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Food court do's and don'ts for shopping season

Does holiday shopping make you hungry? Be careful about what you order at the food court.
December 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Does holiday shopping make you hungry? Be careful about what you order at the food court. Consumer Reports discovered some of the most dangerous food court temptations and some tasty alternatives.

You go to the mall to shop, but inevitably you're lured into the danger zone: the food court.

Take a Cinnabon Classic. It's loaded with 880 calories, roughly half of what we should be eating for an entire day.

Consumer Reports counted calories and followed the fat at the top 20 malls in America and found that the food court is a minefield.

At Starbucks, watch out for the Java Chip Frappuccino with whole milk and whipped cream. A grande's got 460 calories and 18 grams of fat.

At Dunkin' Donuts, a muffin might seem harmless, even healthy, but the blueberry muffin will set you back 460 calories.

With all these not-so-great choices, there are some ways to steer clear.

"If you're just having a snack, you should think about having just about 150 calories," said Maxine Siegel, Consumer Reports.

Instead of that muffin, how about some caramel corn? Doc Popcorn's version has just 130 calories per cup.

A better beverage choice is the light banana berry smoothie at Jamba Juice, with 170 calories and no fat at all.

And your cup of low-fat frozen yogurt can become a calorie bomb when you pick toppings like peanut butter cups, peanuts and M&Ms. Opt instead for strawberries, blueberries or bananas. They're low in calories and fat-free.

More and more snack stops are offering lower-calorie versions of some popular items. Remember that Starbucks Frappuccino? The light version, with nonfat milk, has 260 fewer calories.

So next time you visit the food court, navigate carefully so you don't blow up your diet.


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