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Consumer Reports: Eating healthy at the food court

Posted at 10:33 AM, Dec 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-19 10:33:11-05

If marathon gift buying works up your appetite, nutrition experts at Consumer Reports have some suggestions for what to eat and what to avoid at the food court.

"There are plenty of pitfalls, but if you're smart about it, you can make good choices," said Consumer Reports Health & Food Editor, Trisha Calvo.

Start with portion control. At Five Guys, the 'little' hamburger and 'little' cheeseburger are still satisfying — and you'll save between 200-300 calories, compared to the regular size.

Forgo the fries, though. Each regular sized order has almost a thousand calories, 41 grams of fat and almost a thousand milligrams of sodium, before the ketchup!

At Subway, one of the leanest cold cuts is actually roast beef. Another good option is the Rotisserie-style chicken. It's a little higher in fat and calories than a carved turkey sandwich - but far lower in sodium. And pile on the veggies for flavor.

"You really want to be careful with condiments because even small amounts of some sandwich spreads and salad dressings can pack a lot of fat, calories and sodium," said Calvo.

A Chicken Caesar Asiago Salad from Au Bon Pain becomes a better choice, by selecting balsamic vinaigrette instead of Caesar dressing, which saves 140 calories and 16 grams of fat.

And order your Auntie Anne's pretzels without butter or salt — which cuts calories, fat and sodium.

"You don't have to deprive yourself, you just need to make smart choices," said Calvo.

Small swaps can sometimes make a big difference.