Three Easy Food Swaps

Clever marketing from your local eateries can fool you into thinking your not-so-healthy choice is healthy. Here are a few simple tricks that will help you shave off some major calories.

Swap: latte for a misto. Coffee is one of those things that most of us need (yes, we really need it, dangit). But it's easy to suck down the calories of a hamburger in the morning before you're even really awake. The smart choice would be to simply drink black coffee (5 calories), but since we've all become accustomed to sweeter fare, that is just not an option for many people. A grande latte with syrup (260 calories) rivals that of a hamburger, but by switching to a misto with whole milk and syrup (170 calories), you still get full-calorie goodness without the guilt (or having to get a skinny latte). Your barista will even get you a scoop of foam if you ask nicely.

Swap: chicken tender salad for a grilled chicken salad. Automatically, your brain thinks "hmm, salad... that's healthy." What your brain can't decode is that sneaky restaurants will toss in some hidden calories under your nose. The main culprit? The chicken-tender salad. In many restaurant servings, that chicken-tender salad can carry close to 900 calories, which is about double its grilled counterpart.

Swap: fried rice for brown rice. Chinese food can sneak in some major calories, especially in lunch specials with fried rice as an option. Most fried-rice sides are about 400 calories for one cup (and you might be served more than that). Sub white rice for half the calories, or brown rice for half the calories but four times the fiber.

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Becky Means