Pizza - Cheese and pizza are the No. 1 and No. 2 sources of artery-clogging saturated fat in the American diet. So before you eat it here are some tips to lighten up your pizza: Top it with veggies instead of pepperoni and sausage. While you're at it, say "no" to breadsticks and "yes" to a side salad using a vinaigrette dressing instead of a creamy dressing.
Fettucini Alfredo - Mounds of fettuccine with a cream based sauce (alfredo)is bad enough for the waistline. With only three ingredients (cream, butter, and cheese)you would think it couldn't possibly be that bad for a simple heart-healthy meal, but to put it in perspective, an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby would be better to gorge and you would come out better in the fat grams. So if you love your pasta? Choose whole-grain noodles and keep the serving size to 1 cup. Add fresh, chopped herbs; vegetables sautéed in olive oil; and lean protein, such as beans, chicken or fish.
Soda - Did you know that soft drinks are the biggest source of sugar in our diet? Guzzling large quantities of soda can cause a spike in blood sugar and lead to inflammation, insulin resistance, and hardening of the arteries. A better beverage choice when you want caffeine is unsweetened iced tea or coffee. If it's the carbonation you crave, try seltzer with a dash of fruit juice and a twist of lime.
Stack of Pancakes - That large stack of pancakes with syrup is a plateful of refined carbohydrates. A small stack of pancakes delivers the equivalent of four servings of bread. A better breakfast option is a whole-grain English muffin with ham and eggs. If you must eat flapjacks, make them with whole-grain flour, walnuts, and berries, and go easy on the syrup.
Burritos - Not all Mexican food is bad for you, but cheese-laden nachos and gargantuan burritos filled with steak, rice, sour cream, and cheese sure can be. It all comes down to how you dress your tortilla. A healthier South of The Border meal would be to choose chicken over steak, black beans over lard-filled refried beans, brown rice instead of white, and vegetable condiments such as salsa, pico de gallo, and guacamole in place of sour cream and cheese. If you don't trust yourself to make healthy substitutions when eating out, order the sizzling chicken or shrimp fajitas instead.