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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Pay Less at the Pump and Get More Plump?

I heard a report on NPR over the weekend that really got me thinking (have you seen the movie Sliding Doors? If not, great rental!). Apparently, due to higher gas prices, more consumers are cutting corners by either brown bagging it, or switching from mid-priced sit down restaurants to cheaper fast food joints. So, here’s what I’m thinking; this could be a nutritional godsend, or an absolute catastrophe. It all depends on what’s in the bag (either brown or drive through). Changing up your eating habits is one of those fork in the road moments; which path will you take – the road paved with fruits, veggies and whole grains, or lined with fried meat, French fries and cheese? Take a look at these two comparisons:

BROWN BAG:
Path #1: Ham and cheese on white bread, snack pack of chips, 4 sandwich cookies, 1 can of soda. 910 calories (most of us need 2,000 per day or less), high sodium, sugar and fat, low fiber, vitamins and minerals (in other words, not so hot nutritionally).

Path #2: Turkey and reduced fat cheese on 100% whole wheat bread, half cup baby carrots with 2 Tbsp roasted red pepper hummus for dipping, 1 medium peach, 16 oz water, 2 dark chocolate pieces. 545 calories (a more reasonable chunk of our daily needs), low sodium, sugar and fat, high fiber and loaded with nutrients (in other words, this lunch kicks booty nutritionally speaking). By the way, saving 365 calories five days a week results in cutting 94,900 calories per year – enough to prevent a 27 pound weight gain!

DRIVE THROUGH:
Path #1: Crispy chicken sandwich, large fries, large soda. 1390 calories…you know the rest.
Path #2: Grilled chicken breast wrap, medium fruit cup, water. 460 calories, yada, yada, yada.

If you really think about it, higher gas prices could just trigger a domino effect that either improves the quality of our diets and lowers nationwide rates of disease, or junks up our diets and keeps heart surgeons and pharmacies really, really busy. So, if gas prices are driving a change in your eating routine (no pun intended), choose the road less traveled and fill your bag with healthy fare; down the road, it could just seal your weight and your fate.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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