Watch what you eat

It’s a Saturday morning. You’re hungover and want a quick and fast meal – now.
McDonald’s breakfast is still going, so you order their deluxe breakfast and finish it before you even get home. While it seems it has helped the hangover, you have actually just eaten 1,370 empty calories, including 65 grams of fat and 2,340 mg of sodium.
Welcome to America, where one meal can give you an entire day’s worth of calories!
Although keeping yourself healthy and trim might sound impossible nowadays, I’ve gathered up some information from the book “Eat This, Not That” which might shed some light on what’s actually going into your body. 
Here are a few facts I found while on the search for healthy eating.
Stouffer’s White Meat Chicken Pot Pie contains 1,160 calories and 66 g fat. You’d be better off eating six scoops of Breyer’s Almond Butter ice cream. I don’t know about you, but I’d pick the ice cream.
Yoplait 99 percent Fat Free Cherry Orchard yogurt contains 27 g sugar – more sugar than a Kit Kat bar. And you thought all yogurt was healthy!
One packaged Oscar Mayer Turkey and Cheddar Lunchable has the same amount of sugar as 10 doughnuts.
 Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing contains 140 calories with 14 g fat in every 2 tablespoons – and who really puts on just 2 tablespoons on their salad? 
Someone would have to spend 116 minutes on the elliptical trainer to burn off one Taco Bell Fully Loaded Taco Salad. (For those bad at math, that’s almost two hours.)
Although a favorite among many college students (including myself), a single box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese has more trans fat than an entire family should eat in a day.
The candy bar Twix contains as much saturated fat as 11 strips of bacon.
A Starbucks Frappuccino is more like a milkshake than coffee drink. Drink this 290-calorie beverage once a day and you’ll find yourself 28 pounds heavier at the end of the year.
Even though Jimmy John’s appears healthy, order the J. J Gargantuan and you’ll be getting more than 1,000 calories, 55 g fat and a whopping 3,700 mg sodium – almost twice the recommended sodium intake per day. 
Well, there goes all the good food you once enjoyed, right?
Don’t fret. I also found some very useful tips that helped me deal with my Twix cravings.
Getting more protein in your diet helps cut cravings, build muscles and speeds metabolism (up to 71 more calories a day). Foods high in protein include grilled chicken, lean beef and eggs. 
Dark chocolate has been found to improve mood and concentration, reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure – look for bars with at least 60 percent cocoa.
Switching from frozen DiGiorno pizzas to frozen Kashi pizzas will save you 630 calories, 37 g fat and almost 1,000 mg sodium, without sacrificing taste.
McDonald’s Big N’ Tasty contains less than 500 calories – pick this over a Burger King Triple Whopper and you’ll save yourselves 790 calories and 60 g fat.
Instead of grabbing a Monster next time you need an energy boost, throw together ham, romaine, tomatoes and an egg on a whole wheat English muffin. It’s proven to get longer and higher energy levels than energy drinks.
Fudgsicle’s Original Fudge Bars are made from real milk, have a mere 1 g fat per bar, and are great for satisfying your sweet tooth without the added fat calories. 
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, Is it really worth it to give up macaroni and cheese and Taco Bell?
At first I considered this too, but in the end I gave healthy eating a trial run.
The results were slow, but within two weeks I noticed subtle yet significant differences. I had more energy throughout the day. I was not craving late-night McDonalds runs anymore. My stress levels were finally manageable. I was not hitting the snooze button eight times before class anymore.
And after a month, my high school jeans fit again. 
This is all because I chose from Taco Bell’s Fresco menu instead of the Grilled Stuffed Burrito, ate some protein in the morning, and made sure the food I bought had reasonable sodium levels. 
So the next time you’re grocery shopping, check the nutritional information on the box before you toss it into your cart. Don’t let food companies make your waistband grow and your liveliness shrink. You’ll be surprised at the outcome.
Megan Loos is a senior psychology  major from Schaumburg. She is the Scout  photo editor.
Direct questions, comments and other responses to mloos@mail.bradley.edu