Watch What Foods You Order

Subway 6-inch Veggie Delite Sub on Italian Bread, Subway Apple Slices, Small Bag of Baked Lay?s

When Andy eats out at lunch during the week, he often goes to Subway. This is a better choice than some restaurants but not all menu items are diet-friendly. For instance, one of Andy’s favorites, the BMT (Biggest, Meatiest, Tastiest) footlong sandwich made with salami, pepperoni and ham, has 1000 calories if you include cheese and light mayo. Add chips to that and he’s over 1000 calories for lunch!

It’s amazing to me that a basic lunch meat sandwich has that many calories. Many people would guess that it has far fewer. That’s the problem with eating out. You’re never sure how the food is made so it’s hard to figure out the calories count and most of us underestimate.

After seeing the BMT sandwich listed repeatedly on Andy’s journal, I asked him to try a different sandwich, such as the turkey or chicken breast footlong. These sandwiches have less fat and are a little lower in calories. The turkey footlong with cheese and light mayo has about 740 calories and the chicken breast version has just over 820 calories.

Andy continues to lunch at Subway and he has tried mixing up his sandwich order. But just being aware of how many calories are in these meals is important for all dieters. What seems like a healthy choice can be loaded with calories. In fact, restaurant salads often have more calories than a burger, especially when they’re loaded with cheese, bacon, and creamy dressing.

Check online before going out to see if the restaurant has nutrition information. That way, you’ll be able to identify the real “diet-friendly” choice.

Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, foodnuti.com. She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.