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Posted on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Avoid this diet buster: But it was only a taste!

By Melissa Gerharter MS, RD

The other day I took my two small children for a special treat and we went out to lunch at a local sandwich shop. We each ordered a sandwich, and my two boys were allowed to indulge in chocolate milkshakes while I sipped on my water.

As we worked on eating our sandwiches, both of my boys slowly sipped away at their milkshakes, and before long we were finished with our meal and ready to go. My sons each had half of a milkshake that were headed towards the garbage can, and I couldn’t let that happen!

I found myself taking a few sips and tasting the chocolaty, cold goodness of the milkshake, and before I knew it, I finished off one of the half full cups.

As we were leaving and throwing our garbage in the trash, I decided to take the other half empty milkshake in the car with us in case somebody got thirsty on the way home, knowing that someone was me.

By the time we got home the other, half empty milkshake was in my belly. I never ordered a milkshake for myself, so surely those calories didn’t count, right? I just tasted my sons' milkshakes after all.

I know I am not alone in this line of thinking, although clearly it is not correct! I often hear from clients that, "I just had a salad for lunch," thinking that this was a great, healthy choice.

When I dive a little deeper into questioning what was on the salad, I later find out there were croutons or wonton strips, cheese, bacon and of course, dressing. Those toppings alone could pack on 400-500 calories without counting any of the vegetables or protein.

Another great example is toppings on frozen yogurt. While frozen yogurt alone is not necessarily a bad choice, when you start adding cookie toppings, nuts, and candies on it, now you have what could have been a 200-300 calorie meal is now a 400-500 calorie treat. It all adds up.

The bottom line: Be accountable for what you put in your mouth!

Melissa Gerharter MS, RD is co-owner of Joust Strength and Fitness of Ann Arbor, She is also a personal trainer and an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University. She can be reached at