August 5, 2008

Off-the-Road Minefields

I was down in Maryland this past weekend, meaning I took full advantage of the road trip to examine some highway food offerings!

Let's start with Wawa, a convenience store not unlike 7-11 with slightly over 500 branches spread throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Although healthy fare (i.e.: fresh fruit cups, fruit and cheese trays, soy crisps, as well as raw veggies and hummus trays) is available, the items on the "best avoided" list mean business.

A Wawa coffee cake muffin, for instance, clocks in at 711 calories and 51 grams (12.75 teaspoons) of added sugar.

Interested in the large (6 oz) side order of meatballs in a cup? You're talkng 548 calories, two days' worth of saturated fat (41 grams!), and almost a day's worth of sodium (1,788 mg!).

Cinnabon is another "standout. A classic individual bun adds up to 710 calories and a day's worth of saturated fat.

If you're in a daring mood, why not opt for a 900 calorie Caramel Pecanbon (a standard Cinnabon "topped with pecans and smothered with rich caramel")?

Or, you could always be reasonable and -- if the cinnamon aroma has you in a trance -- order a 300 calorie "Minibon" (bonus points for sharing half with someone else!).

Over at Sbarro's, portions are HUGE -- and so are the calorie numbers.

A Philly cheesesteak stuffed pizza (WHO comes up with these items?) delivers an 830 calorie punch along with 2,000 milligrams of sodium (you only need an additional 10% to reach your recommended daily limit,) while a single slice of deep dish spinach, broccoli, and tomato pizza provides 710 calories and two thirds of the daily sodium limit.

Your best bet here as far as a pizza meal goes is a slice of the thin crust cheese variety (although it provides 1,050 milligrams of sodium, it contains less than 500 calories) accompanied with a lightly dressed garden salad.

Skip the 560 calorie cheesecake and reach for a 130 calorie fruit salad instead.

So are we in agreement that being a truck driver may just be the least healthy profession in this country?


CDW said...

I have a weird question for you: how do you get the nutritional info on these items? I mean, do you buy them? Or stand there in the store copying them down in a notebook? Or just go online?

Andy Bellatti said...

All of the above, really. Sometimes I'll see a 600 calorie muffin with a nutrition label and write it down.

Other times, I'll look at the displayed weight of the item to help garner an approximate estimate.

For instance, if a muffin only says that it is 8 ounces, I use that as a guide for an approximate caloric measure.

Some fast food restaurants also have their nutrition information online, which certainly helps!

CDW said...

Cool. Thanks.