No matter how hard you try to make healthy food choices, there are times you may cave in to the call of junk food. Perhaps you need a change from your ordinary menu, find yourself craving youthful delights, or simply find yourself in a rush. Many nutritionists agree that allowing yourself occasional treats may help you stick to a healthy eating plan. Nutritious foods are always the best choice. However, here are some fun pairs to ponder if you find yourself craving a sinful snack.
9. Big Mac or Whopper
If you’re deciding between a Big Mac and a Whopper, you might as well go with your taste preference. The Whopper is slightly more caloric, coming in at 660 calories. It contains 40 grams of fat, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 28 grams of protein, and 980 mg of sodium. Meanwhile, the Big Mac contains 540 calories. This sandwich, with its two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun, contains 28 grams of fat. It also has 45 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of protein, and 950 mg of sodium.
8. Potato Chips or Tortilla Chips
When you have a hankering for something salty and crunchy, you may reach for a bag of chips. When comparing Lay’s Original Potato Chips side-by-side with Tostito’s Original Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips, there is no clear winner. A one-ounce serving of either chip will provide between 140-160 calories. Quantities of fat and carbs are similar. The potato chips are slightly higher in sodium content, with 170 mg versus 115 mg for tortilla chips. Tortilla chips may have a slight advantage if you use them as a means to consume a veggie-packed pico de gallo or guacamole.
7. Ice Cream or Chocolate Cake
In a comparison between Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream and Entenmann’s Chocolate Fudge Cake, ice cream comes out the winner. A one-half cup serving of the ice cream contains 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 16 grams of sugar, and 20 mg of cholesterol. In comparison, one serving of chocolate cake boasts 250 calories, 10 grams of fat, 28 grams of sugar, and 30 mg of cholesterol. Of course, it is important to watch portion sizes when indulging in dessert. A one-half cup serving of ice cream may look pitifully small in your ice cream bowl.
6. Fast Food Strawberry Smoothie or Strawberry Shake
No doubt about it, if you are craving some cold, creamy, strawberry goodness, the treat to grab is a smoothie rather than a milkshake. When comparing a small McDonald’s Strawberry Banana Smoothie to the same size Strawberry Shake, the smoothie comes out on top. The strawberry banana smoothie contains 190 calories, 0.5 gram of fat, 40 mg of sodium, 39 grams of sugar, and 5 mg of cholesterol. Meanwhile, the strawberry shake delivers a whopping 500 calories, 15 grams of fat, 190 mg of sodium, 71 grams of sugar, and 60 mg of cholesterol.
5. Macaroni and Cheese or Pizza
When deciding between frozen mac and cheese or a frozen pizza, you may be surprised to find pizza may be the slightly less caloric option. Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese boasts 350 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 920 mg of sodium per cup. Meanwhile, Digiorno’s Four Cheese Rising Crust Pizza contains 290 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 670 mg of sodium per slice. Of course, an even healthier option would be a homemade pizza on a whole wheat crust. You can top this healthy treat with a variety of fresh veggies and sliced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce.
4. French Fries or Onion Rings
Those who insist French fries and onion rings are suitable vegetable choices are only fooling themselves. When deciding between these greasy, highly processed side options, you won’t find one to be healthier than the other. In comparing Burger King’s value-size French fries to onion rings, the fries come in at 220 calories while the onion rings contain 150 calories. The amount of sodium listed for the onion rings is nearly double that of the fries, but this number refers to unsalted fries. And let’s face it, who eats French fries without salt?
3. Hot Dogs or Hamburgers
At times, you may find yourself at a barbecue with nary a vegetable in sight. When this happens, you may be eyeing the grill wondering whether you would be better off choosing the hot dog or the hamburger. Going strictly by calorie count, the hot dog appears to be the better option. However, hot dogs are highly processed products containing nitrates and excessive levels of sodium. Choosing the more caloric burger, which also contains more protein, may keep you feeling full longer. If this is a rare occasion, go for the option that most tempts your taste buds.
2. A Bagel or an English Muffin
Starchy bread products can be the downfall of your diet plan if you have a longing for a morning dose of refined carbs. If you crave the crunch of an occasional toasted treat, then reach for an English muffin instead of a bagel. Thomas’ Plain Bagels contain 250 calories and 450 mg of sodium per bagel. Meanwhile, the same company makes Original English Muffins, which possess 130 calories and 210 mg of sodium per muffin. You can improve the healthfulness of either option by selecting whole grain versions.
1. Takeout Orange Chicken or Broccoli Beef
If you crave Chinese food, some options are lower in calories and carbohydrates than others. When comparing entrees at Panda Express, the Original Orange Chicken contains 490 calories, 23 grams of fat, and 19 grams of sugar per serving. In comparison, the Broccoli Beef has just 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 7 grams of sugar. When considering sides to go along with your entrée, keep in mind that the fried rice and chow mein noodles each contain more than 500 calories. Super greens make a much better side dish at only 90 calories.