The Shopping Mall Diet

Registered Dietitian, Melanie Douglass, shares some secrets for not blowing your diet when you head out shopping.


Healthy Eating at the Mall:

1. Aim to keep snacks <300 calories
o Split any starchy snacks in half: cookies, muffins, pretzels

o Keep yogurt or ice cream to ½ cup only (one scoop)

o Go for something small, sweet to calm your craving, like one small chocolate truffle.

o Don’t drink your calories, if you must have a fruit smoothie or beverage at the mall, order the smallest size and think “simple” – the more ingredients, the more calories

o Remember, there is likely plenty of leftover food at home (pumpkin pie, etc) so save your calories for the good stuff at home

2. Aim to keep meals <500 calories
o Skip the starches today – rice, beans, bread, chips – because you likely had a few days worth of starchy foods on Thanksgiving day

o Order veggies and meats

o Order a salad with dressing on the side

o If you order a sandwich, keep it to 6″ and don’t order other side items

o If you want to order pizza, try a low-carb cheese pizza, skip the breadsticks, and keep it to one slice. (If the slice is large, then cut it in half and share it.)

3. Remember, “there is no shortage of food”. Most of us likely had too much to eat on Thanksgiving and plenty left over for the weekend. It’s okay to be conservative with food today.

Mall Food: Best “Snack” Choices BY CALORIES (to calm a sweet craving)

• 1 small chocolate truffle: 160

• 1 (12-oz.) Starbucks Hot chocolate (no whip cream): 200

• 1 small (16-oz) orange/strawberry/raspberry julius: 220

• 1 cup raspberry sorbet: 240

• ½ large chocolate chip cookie: 250

Mall Food: Best “Meal” Choices BY CALORIES (for something more filling)

• 1 McDonald’s cheeseburger: 300

• 1 slice low-carb pizza from Sbarro: 300

• 1 serving Kung Pao Chicken or
Broccoli Beef & veggies (w/out rice): ~350

• 1 Subway 6″turkey sub: 380

• 1 Taco Time (1/2-lb.) soft chicken taco 400

Remember, these calories are for the ONE item. Adding beverages, chips, cookies, salads, etc. on the side will add a good 200 calories each. Keep it to one simple menu item and drink water or diet beverages. And trust me, these are the BEST choices. Most mall snacks and/or entrees are easily 500 – 1000 calories. A muffin is usually 500 calories and a simple mall-restaurant meal can quickly adds up to 1000 calories. Wandering away from these recommendations doesn’t add “just a few more calories”—it adds a lot of calories. These are small sacrifices for your health—and your health is definitely worth it!


Have a health question for Melanie? Click here to submit your question and Melanie will answer your question on an upcoming Studio 5 segment!


By Melanie Douglass, R.D., NASM

Author: Tip-a-Day Guide to Healthy Living

(Deseret Book, 2007)

© 2007 Melanie Douglass, Deseret Book

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