Instead, go for the grilled, skinless chicken breast. It's only 189 calories per 4-ounce breast.

Sausages -- great at the ballpark, bad on your waistline. A single pork link packs 217 calories and almost 20 grams of fat. Go with a turkey or chicken sausage instead. They only have about 100 calories and 8 grams of fat.

Imitation cheese in a can is favorite with kids, but two tablespoons -- about the amount you'd put on two crackers -- packs 276 calories and 21 grams of fat. We'd suggest going with the real thing -- soft cheeses like brie, which have about 100 calories an ounce.

Non-dairy toppings -- as luscious as they are, they're mostly corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oil. One tablespoon is 32 calories. So substitute it with low-fat vanilla yogurt, which has half the calories, plus a healthy dose of calcium.

The experts say you don't have to say "no" to everything. But just be smart in food choices so that they don't derail your healthy efforts.

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Christi Myers is ABC13's Healthcheck reporter

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