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FDA: Calorie Count To Help Americans Make Better Food Choices

FDA: Calorie Count To Help Americans Make Better Food Choices

The day after Thanksgiving we're digging into our leftovers, but as the holiday season continues, chances are we'll be picking up a quick bite to eat on the run. New rules announced by the FDA could make it easier to track calories while dining out.

Americans spend more than half of their food dollars on food prepared outside the home, and a typical meal at a restaurant carries more than half the calories that a person should consume in one day.

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This week, the Food and Drug Administration came out with new rules requiring fast food restaurants, convenience stores, movie theaters and eateries with that have more than 20 outlets to post calorie counts.

California has had similar rules in place since 2011. Registered Dietician Katie Ferraro said the California rules have caused people to consume 100 calories fewer per meal.

She said it has also caused restaurants, such as the Cheesecake Factory and Denny's, to offer lower calorie options on their menus.

Ferraro offered the following tips to lower the number of calories you consume when eating out:

• Order off the appetizer menu.

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• Eat baked foods instead of sautéed or fried foods.

• Take half of your meal to go.

• Drink low calorie drinks, such as coffee, tea, and ice tea, to save your calories for the food.