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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fast Food, Soup, WLS & You: Making good choices

Soup on the Go:
Smart choices for fast food & restaurant soups from leading nutritionist.
From Cooking with Kaye recipe Newsletter
Link to full Newsletter

While soup does not appear to be a convenience food there are actually some great choices available for dining in or take-out from some of America's leading chain restaurants. According to Hope S. Warshaw, a registered dietician and noted author of multiple food and nutrition reference books, Americans average six meals a week eaten away from home. These are meals prepared in diners, restaurants and fast food joints. She concedes it is our lifestyle driving this trend. "In today's fast-paced and convenience-focused world, Americans frequently choose restaurant meals, eaten in or out of restaurants, to get the job of eating done. When we eat out we surrender to the establishment how the food is prepared, the quality and freshness of the food, and the portion size. But, according to Warshaw, when we are informed we are better able to make smart food choices that support our health and nutrition goals.

From her 800-page 2009 book "What to Eat When You're Eating Out-2nd Edition" I present three national restaurants offering soup selections that are healthy for the general public and support our "Protein First" weight loss surgery diet.

Panera Bread established in 1981 with the single goal of making great bread, is widely credited with driving the nationwide trend toward specialty breads made with quality fresh ingredients. Panera has nearly 1,500 bakery-cafes in the United States and Canad. Their menu includes breads, sandwiches, soup, salads, baked desserts and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages. Average price per meal is less than $10 and a meal of soup is much less than that.

Top Soup Picks Supporting our WLS Goals:
Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup. A 1-cup serving (perfect pouch portion) provides 150 calories and 8 grams protein. That is a little low for protein requirements per meal but the soup also provides 6 grams of fiber while being low in fat and virtually trans fat free. The carbs, measuring 28g per serving, seem high at first glance. But black beans are low-glycemic (GI Value 30) complex carbohydrates. They are rich in folate, manganese, thiamin (B Vitamin) and potassium.

Also good: Turkey Chickpea Chili Soup. 1 (1-cup) serving provides 180 calories, 10g protein, 7g fiber, 22g carbohydrate and is low in fat.
See pages 506-507 of "What to Eat".

Wendy's is a fast food chain known for its "old fashioned" hamburgers. Since opening in 1969 the chain is now 7,000 restaurants strong worldwide. For people with the smaller eating capacity from WLS the Wendy's junior menu is a good place to find traditional burgers and fries in smaller portions. And their chili is widely accepted by many bariatric nutritionists as a suitable choice for occasional dining at the restaurant. A small serving of chili without any sides or beverages is less than $3.00 in most locations.

A small serving of Wendy's Chili (about 1 cup) provides 190 calories with 14g protein, 5g fiber, 19g carbohydrate (again - low glycemic), and is low in fat. The sodium comes in high at 830mg in the small serving size. That is 36% of the total sodium intake (2,300mg/day) the general population should have in a day as set by the USDA Food & Drug Administration in May 2010. Be mindful to select meals with lower sodium values on days that you enjoy the famous Wendy's chili.
See pages 254-255 of What to Eat.

Boston Market is the smallest chain that we look at here with fewer than 600 restaurants, mostly in the northeast United States with a few locations in Canada. The stores are easily recognized by their white and black striped awnings with red trim. Most meals are hot and ready to take-and-go but some restaurants offer dine-in facilities. On the national menu we find rotisserie chicken, beef brisket, country fried chicken and assorted fish entrees that are battered and baked. Sandwiches and soups are offered and may vary by location.

Try Boston Market's Chicken Noodle Soup next time you visit. A 6-ounce serving provides 170 calories with 13 grams protein and 17g carbohydrate. Like most commercially prepared soups the sodium is high at 930mg per serving (38% of your DV- daily value). This is a broth based thinner soup so it is very important to remember your liquid restrictions and avoid drinking fluids for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after eating. This will help your pouch stay full longer and give your body a better opportunity to absorb the nutrients from the chicken noodle soup. A cup of soup is less than $5 at most locations.
See pages 358-359 of What to Eat.

EatingOutNew!! LivingAfterWLS General Store
Eating Out Guide
What to Eat When You're Eating Out
by Hope S. Warshaw
Paperback, 800 pages
2nd edition published 2009

Valuable resource featuring nutritional counts for more than 60 of America's most popular restaurants. Learn strategies for selecting healthier restaurant meals. Get counts for calories, carbohydrate, fat, and protein; know the exchanges/choices and serving sizes for every menu item; and find complete menus from America's most popular restaurants. Also contains tips and facts for healthier restaurant eating. Great resource for eating out while trying to manage health, weight and wellness.

Publisher's Price: $10.95
Value Price: $9.95
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