Diet Detours: Drive-thru restaurants

February 5, 2013 4:32:03 AM PST
If you're sticking to your New Year's resolution to lose weight, you may not have to give up some of your favorites at fast food chains.

We are starting at the drive-thru. Here are a couple of statistics to digest:

  • 38 percent of people make New Year's resolutions to lose weight
  • Every day, about one quarter of the U.S. population eats fast food
  • If this sounds like you, get in the passenger seat because we're helping you stay on track and avoid those diet detours.

    Fast food doesn't have to mean fatty food if you know the dietary rules of the drive-thru.

    Registered dietitian Katie Cavuto Boyle is helping us navigate the way to nutrition and avoid diet detours.

    Our first stop? South of the border at Taco Bell.

    "You think, I am going to eat healthy, I'm going for the salad," said Katie. "But here's your diet detour. Salads are diet traps!"

    The Chicken Fiesta salad has 730 calories and 35 grams of fat. But the Fresno Chicken soft tacos each have just 150 calories and 3.5 grams of fat

    "So you could eat five of these tacos or this salad," Katie told us, "which you thought was the better choice. And you will probably enjoy the tacos more!"

    Katie says the fried shell, salad dressing and sour cream send the salad off-course.

    She also says size matters. We found that out firsthand at Burger King, where we learned the power of portion control.

    "So this is the Double Whopper with everything on it," she said. "We are looking at almost 900 calories just for the sandwich. And the Whopper Junior without the cheese: it's a savings of 500 calories."

    Now to McDonald's. Katie said you can still get what you crave at the Golden Arches, you just have to get creative.

    The Crispy Chicken BLT has 540 calories.

    "We are opting for the Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch salad. For the same flavor profile you still get bacon and a savings of over 300 calories," she said.

    If we're sizing up fries, you can stay in a healthy speed zone by gearing down. Switch from large to small and you save more than 250 calories!

    Even more on target? A side salad: just 50 calories once you add a light balsamic dressing.

    "A SMALL healthy upgrade is going to make big results," she said, "simple things like swapping mayo for mustard, opting for grilled or broiled version instead of the fried, skipping the cheese on your sandwich."

    And put those creamy, butter-laden side sauces in park!

    "Barbeque is a better option from a caloric standpoint and that will at least have a little more flavor," said Katie.

    And finally, to a driver's education course with The Colonel.

    "One of the Crispy Chicken sandwiches at KFC, we are looking at 5 to 600 calories," she said.

    But the Honey Barbeque Pulled Chicken sandwich saves you almost 200 calories!

    "You don't have to eat food that isn't flavorful, you just have to make a healthier option," said Katie.