So I was traveling recently and stopped in at a sandwich shop for lunch. (This was a chain shop, but I won’t mention the name…) I had assumed that I would be able to get a good sandwich on whole wheat bread, go easy on the cheese and other toppings and I could get by with a reasonable, if not ideal, meal.

So I’m standing there in line reviewing my options and I come across a “Grilled Veggie Wrap”. Well that sounds nutritious. But then right next to it, I see “910 cal.”

Really?!? 910 calories – HALF my daily caloric intake – in a VEGGIE WRAP?!? That seems insane to me. It gets worse though. I look up the nutrition facts on the company’s website. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Grilled Veggie Wrap on a Spinach Wrap
  • 910 calories
  • Total fat: 56 grams (holy crap!)
  • Saturated fat: 22.5 grams
  • Trans fat: 0.5 grams
  • Sodium: 1510 milligrams (nearly half the recommended daily intake)
  • Carbs: 69 grams

The wrap does offer 33 grams of protein, which is about the only redeeming factor here as far as I can tell. This is what I’d call junk food masquerading as healthy food. In fact, you’re better off having a cheeseburger from a general fast food chain. A popular “arched” chain offers a one quarter-of-a-pound burger that gives you 417 calories, 20 grams of fat and 38 carbs.

burger

So the point here, folks, is that things that look or sound healthy aren’t always actually healthy. You should definitely review the nutritional facts before you make a decision. Most large restaurants have nutrition facts published and you can generally just Google something like “{restaurant name} nutrition” to find them very easily.

This also goes for your local grocer’s healthy or organic section. For example, you might think that those gluten-free crackers are healthy – they must be, right? They’re gluten free! – but they can pack in a ton of carbs just like your normal gluten-packed snack crackers.

A glass of juiceHow about that healthy and nutritious fruit juice that’s made with ONLY fruit – six pounds of apples, fourteen bananas, three dozen strawberries and twelve handfuls of kale? While those are delicious and will satisfy a sweet tooth in a heartbeat, they can very easily add up to more than 300 calories in a single bottle and it’s not going to help you feel full for very long at all. Additionally, you’re going to see TONS of carbs and sugar in those bottles – 50 or 60 grams usually. This could translate to as much as a fourth to a third of your daily carb intake (way more if you’re doing a low carb thing).

So while I am not one to advocate calorie counting or meticulously logging your foods and macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats), it is important to know what you’re eating, especially when you’re on the go. Not paying attention to this can slow you down on your goals.