I live in NYC so I’m used to seeing calorie counts everywhere. They’re posted at movie theatres, Starbucks and even on the menus of Mister Softee treat trucks. So when I’m in a city that doesn’t require making them public, I always wonder if people are aware of how many calories they’re racking up and if knowing the numbers would change how they order.
I was recently in line at a Starbucks around 3pm (in a city without mandatory calorie postings) and I saw a woman order a grande no whip skinny vanilla latte and a low fat blueberry muffin. That combo seems like a reasonable snack, but it packs a total of 560 calories and half a day’s worth of carbs. If you’re sticking to a 1,600 calorie diet, your calorie “budget” per snack should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-400 calories, but without knowing what you’re “spending” it can be easy to go overboard.
Here are a few examples of calorie-swollen quick service snacks and slimmer alternatives:
Jamba Juice Strawberry Energizer Smoothie (original size) – 390 calories
INSTEAD: Try Jamba’s 16 oz fresh squeezed carrot juice – 130 calories
Panera Bread hot tea with lemon and a cinnamon scone – 560 calories
INSTEAD: Swap the scone for a Pumpkin Muffie – 270 calories
Au Bon Pain medium broccoli cheddar soup – 300 calories
INSTEAD: Order a medium serving of garden vegetable – 80 calories
Dunkin Donuts multigrain bagel with reduced fat veggie cream cheese – 520 calories
INSTEAD: Ask for an English muffin with 2 Tbsp peanut butter – 340 calories
Here are a few swap that save calories at home:
One ounce of pita chips with one half cup hummus – 330 calories
INSTEAD: Trade the chips for one small red pepper cut into strips – 225 calories
4 cubes 2% cheddar cheese and 4 whole grain crackers – 445 calories
INSTEAD: Go for 4 cups air popped popcorn sprinkled with one quarter cup shredded organic Parmesan – 210 calories
There’s a provision in the proposed House health care bill (Section 2572) that requires retail food establishments "part of a chain with 20 or more locations" to list calorie counts on menu boards, including drive-throughs. What do you think - would you like to see this become law?
P.S. At Starbucks, trade in the muffin for almonds and eat one serving, about the size of a golf ball. You’ll save 270 calories.