The hospital cafeteria was pretty crowded as I slipped in an empty seat. As I began eating my lunch, a young hospital employee brought hers and grabbed a seat nearby. My tray, part of the Outpatient Health Meal Program, consisted of a good portion of savory meat loaf, parsleyed potatoes, steamed broccoli, peaches, a small roll, low-fat spread, and unsweetened tea, which was prepared to be around 400 – 450 calories. The employee’s consisted of a drink, a small tossed salad and two packets of regular ranch dressing. As I watched, she opened both packets and proceeded to drown those poor veggies, squeezing the packets to make sure she got the full “benefit” of that tasty topping. Then, while reading a book, she took a few minutes to eat the salad, and then left.
Curious, I got up, went to where the dressings were, and picked up a packet of that particular dressing. Each packet contained 250 calories, and she had used two. So, assuming she didn’t quite get every last smidgen out, she probably consumed at least 450 calories of the rich, fatty dressing to go with the possibly 35 calorie combo of fresh veggies.
“Tastes great – less filling,” This Miller Lite® slogan from years ago has been the eighth best advertising campaign in history, according to Wikipedia. The idea was that this “lite” beer could satisfy one’s desire for the beverage without the calorie count in the regular version.
The hospital employee’s lunch fit under this “tastes great, less filling” category. She may have thought she was having a light lunch…“just a salad”, but it probably left her famished within a couple of hours, and likely to be attracted to the snack machines located on every hallway. That rich ranch dressing, with its creamy texture and delectable tang, definitely tastes great, but, as a fat with little substance, didn’t have staying power in the stomach. My meal, comparable in calories, kept me fully satisfied until close to suppertime.
When trying to shed pounds, choosing our calories wisely is of utmost importance. Combining a lean protein source with whole grains and/or fiber-filled fruits and veggies (with a small amount of good fat) can satisfy the taste buds and the hunger pangs. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with a nice salad, but slathering on fatty toppings can derail our plans for a healthy meal.
Today, I hope you’ll choose your foods wisely, so you can say “tastes great, SO filling”!
Today’s quote: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”