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EXPERTS ADVICE

Eliminate Your Fears And Doubts About Eating For A Healthier Heart At Checkers

Jonathan Valdez, MBA, RDN, CSG, CDN, CCM, CDE, ACE-CPT

Checkers, sister store to "Rally's," is one of the largest double-lane fast food restaurants in the USA. Since being founded in 1985, Checkers has been known for their juicy burgers along with their crispy fries which have fed many hungry fast-food connoisseurs. It's not just burgers that faithful Checkers customers enjoy, it's also the wide variety of menu items ranging from chicken strips and sandwiches, wings, hot dogs, desserts, and milkshakes.

Juicy beef, crunchy chicken strips, tasty cinnamon apple pies, and wonderful crisp potato fries are items also enjoyed by many families that can be found on Checkers' menu. Their tastes are tantalizing, you can't just stop in for one bite. However, when ordering, take the time to read the menu before you stop by as these are treats high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. With all treats, it is recommended to be consumed in moderation.

Frequently consuming large portions of refined grains and foods high in saturated fats may lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, clogged arteries, and heart disease. Unfortunately, healthier options such as wheat or whole grain are not available at Checkers. Does that mean you can't have their famous Baconzilla? Of course not, but reconsider having a Baconzilla every day! 1 burger contains 910 calories, 560 calories from fat, 62 grams of fat, 24 grams of saturated fat (The recommendation based on a 2,000 calorie diet is no more than 13 grams of saturated fat), 1,670 mg of sodium, 46 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 43 grams of carbohydrates. If you are with your best friend, you may want to split this meal, along with water and some Fry Love. If you need something sweet, you may want to water down the sweet iced tea because 32 ounces contain 260 calories and 67 grams of carbohydrates.

Checkers also have healthier options that don't require sharing or extra planning. If you're looking for their better options, consider the Memphis BBQ, which is new on Checkers' menu. 5 pieces contain 330 calories, 20 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 31 grams of protein, 160 mg of cholesterol, 820 mg of sodium, and 4 grams of carbohydrates. Another lower calorie, but a filling burger, that is recommended is the Crispy Fish Sandwich. One sandwich contains 530 calories, 29 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of fiber, 15 grams of protein, 50 mg of cholesterol, 760 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, and 8 grams of sugar. If you want to continue to reduce the fat, sodium, and calories, order the tartar sauce on the side to better control portion sizes or remove it, completely.

There are more options on the Checkers menu for individuals that have a taste for something other than juicy beef and melted cheese. Checkers also serve foods in a la carte, so it is possible to minimize total caloric intake along with saturated fats by not ordering their whole meals. Eating on-the-go doesn't have to be a tall feat, just a little planning. If Checkers isn't your jam, you are allowed to have any fast food treats, but just don't let it be the main part of your day-to-day healthy lifestyle.