Mall Food Courts
Best picks: A lean-turkey sub on wheat or multigrain bread with mustard and plenty of vegetables. The whole grains and vegetables have fiber to fill you up while providing vitamins and minerals. Turkey is low in fat, and the protein helps control your appetite, says registered dietitian Sarah Krieger. Or, if there’s a sushi counter, order a salmon roll and some low-fat, high-fiber edamame. Fish is the protein source with the most nutrients for the lowest number of calories, says registered dietitian Katherine Tallmadge.
Another good option: A broth-based vegetable soup, such as minestrone or udon noodle. “You’ll be getting a couple of servings of vegetables,” says Krieger, “and studies show that the high volume of soup helps fill you up on fewer calories.” Stay away from milk- and cream-based soups, which are usually high in fat. Soups also tend to be salty, so skip them if you’re watching your sodium intake.
Worst pick: General Tso’s chicken with white rice. Where to start? This dish is deep-fried, often with dark-meat (fattier) chicken, and it’s served with nutrient-barren white rice. When food-court Chinese is your only option, go for steamed or stir-fried mixed vegetables over brown rice.