7-ELEVEN SLURPEE OR 1 PINT OF HAAGEN-DAZS CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
Of course the pint of ice cream has more #calories, but the difference is smaller than you might think. 7-Eleven sells more than 13 million Slurpees each month. A Coca-Cola Classic Slurpee has 330 calories and about 88 grams carbs for about 22 ounces. The 40-ounce Slurpee is nearly double at 600 calories and 160 grams carbs. By comparison, a pint of Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream has 1,080 calories. But a Haagen-Dazs Vanilla & Almonds Bar has only 320 calories, 12 grams fat and 22 grams carbs.
Fit Tip: Try a 12-ounce Crystal Light Raspberry (or Lemon-Lime) Ice Slurpee, which has just 50 calories. The 22-ounce size still has only 90. Or why not try the #Diet Pepsi Slurpee — it’s virtually calorie-free!
POTATO CHIPS VERSUS TERRA CHIPS VERSUS DORITOS VERSUS PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH CRACKERS
They’re all pretty much the same calorie-wise because the chips usually come in 1.5- or 2-ounce bags.
- Terra Chips (per ounce): 140 calories, 7g fat, 18g carbs
- Wise Potato Chips (per ounce): 150 calories, 10g fat, 14g carbs
- Doritos Cool Ranch Chips (per ounce): 140 calories, 7g fat, 18g carbs
- Frito Lay Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers (one package): 210 calories, 10g fat, 23g carbs
Fit Tip: We tend to eat the entire bag of whatever we buy, so choose the smallest one — don’t pretend you’re going to share or save some for later. Also, what about a piece of fruit? Many convenience stores have fresh-fruit cups or loose apples, oranges and bananas. A few I checked out even had hard-boiled eggs. All are better snacks.
DAVID’S SUNFLOWER SEEDS VERSUS PLANTERS TRAIL MIX – NUTS, SEEDS & RAISINS
The sunflower seeds are the obvious winner, but if you peek at the calories, you’ll see that both are pretty high. A 5.75-ounce bag of sunflower seeds in their shells contains 475 calories, 37.5 grams fat, 12.5 grams carbs, 17.5 grams protein; a 6-ounce bag of trail mix has 800 calories, 60 grams fat, 55 grams carbs, 25 grams protein. On the positive side, they’re both packed with protein and good heart-healthy fat, as well as other nutrients.
Fit Tip: Go for the smaller bags of sunflower seeds if the store has them. Nuts and even trail mix can be good sources of nutrients — as long as you don’t eat the entire bag. They can be addictive!
SAUSAGE, EGG AND CHEESE ON ENGLISH MUFFIN VERSUS BANANA WALNUT MUFFIN
The banana muffin may sound safe, but it’s really quite calorically “expensive” at 605 calories (not to mention 30 grams fat and 72 grams carbs). The breakfast combo on the English muffin is a much better deal at 450 calories, 24 grams fat and 37 grams carbs.
Fit Tip: Most convenience stores have small packages of cereal and skim milk, so if you choose a low-cal cereal (about 90 to 150 calories per box), you’ll be OK. If you’re getting an egg sandwich or burrito, choose either sausage, ham or cheese, but don’t double your trouble by picking both meat and cheese. And you can always remove one of the links or some of the cheese before you heat it up.
7-ELEVEN 1/4-POUND BIG BITE VERSUS DON MIGUEL BEEF STEAK BURRITO
The 1/4-pound Big Bite hot dog has 365 calories, 34 grams fat, 2 grams carbs and 1,138 milligrams sodium, plus 120 calories for the bun. So you’re looking at 485 calories before you even add any condiments. It’s close, but the Beef Steak Burrito (7 ounces) is the better bargain at 390 calories, 8 grams fat, 61 grams carbs and 930 milligrams sodium.
Fit Tip: Stick to the 5-to-7-ounce burritos (300 to 500 calories) and avoid the 10-ounce (600 to 700 calories). Or you can go for the 1/8-pound Big Bite hot dog which has 280 calories (including the bun). Not bad if you only have one. Watch the condiments, because they can add up. Sauerkraut, mustard, ketchup and relish are OK, but steer clear of butter and mayo, and avoid the cheese and chili: They can add more than 250 calories to your frank.
READY PAC CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD VERSUS MEDITERRANEAN STYLE TURKEY SANDWICH VERSUS A HOT POCKET HAM & CHEESE
Our first instinct is to go with the salad, because it just seems healthier. But be careful — the salad package reads 230 calories, but there are two servings, so the total is 460 calories, 42 grams fat, 8 grams carbs and 1,220 milligrams of sodium. And the turkey sandwich, normally a healthy choice, could become high in calories because of the dressing. Remember that these are prepackaged sandwiches, so you can’t “hold the mayo” or the high-calorie special sauces. In this particular case, the turkey is still the winner at 400 calories, 14 grams fat, 43 grams carbs and 1,540 milligrams sodium. The Hot Pocket Ham & Cheese is the worst choice at 540 calories, 18 grams fat, 74 grams carbs and 1,410 milligrams sodium.
Fit Tip: Sandwiches are typically good deals, but the sauces can take them over the top, so scrape off any excess — just 1 tablespoon of mayo (the typical base for many sauces) has 100 calories. Another great food bargain is soup. Many times all you have to do is heat it up or simply add hot water. For example, Campbell’s Soup at Hand is very low in calories, and the container fits in the cup holder of your car.
NUTRI-GRAIN BAR VERSUS POWER BAR VERSUS CLIF BAR VERSUS SNICKERS
The Nutri-Grain bar is lowest in calories, but it’s also about a third the size of the others. If the Nutri-Grain bar satisfies you and you don’t mind the sugar, trans fat and the processing, it would be your best bet.
- Nutri-Grain bar: 140 calories, 3g fat, 27g carbs (contains high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats)
- Chocolate Power Bar: 230 calories, 2g fat, 45g carbs (contains high-fructose corn syrup)
- Chocolate Brownie Clif Bar: 240 calories, 4.5g fat, 45g carbs (organic and contains no trans fat)
- Snickers bar: 280 calories, 14g fat, 35g carbs (contains sugar, saturated and trans fat)
Fit Tip: Probably the hardest part of leaving a convenience store without buying anything unhealthy is staring at all the candy bars at the counter while you’re in line. Stay focused, and avoid those impulse buys.
ARIZONA ICED TEA WITH GINSENG VERSUS GATORADE VERSUS OJ
The iced tea has 175 calories and 45 grams carbs for a 20-ounce bottle, while 16 ounces of Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice Original has 220 calories and 52 grams carbs, as well as 900 milligrams potassium and all that vitamin C. In terms of calories, however, Gatorade wins. Gatorade Lemon-Lime Sports Drink has 50 calories, 14 grams carbs per 8 ounces, or 200 calories and 56 grams carbs in a 32-ounce bottle.
Fit Tip: Choose no-calorie flavored coffee, like 7-11’s chocolate cherry coffee, and use skim milk.