food stamps

Subway restaurants now accept food stamps.  Rhode Island is launching a program to allow homeless, elderly and disabled people to use food stamps at four Subway restaurants in the Providence area.  While this is great exposure for the national chain restaurant and wonderful news for someone who uses food stamps, be forewarned that the Subway diet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

While Subways “Eat Fresh” motto might have you thinking that what you’re digging into is loaded with nutrients, diners underestimated calories in food from Subway by 35 percent more than they did from comparable choices at McDonald’s, which does not claim to be healthier. The researchers hypothesize consumers were prone to a phenomenon known as a “health-halo,” which caused them to underestimate calories from restaurants they perceived to be healthier and ultimately consume more calories than they would have otherwise.

For instance McDonald’s Angus Deluxe Snack Wrap contains about 410 calories when you compare that to Subway’s 12-inch Oven Roasted Chicken sub, which has about 640 calories, not including extras like mayo (110 calories), cheese (60 calories) or salad dressing (45 calories).  Not all fast food was created equal, but just because it’s bad for you doesn’t mean you can’t indulge every once in a while.  Here are a few tips to take with you when you dine at a fast food restaurant but want to keep your waistline trim.

1. Choose “snack” sizes, which often have half the calories of the full-size version.

2. Be a small fry. If you must have fries, keep it to a small size; or if your meal comes with a larger size, throw half of them out before you even start eating.

3. Salads aren’t always healthy. Salads provide lots of nutrients and fiber, but some pack in more calories than a hamburger and fries. So avoid toppings like bacon, cheese, crispy lo mein noodles and fried tortilla strips. Choose vinaigrette over creamy salad dressings and ask if the restaurant offers a half portion.

4. Skip the soda and the shakes.

5. Other good choices include chili, baked potatoes and bean burritos.