Gulp! 7-Eleven offers a leaner lunch

In an attempt to widen consumer appeal without widening consumers, 7-Eleven has debuted its “Pick Smart” line of sandwiches. Yes, the convenience store chain that brought America the Big Gulp (a 32-ounce “cup” of soda) is making a line of sandwiches with less than 10 grams of fat and no more than 420 calories each. 7-Eleven achieved the lower calorie and fat profile by cutting back on mayonnaise and cheese and featuring lean meats, and created three sandwiches including a basic turkey and ham, and two trendy combos: Chicken with Ancho Chili Lime Spread and Jerk Chicken Griller. Nicole Hilburt, R.D., C.N.S.D., a dietitian at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, says these are not a bad choice for a quick lunch. With around 20 percent of the calories coming from fat, it’s a good ratio of fat to calories, she says, and 420 calories per entree is about right for lunch for the average adult aiming for around 1,800 to 2,400 calories a day.

The one item on the “Pick Smart” menu that doesn’t get a passing grade is the Crispy Cereal Starrs. According to 7-Eleven literature, this is “that crispy rice cereal treat Americans grew up loving.” It may be the treat we grew up getting fat on as well: this dessert racks up 330 calories and 6 grams of fat, almost as much as that chicken sandwich. “I would pass on the Starrs,” says Hilburt.

And don’t even think about washing it all down with a Big Gulp.
—Avery Hurt