Which is Worse? Comfort Food

nachos and mozzerella sticksnachos and mozzerella sticksBy Cynthia Ramnarace

Craving warm, satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food? Here's a guide to which foods to choose and which to refuse.

1. Loaded Nachos vs. Mozzarella Sticks
You want something salty and savory but are torn between the pyramid of cheese-drizzled chips and the crunchy-on-the-outside, ooey-gooey cheese on the inside sticks. Which is worse?
Answer: Loaded Nachos
Nachos are where portion control goes to die. After all, says registered dietitian Holly Herrington, who has ever just scooped one chip into that mound of meat, cheese and sour cream and said, "I'm done now?" An entire platter of nachos can yield more than 2,000 calories. Even if you split that with a friend, you're still getting 1,000 fat-filled calories. "The mozzarella sticks are not a great choice, but four sticks have only around 500 calories," says Herrington of the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation. To lighten up nachos at home, make them with baked chips, skip the beef and opt for low-fat sour cream and cheese.

2. Potato Chips vs. Cheese Puffs

You need a snack with some crunch. Do you opt for salty or orange-stained fingers? Which is worse?
Answer: Cheese Puffs
Think of it this way: "At home, you can make your own potato chips," says Robyn Webb, nutritionist and author of The American Diabetes Association Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook. "But I've never heard of anyone trying to make their own Cheetos." That's because unlike the cheese puffs, the potato chips come from a whole, unprocessed food. Compare nutrition labels and the one with the fewer ingredients that you can actually pronounce wins.

3. Buttermilk Biscuits with Gravy vs. Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Either dish can easily conjure up memories of dinner at your grandma's house. But which of these gravy partners is worse?
Answer: Buttermilk Biscuits with Gravy
Biscuits get their flakiness from either butter or shortening, both of which are high in artery-clogging saturated fat. Mashed potatoes have butter too, but not as much. Biscuits range from 150 to 250 calories each, compared to 200 calories in a cup of mashed potatoes. And again, people rarely eat just one biscuit. "When we have a huge plate of mashed potatoes we think, 'That's a lot of potatoes,'" says Herrington. "As opposed to if I have two biscuits on my plate. We think that's an appropriate portion when it's not."

4. B.L.T. vs. Tuna Melt
It's lunchtime: Should you opt for the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich or the cheesy, grilled tuna melt? Which is worse? 8. answer: tuna melt The B.L.T. is the healthier option because you can easily take a few slices of bacon off the sandwich and hold the mayo (or use low fat) without altering the taste of the sandwich. The tuna melt can't be so easily adapted. The "melt" part comes from the cheese and the grilling. "If you're ordering this out somewhere, they take the bread and it's literally sauteed in a pan of butter," says Webb. If you have to have the melt, ask for it open-faced on one piece of whole wheat bread to save a few calories.
Answer: Tuna Melt
The B.L.T. is the healthier option because you can easily take a few slices of bacon off the sandwich and hold the mayo (or use low fat) without altering the taste of the sandwich. The tuna melt can't be so easily adapted. The "melt" part comes from the cheese and the grilling. "If you're ordering this out somewhere, they take the bread and it's literally sauteed in a pan of butter," says Webb. If you have to have the melt, ask for it open-faced on one piece of whole wheat bread to save a few calories.

5. Philly cheesesteak vs. Bacon Cheeseburger

Chopped steak and cheese or a burger with cheese and -- which is worse?
Answer: Bacon Cheeseburger The bacon cheeseburger is worse compared to a 6-inch Philly cheesesteak. Some cheesesteaks are served twice that size, though, so split it with a friend. The average bacon cheeseburger runs about 900 calories while a 6-inch cheesesteak is about 600 calories, says Herrington. You can lighten up the bacon cheeseburger by opting for turkey bacon, low-fat cheese and using ground sirloin instead of ground chuck.

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