There's nothing like a few hours of shopping to make you work up an appetite. But while malls aren't usually known for their nutritious cuisine, they have more healthful options than they used to. In addition to fast food, mall food courts are expanding their offerings to include calorie-friendly meals and snacks to tide you over between stores. Next time you head out to hit the sales, go for one of these choices that will help you fit into all those clothes you love:

  • Customized salad bars. Many malls have salad kiosks where you can mix and match from among such toppings as grilled chicken, turkey slices, raw vegetables, chickpeas, and low-fat dressings. Lisa Lillien, founder of the Hungry Girl web site, uses salsa instead of dressing on her salad for an even bigger calorie savings.
  • Soup counters. Stay away from cream-based soups such as bisques and go for broth-based or tomato-based options. Good choices include Manhattan clam chowder, chicken-noodle soup, and vegetarian vegetable.
  • Asian food. If you can possibly get a dish of steamed chicken and vegetables, go for it. Sushi or sashimi are safe bets, too, as is seaweed salad. Soups such as miso and hot and sour are good choices. What to steer clear of? Anything fried or stir-fried, such as your favorite General Tso's Chicken. And definitely avoid those crunchy noodles and heaping platters of white rice.
  • Delis. You can't go wrong with turkey on whole wheat. Just ask them to hold the mayo and instead top your sandwich with mustard, as well as a heaping portion of lettuce and tomatoes. Tuna salad sounds like a winner, but it's usually drenched in mayo. Ask that any sandwich be made without cheese. And if your sandwich comes with fries, substitute salad greens instead. Trying to avoid too much bread? Gyros, which are skewers of grilled meat, are worth checking out.
  • Italian food. Some of those gargantuan double-crust pizza slices have half your daily recommended calories! If you must eat pizza, go for thin crust and ask for light cheese. Or better yet, hit the buffet salad bar and load up on veggies with a small portion of pasta and sauce.
  • Burger counters. One regular beef burger won't do too much damage, as long as you don't top it with cheese and all kinds of crazy sauces. Needless to say, skip the fries.
  • Dessert. Forget the tire-sized cinnamon rolls and the pretzels drenched in butter. If there's an ice-cream stand, see about getting a child-size portion of sugar-free ice cream or frozen yogurt. Or ask for a fruit cup with a dollop of whipped cream.