Are 'healthier' food options really better?

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Most consumers have, at some point, checked out the calorie content on the back of a bag of chips or on the wrapper of a candy bar.  But few are as prone to look for the calorie counter when eating out at restaurants.

Sometimes ordering salads or other so-called healthy dishes isn't necessarily the best option.  Those meals can be weighted down in calories.

Did you know that a turkey burger at Ruby Tuesdays has over 100 more calories than an Angus burger at McDonald's?  Likewise, Wendy's Apple Pecan Chicken Salad only has 580 calories compared to O'Charely's Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad which has well over 1,000 calories.

Angela Pietro, the clinical nutrition manager at New Hanover Regional Medical, center says the size of a salad can make the difference.

"Watch portion size because salads in restaurants are usually larger," said Pietro.

Pietro reminds people who are watching their caloric intake that calories add up more quickly when you eat out.

"I think it's important to look at the big picture," explained Pietro.  "About a third of Americans eat out.  If you eat out more than once a week, items like sodium, fat, calories all add up."

Most restaurants will provide a list of their menu items and the calorie content if you ask for it.

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