By Rose Thayer

Killeen Daily Herald

When you work in close quarters with people, you can't help but notice their eating habits and lunch choices.

Our office is no exception, and a heated debate broke out in the newsroom last week after Taco Bell tacos came through the door.

Their owner claimed they are a good diet choice because they come in at only 170 calories each, according to the chain's website.

Depending on how many you eat, the tacos aren't the worst caloric fast-food choice you could make.

But, is there really any nutritional benefit to eating a fast-food taco? More than half the calories in the tacos come from fat, and the company admits its beef is only 88 percent beef, calling the remaining ingredients "signature recipe."

For the 340 calories and 20 grams of fat in two crunchy tacos, you could have a

6-inch ham sandwich without cheese and a side of fruit. They contain a quarter of the fat and to me, that sounds significantly more filling.

Or, if you wanted to go the vegetarian route, as I try to do at lunch, for that number of calories , you could eat two tomato and avocado sandwiches. That's right, two.

Also, veggies are so low in calories that you can pile them on and feel good about it.

Veggies and fruit give your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, and they won't make you feel sluggish.

It reminds me of the nutrition professor from Kansas State University who ate two-thirds junk food, but remained within his calorie restrictions and lost weight. He went from eating 2,600 calories a day to 1,800.

But, he also made sure to include a multivitamin, vegetables and protein shake daily - something most junk food eaters don't do.

Weight loss does seem to boil down to the number of calories consumed, but why eat junk and then take supplements? Just get nutrition the natural way - by eating it.

This ties in with today's Wellness article. The choices we make in our day-to-day life - what to eat, what to drink, whether or not to walk the dog - they all affect our overall health.

Constantly choosing a low-calorie, but fried and nutrient-lacking lunch option - because it's easier and it's what you are used to falling back on - really can impact your health.

The easiest way to ensure you're consuming the number of calories you want at the nutrition level you want is to prepare your own meals and be ready when hunger strikes.

And as I learned from the AgriLife Extension Office, this option might even save you some cash.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

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