When it comes to eating healthy, some choices are obvious: baked over fried, low-fat over full-fat. But agonizing at your local coffee counter about what’s better between baked goods is a much more difficult decision. We asked Kirsten Bustamante, certified personal trainer and owner of Stretch Fitness Boutiquein Toronto to break down what’s good, what’s better and what’s to be avoided when it comes to basic meal and snack choices. Find out how well you know your nutrients* with the quiz below – you may be surprised to learn where calories can sometimes sneak in!
* Nutritional percentages are based on a 2000 calorie/day diet
1. How would you rank these four fast breakfast ideas from best to worst?
The bowl of cereal takes first prize because it offers the most nutritional value for the lowest amount of calories, plus calcium is necessary to help prevent osteoporosis. The eggs and toast comes in second because of the higher amounts of both fat and cholesterol. If you’re an egg person, however, then a quick way to bring down the fat and cholesterol is to combine 1 egg white with 1 full omega egg instead of 2 full, regular eggs. The worst choice? A floury, sugary blueberry muffin takes fourth place with more calories, fat and almost double the carbs of a buttery croissant. It may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re trying to eat healthy, stay away from the pastries altogether. They’re simply empty calories.
2. Which snack is the healthiest, from best to worst?
While the Kit-Kat is lowest in calories, the high amount of saturated fat and low protein keeps it from taking the top spot. Always try to eat a low-sugar, high-protein (10g is a good amount) snack in between regular meals. This keeps your sugar levels balanced, increases your metabolism and curbs your appetite so you’ll tend not to overeat during meals.
3. Rank these everyday lunch choices from best to worst.
The sushi is a healthier choice than both sandwiches because the turkey cold cuts are processed, which is high in sodium – twice the amount of the sushi! While the tuna sandwich is higher in fat overall, it’s lower in the dreaded saturated fat and is much lower in sodium than the turkey sandwich. The California roll may be lower in overall calories, but its high sodium level puts it in second place. Be wary of the high-sodium soy sauce sitting at your sushi table. Don’t use it! You’ll only take a healthy meal and make it worse.
4. Keeping in mind the qualities that made the other meals healthy overall, see if you can figure this one out.
Even though the marinara sauce looks like it would be the better choice in the pasta battle, it adds almost double the sodium of the Alfredo sauce to your dinner. The oven-baked salmon beats the pan-fried haddock overall, even though it has slightly more fats. The lower sodium and carbs make salmon the wisest choice.
Note: At a restaurant you’re likely to get a double serving of dinner. Your best bet is to have them put half the meal away for you before they bring it to the table, that way you won’t be tempted to overeat.
Well done! Want to try the quiz again?