This week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest released tests that revealed the “worst restaurant meal in America” is Long John Silver’s “Big Catch.” The meal of fried fish, hushpuppies and onion rings has 33 grams of trans fat, 19 grams of saturated fat and 3,700 milligrams of sodium. Its calorie count comes in at 1,320.

Although other restaurant meals may contain more calories, the high fat levels in Long John Silver’s meal far exceed recommended intakes. The American Heart Association recommends less than 2 grams of trans fat daily and no more than 16 grams of saturated fat daily.

Pamela Barainca, clinical nutrition manager at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, says the high levels of unhealthy fat and sodium in the “Big Catch” increase the risk for heart attack or stroke. While it is not always easy to choose healthy foods on the road or eating out, Barainca recommends these tips for healthy dining:

  • Look for foods that are steamed, baked or broiled.
  • Avoid foods with trans fat.  They lower good cholesterol (HDL) and increase bad cholesterol (LDL).
  • Substitute sides of onion rings or fries for fruit or vegetables.
  • Choose light, balsamic salad dressings and ask for them on the side.
  • Avoid sugary beverages such as soda. Drink water, nonfat milk or unsweetened iced tea instead.
  • Split an entrée with another person or take half home for a meal the next day.

Following these basic tips can help you choose healthier options and keep you from falling victim to foods, such as those in the “worst restaurant meal in America.”

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