How much are you REALLY eating when you are eating out?

Friday, May 13, 2011

I love eating out. I enjoy places such as Costa Vida, Chick-fil-A, and my all-time favorite: Chipotle. If I could eat at Chipotle everyday I would. But even though I enjoy eating out, like most things in life I have to do it in moderation. Without even realizing it we can end up eating more than 1,500 calories in one sitting by going out to eat. That is how many calories most women should be eating during one day, not one meal. I thought today I might post on how many calories I am eating at some of my favorite places, and then talk about healthier, lower- calorie options that you can find at the same restaurant.

1st Stop: Chipotle (my all-time favorite):

Let's look at the steak burrito, with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black beans, corn salsa and rice.

Flour shell (burrito-sized): 290 calories
4 oz black beans: 120 calories
4 oz steak: 190 calories
3.5 oz corn salsa: 80 calories
1 oz cheese: 100 calories
2 oz sour cream: 120 calories
3.5 oz guacamole: 150 calories
3.5 oz rice: 130 calories

This steak burrito comes to a grand total of 1,180 calories! Woah! For Michael Phelps, that's like breakfast, but for the rest of us average Joe's who don't work out five hours a day, that could almost be close to the total amount of calories we should be eating in one day.

Now, like I said before, I love Chipotle — but let's just try a little healthier of an option from the same restaurant.

This time we will do a chicken burrito bowl (no shell) with cheese, lettuce, corn salsa, black beans, and rice.
4 oz chicken: 190 calories
1 oz cheese: 100 calories
4 oz black beans: 120 calories
3.5 oz corn salsa: 80 calories
2.5 oz lettuce: 10 calories
3.5 oz rice: 130 calories

Grand Total: 630 calories

Just by getting rid of a few things you can still get to eat at a great place and only consume half the calories.

2nd Stop: Chick-fil-A

Original Chicken Sandwich: 430 calories
Medium Waffle Fry: 360 calories
One medium Coke: 170 calories

Grand Total: 960 calories — ouch!

Give this delicious meal a try at the same restaurant:

Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich: 290 calories
Side Salad: 70 calories
Fruit Cup: 70 calories
Medium Light Lemonade: 20 calories

Grand Total: 450 calories

Trust me that the grilled chicken sandwich is to DIE for. The chicken is super moist and it even comes on a wheat bun, which is super heart-healthy. I recommend you give it a try.

3rd and Final Stop: Applebee's

The reason I chose this restaurant is because it is more of a sit-down restaurant and there are locations nationally. So any one reading this can benefit.

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo: 1,440 calories

Try this pasta dish instead — you will be able to save yourself some calories for dessert :)

Shrimp Teriyaki Pasta: 440 calories

That is a 1,000 calorie difference! That is huge! You are still getting shrimp, you are still getting pasta, but for a 1/4 of the calories. Give it a try!

Most, if not all restaurants have all the nutrition information on their websites for each of their food options. Pop on over to their restaurant website if you have time before going out to eat so you don' t reach that calorie DANGER zone. Another great resource on nutrition information at restaurants is the book titled "Stop and Go" by Steven Aldana. It is possible to watch your weight and eat out at the same time — you just need make sure you are doing it right!

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