CYBERSPACE, NOVEMBER 7, 2011 (MSN HEALTH) By Karen Ansel, R.D. Can't give up fast food restaurants? Here's how to eat healthy when you eat out.

Anyone who tells you to avoid fast food is missing the point. It's not like you plan to end up at Burger King at 9 p.m. on a weeknight. It's just the inevitable last resort on those days when you're too hungry — and too busy — to scrounge up anything better.

And when you're stuck in that fast food frenzy, your only option is to go with what's on the menu and hope that your super-fast salad doesn't lead to a super-size wardrobe. Luckily, making one or two small changes to some of your mass-produced favorites can be enough to transform a dieter's disaster into a perfectly decent meal.

Heidi's Klum's catchphrase - "One day you're in, and the next day you're out" - applies as much to food as it does to fashion. Over the years, we've all had favourite eats hit the healthy-food blacklist, but thankfully, some of them are making a return.

In fact, recent research has not only redeemed once-taboo foods such as steak, eggs (yolks included), and peanut butter, but also found that when eaten in moderation, some of them may actually help you conquer the scale.

Manhattan Bagel's Lox and Bagel

1. Plain Bagel 330 calories, 0 grams [g] saturated fat
2. Cream cheese 140 calories, 9 g saturated fat
3. Smoked salmon 105 calories, 1 g saturated fat
4. Red onions 5 calories, 0 g saturated fat
5. Tomato 5 calories, 0 g saturated fat

Total: 585 calories, 10 g saturated fat The compromise: Sometimes carbs really are evil. The ultra-dense bagel puts the calorie count for this sandwich over the top. And the mound of cream cheese doesn't help either. Unfortunately, light cream cheese — with only 20 fewer calories than the real thing — is fairly useless.

The right solution for a lighter nosh: Request your sandwich open-faced with a gentle schmear. You save: 270 calories, 7 g saturated fat

Essentials for eating out or in: 78 WAYS TO CUT 100 CALORIES

Wendy's Taco Supremo Salad

1. Iceberg and romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and onions 35 calories, 0 g saturated fat
2. Cheddar cheese 125 calories, 6 g saturated fat
3. Chili 200 calories, 2 g saturated fat
4. Salsa 30 calories, 0 g saturated fat
5. Sour Cream 60 calories, 3.5 g saturated fat
6. Taco Chips 220 calories, 2 g saturated fat
7. Creamy Ranch Dressing 230 calories, 4 g saturated fat

Total: 900 calories, 17.5 g saturated fat
The compromise: To slim down this salad, swap the dressing for the Reduced Fat Creamy Ranch option, then skip the sour cream altogether. For added calorie savings, ask for the chips on the side, crumble half on top for crunch, and toss the rest. You save: 300 calories, 7 g saturated fat

Starbucks Tall Caffe Mocha

1. Espresso 10 calories, 0 g saturated fat
2. Steamed milk 180 calories, 5 g saturated fat
3. Mocha syrup 50 calories, 0 g saturated fat
4. Whipped cream 70 calories, 5 g saturated fat

Total: 310 calories, 10 g saturated fat
The compromise: A healthy dose of milk fat transforms ordinary coffee into an all-out indulgence. To make this treat less costly to your waistline, trade whole milk for fat-free and just say no to the whipped topping. You save: 140 calories, 10 g saturated fat

McDonald's Crispy Chicken California Cobb Salad

1. Mixed greens, grape tomatoes, and carrots 33 calories, 0 g saturated fat
2. Fried chicken breast 215 calories, 2 g saturated fat
3. Bleu cheese 49 calories, 3 g saturated fat
4. Bacon 45 calories, 1 g saturated fat
5. Chopped egg 21 calories, 0.5 g saturated fat
6. Croutons 60 calories, 0 g saturated fat
7. Newman's Own Cobb Dressing 120 calories, 1.5 g saturated fat

Total: 543 calories, 8 g saturated fat
The compromise: Trade fried chicken for grilled and you'll slash calories by half. Then dress your salad with Newman's Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette, and you won't need to feel guilty about keeping the stuff that makes the salad so good in the first place — bleu cheese, bacon, and croutons. You save: 180 calories, 2.5 g saturated fat


So Glad to Eat You Again!


Then: Egg Yolks were considered tiny cholesterol bombs.

Now: Numerous studies, including one in a 2011 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have debunked the link between eggs and heart disease. Although a single yolk contains nearly the recommended daily limit for dietary cholesterol, it is the most nutrient-rich part, packed with zinc, iron, vitamins A and D, and choline, which may help reduce breast cancer risk. Plus, the yolk contains nearly half of an egg's hunger-quashing protein, which is why white-only omelets aren't as satisfying.

"Because you feel full, you're less likely to overeat later on," says Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, Ph.D., an associate professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Bring it back: A hardboiled egg makes a great snack with staying power - and has only around 70 calories. Just beware fattening companions that often accompany eggs, such as butter, bacon, and cheese.


Then: Higher in calories than most fruits, bananas were considered carbs that packed on pounds.

Now: Bananas contain a type of dietary fibre known as resistant starch that your body can't absorb, so it fills you up temporarily without the risk of filling you out permanently. Other research has linked resistant starch to an increase in post-meal fat-burning, says Janine Higgins, Ph.D., nutrition research director at the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. One of the by-products of the unabsorbed carbohydrates in your system is butyrate, a fatty acid that may inhibit the body's ability to burn carbs, forcing it to incinerate fat instead.

Bring it back: Choose a greener banana; once it has turned totally yellow, the starch inside has broken down and is no longer resistant to digestion. If you don't like to eat bananas when they're that firm, toss one into the blender for a hunger-dampening smoothie. And take a deep whiff before sipping it: Research from The Smell &; Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago shows that the smell of banana helps reduce appetite, so you may not want to eat as much anyway.


Then: Because it's high in saturated fat, coconut oil was demonized by dieters.

Now: Turns out, coconut oil is swimming in medium-chain triglycerides, fats that can be metabolized faster than the long-chain variety found in other oils like sunflower. "They're rarely stored as fat because the body prefers to use them for energy," says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. A 2009 study in Lipids found that supplementing women's diets with about two tablespoons of coconut oil per day fueled a reduction in abdominal obesity while helping elevate HDL (good) cholesterol levels. (Other studies have confirmed there is no negative impact on LDL cholesterol or blood pressure.)

Bring it back: Because coconut oil is calorie dense - about 120 calories per tablespoon - you still want to watch how much you down. Bowden suggests swapping oils high in omega-6, like corn or vegetable, for virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil.


Then: Beef had a reputation for contributing to heart disease and wide waistlines.

Now: New research suggests that saturated fat - at least in moderation - may not be the evil heart attacker it's been made out to be. And today you can buy cuts of meat that are leaner than what was available a decade ago. Red meat is a stellar source of satisfying protein, a known ally in weight management. "It requires more time and energy to digest and can help you gain metabolically active muscle, which burns more calories at rest than fat does," says Wendy Bazilian, D.P.H., R.D., author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet. Plus, beef - particularly the grass-fed variety - contains high concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is associated with a lower body fat percentage. Early research indicates that CLA may disrupt enzymes that help deposit and store fat.

Bring it back: The cut of beef is the deciding factor. Extra-lean ones include top sirloin select, sirloin tip, top round, and eye of round roast. They all have fewer than five grams of total fat and two grams of saturated fat per three-ounce serving, but avoid anything labeled prime, which tends to be fatty. Shoot for a three-to four-ounce portion - the size of a BlackBerry - and grill, roast, or bake it (panfrying only soaks it in butter or oil).


Then: This sandwich staple has been shunned as high-fat and high-cal.

Now: True, peanut butter contains 16 grams of fat per two tablespoon serving, but it's the heart-healthy, monounsaturated kind. "Peanut butter helps with appetite regulation without your even trying," says Bazilian. "It's so nutrient dense that we simply end up consuming fewer calories overall." A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who remained on a diet that included peanut butter for 18 months lost an average of nine pounds.

Bring it back: Skip reduced-fat varieties, which are often heavily sweetened to compensate for missing flavour. Stick with natural PB with no added sweeteners and focus on portion control. If you can't be bothered to measure out two level tablespoons, buy individual packets (try Justin's) for 200 calories or fewer.

Eating out While Dieting

KFC Tender Roast Chicken Sandwich

1. Bun 160 calories, 0.5 g saturated fat
2. Lettuce 0 calories, 0 g saturated fat
3. Tomato 5 calories, 0 g saturated fat
4. Roasted chicken filet 95 calories, 1 g saturated fat
5. Pepper-herb sauce 130 calories, 2.5 g saturated fat

Total: 390 calories, 4 g saturated fat
The compromise: Trimming down this bird is a no-brainer: Opt for ketchup or mustard instead of the calorie-laden sauce. You save: 120 calories, 2.5 g saturated fat

Boston Market Chicken Dinner

1. Sweet garlic rotisserie chicken with skin and wing 280 calories, 3.5 g saturated fat
2. Mashed potatoes 210 calories, 5 g saturated fat
3. Gravy 20 calories, 0 g saturated fat
4. Coleslaw 430 calories, 3 g saturated fat

Total: 940 calories, 11.5 g saturated fat
The compromise: Clip the wing and trim the skin, and you'll cut the saturated fat to almost nothing. Gravy doesn't do much damage, so keep it. Trade the coleslaw for a simple seasonal fruit salad that clocks in at only 70 calories. You save: 500 calories, 5.5 g saturated fat

Chipotle Burrito

1. Tortilla 340 calories, 2 g saturated fat
2. Rice 240 calories, 1 g saturated fat
3. Pinto beans 138 calories, less than 1 g saturated fat
4. Vegetables 100 calories, 1 g saturated fat
5. Steak 230 calories, 4 g saturated fat
6. Cheese 110 calories, 6 g saturated fat
7. Guacamole 170 calories, 2.5 g saturated fat

Total: 1,328 calories, 16.5 g saturated fat
The compromise: With enough calories to feed two hungry gals (and nearly a day's allotment of saturated fat), don't even think about polishing off the entire burrito on your own. Instead, nix the calorie- and fat-heavy steak. Opt for salsa over guacamole, then split it with a friend or take half of the meal home for later. You save: 851 calories, 11.5 g saturated fat

Au Bon Pain Large Strawberry Yogurt with Fruit and Granola

1. Yogurt 365 calories, 2.5 g saturated fat
2. Strawberries 15 calories, 0 g saturated fat
3. Granola 240 calories, 1.5 g saturated fat

Total: 620 calories, 4 g saturated fat
The compromise: Switch the granola for a small cup of extra fruit. Your yogurt will have the chunkiness you like without the calories you'd like to avoid. You save: 170 calories, 1.5 g saturated fat

Healthy Snacks for Dieters 10 can't-go-wrong munchies that will satisfy your craving and help you lose pounds Tamar Haspel Photo: Plamen PetkovTamar Haspel Photo: © Smythe

Satisfy Your Hunger 

Want to stick to your diet?

Start snacking. It helps control hunger and rein in portion sizes at meals. And don't worry, it's supposed to feel indulgent. If a healthy snack isn't satisfying, you'll go in search of something that is.

For help with healthy snacking, we turned to Tara Gidus, R.D., of the American Dietetic Association. "A snack should fill you up, be reasonably nutritious, and be in the 100- to 200-calorie range," Gidus says.

Kashi Chewy Granola Bars

These are the chewiest bars going (don't confuse them with other types of Kashi bars — look for "chewy" on the label). They have 130 to 140 calories each, 4 grams of fiber, 5 g of protein, and they're made with real nuts and whole grains. And they actually taste good.

"You've got chewy, you've got sweet, and you've got a bar," Gidus says. "That's got a real snacky feel to it. The calorie range is right, and the fiber is high."

Frozen Peas And Corn

Ditching the celery sticks doesn't mean abandoning the whole food group. Frozen vegetables often taste better because they're not turning into starch, like their produce-aisle counterparts. Freezing vegetables seals in their naturally sweet flavor.

Half of a cup of peas has 55 calories and 3 g of fiber; the same amount of corn contains 72 calories with 2 g of fiber. The high-fiber and low-calorie-density combination means they're filling and satisfying, and the frozen part makes them interesting. They're firm, but not rock hard, and they melt in your mouth.

"You can use the same trick with fruit," Gidus says. "Freeze grapes or cherries, and it's a whole different experience."

Total Yogurt

Skip the usual fruit-on-the-bottom suspects — high in sugar, ho-hum in texture. Try Fage Total Greek Yogurt instead. This imported greek yogurt is strained, which makes it fluffy. It'll fool you into thinking it's fat-filled, but the "0%" on its label tells you how much fat it really contains.

The 80 calories per serving give you room to maneuver, so sweeten the pot with chopped apricots or dates. "There's evidence that dairy calcium helps you lose weight, and this also adds protein and fiber," Gidus says.


A 2003 Brazilian study found that three apples a day can keep weight gain at bay — and can even help you lose. "There's no magic compound," according to Rui Hai Liu, Ph.D., an apple researcher at Cornell University.

"The best way to lose weight is to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. That increases volume and decreases calorie density."

If you've got 5 minutes and a knife, cut your apple up and mix it with some chopped walnuts and a teaspoon or two of maple syrup. Or eat it with a tablespoon of peanut butter to add about 100 calories' worth of the satiating power of nuts.


Quaker Express Oatmeal

If you think the microwave's only contribution to snack time is popcorn, you have to try Quaker Express.

Office-friendly, it's packaged in an individual cup. Just add water and microwave for about a minute, and you're set to snack.

"Studies have found that oatmeal is more filling than dry cereal with the same calories and fiber content," Gidus says. The Baked Apple flavor has a slight fiber edge (1 g) over the other flavors. Best of all, it won't stink up the office.

Soy Chips

If edamame had a tryst with orange-dusted nachos, the result would look a lot like soy chips — a high-fiber, low-fat snack that's a significant source of soy protein.

And soy protein, according to a recent study in the International Journal of Obesity, not only helps facilitate weight loss, but also helps ensure that the weight lost is fat rather than muscle.

The isoflavones in soy act like estrogen and inhibit the enzyme that facilitates fat deposits, according to Paul Cooke, Ph.D., a soy researcher at the University of Illinois.

A pack of soy chips racks up as many as 7 g of soy protein in about 100 calories, which leaves room for a 1/4 cup of Guiltless Gourmet bean dip. The dip adds 60 calories and another 4 g each of fiber and protein.


Frozen Juice Bars

Unwrap a frozen juice bar and you can practically hear the ice cream truck rounding the corner of your cul-de-sac. "They're sweet and tangy, and anything frozen takes longer to eat," Gidus says.

"They're just afew calories, and they've even got some vitamins."

Our favorite: Edy's Tangerine, with flavor as bright as its color — and a mere 80 calories.


Barbara's Cinnamon Puffins

You know fiber promotes weight loss; you know that high-fiber cereal is an easy way to it; and you know that cereal isn't just for breakfast. But you'd be happier eating this magazine than a bowl of All-Bran.

Enter Barbara, with her Cinnamon Puffins. They're crunchy, puffy, and very, very cinnamony. A 3/4-cup serving has 100 calories and 6 g of fiber. "It looks like a lot," Gidus says, "so your eyes see a substantial snack. It's a lot more impressive than 10 little walnuts." Add low-fat milk if you want, but Puffins can stand alone.



We're not done chewing yet. Licorice, which has an active ingredient called glycyrrhetinic acid, has been shown to help reduce body fat mass. (The good news is you don't have to be able to pronounce the acid to reap its benefits.)

Decio Armanini, M.D., who did the research at Italy's University of Padua, explains that there are two ways licorice works. The first is complicated and involves blocking an enzyme that plays a role in fat accumulation. The second is simpler. "Licorice can reduce appetite," he says. "The effect is probably related to the agreeable taste of licorice, and for that reason people do not need to eat more."

We're not talking Twizzlers here; go for the real thing, preferably with licorice extract high on its ingredient list. (Look for it in grocery stores, not convenience stores.) A handful is about 150 calories and will keep you busy chewing something sweet, flavorful, and satisfying for twice the time it takes to down a bag of M&Ms.


Before you reach for a snack — even one on this list — ask yourself if you're really hungry. If you're not or you're not sure, reach for a stick of gum.

James Levine, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic has measured the energy burned by chewing and found that just moving your jaw up and down can burn some 11 extra calories per hour, which is a boost of about 19 percent over your just-sitting-there level.

Now, 11 calories may not sound like much, but that's about a pound a year for every hour per day that you chew. And that doesn't count the calorie savings from the snacks you're not eating.


Charles Dickens said: Subdue your appetites, my dears, and you've conquered human nature!

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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