Restaurant Dishes vs. Homemade Dishes

by in Dining Out, May 11, 2012
restaurant meal
Thinking of dining out? Consider staying in to save loads of calories.

Want to save money and eat healthier? We’re taking your favorite restaurant dishes and pitting them head-to-head with healthy make-at-home alternatives. Who do you think the winners are?

Dining Out:  P.F. Chang’s Beef with Broccoli
Although the nutrition facts lists this dish as 290 calories, 12 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat and 1,573 milligrams of sodium, each dish put in front of you contains three portions. It’s less likely you’ll keep portions in check when they’re all served in one big plate. If you down the entire dish, that’s 870 calories, 36 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat and a whopping 4,719 milligrams of sodium – more than double your daily recommended sodium intake.

Dining In: Ellie Krieger’s Emerald Stir-Fry With Beef
Ellie’s lightened-up dish made with lean beef, fresh broccoli, edamame and snow peas has 400 calories, 15 grams of fat, 2 grams saturated fat and 625 milligrams of sodium.

By making your own at home, you control the portions and the high salt ingredients. Here’s what you’ll save:

  • Calories: 54%
  • Fat: 58%
  • Saturated Fat: 78%
  • Sodium: 87%

Dining Out: TGI Friday’s Turkey Burger
If you think you’ve made an automatic healthy choice by choosing turkey over beef burgers, you’ll be shocked to find that TGI Friday’s turkey burger weighs in at 890 calories, 46 grams of fat and 11 grams of saturated fat.

Dining In: Dana’s Mix-and-Match Turkey Burgers
Choose any of these 5 delicious turkey burger combinations—all for fewer than 370 calories and 12 grams each. Dress up your burgers with mango chutney, balsamic onions, BBQ sauce or black beans.  Check out how much you’ll be saving:

  • Calories: At least 58%
  • Fat: At least 74%

Dining Out: Panera Bread’s Tomato & Mozzarella on Ciabatta
This pressed sandwich made with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and roasted tomatoes has 760 calories, 29 grams of fat and 10 grams of saturated fat.

Dining In: Alex Guarnaschelli’s Pressed Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Mozzarella cheese, garlic, sea salt, thyme and rosemary meld together in these delightful mini grilled cheese sandwiches. Each has 90 calories, 6 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. Have two or three for lunch—together with a nice bowl of tomato soup and you’ll still be eating fewer calories.

Your savings:

  • Calories: 88%
  • Fat: 79%
  • Saturated Fat: 75%

Dining Out: Chili’s Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla
This bad boy has 1,480 calories, 103 grams of fat, 39 grams of saturated fat and 3,300 milligrams of sodium (that’s over your recommended daily recommended amount of sodium). Save about 200 calories by opting for the Chicken Club Quesadilla—it has 1,240 calories, 88 grams of fat, 35 grams of saturated fat and 2,760 milligrams of sodium.

Dining In: Ellie Krieger’s Easy Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas
In less than 30 minutes, you can dig into these delicious quesadillas with 440 calories, 16 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat and 1,150 milligrams of sodium. Your total savings:

    • Calories: 70%
    • Fat: 85%
    • Saturated Fat: 82%
    • Sodium: 65%

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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    How about homemade food vs processed store bought convenience food. Real cooks know the right approximate measurements for things like salt and fat. Maybe that would sway people to stop buying packaged food.

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