All Posts In Dining Out

5 Scary High-Calorie Menu Items

by in Dining Out, October 29, 2012

restaurant menu
Like many of you, I check the nutrition facts on menus when I’m out to eat. Every so often I come across such high-calorie menu items that it makes me shake in my boots! Check out these 5 menu items with frighteningly high calorie counts plus see which restaurant wins our scariest calorie award.

#1: IHop: Country Fried Steak & Eggs with Sausage Gravy
Nutrition Info: 1650 calories; 45 grams total fat; 14 grams saturated fat

This breakfast combo includes 8 ounces of fried beef steak smothered in sausage gravy, two eggs, hash browns and two buttermilk pancakes. Order this and you’ll eat almost all your recommended daily calories before your day has begun. I love steak and eggs, but there’s a healthier way to serve them up.

#2: California Pizza Kitchen: Pesto Cream Penne with Chicken and Shrimp
Nutrition Info: 1620 calories; 105 grams total fat; 58 grams saturated fat

This dish has chicken, shrimp and pasta drenched in freshly made basil pesto cream sauce. Although the freshly made cream sauce sounds appetizing, drowning food in cream sauces racks up the calories and hides the flavor of all the other foods.

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Ordering Food Online Might Mean Consuming More Calories

by in Dining Out, Food News, October 18, 2012

pizza on a computer screen
Ordering food online is as easy as a click of a button. Plus you avoid the long lines and there’s no human interaction. But a recent study found that ordering your meals online isn’t so good for your waistline.

The Study
A 2012 study by Ryan McDevitt, an assistant professor at the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business, examined the patterns of people who ordered food by phone or at the counter from a franchised pizza establishment compared with those who ordered online. They looked at over 160,000 orders made by over 56,000 unique customers over 4 years. The most notable differences between those who ordered online compared to those who ordered over the phone or in person included:

  • Customers ordering online spent $0.61 more (4%), on average, though they ordered fewer items. The increase in cost was due to increased toppings.
  • The items ordered online were 15% more complex and had 6.1% more calories.

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The Healthiest Options at Frozen Yogurt Chains

by in Dining Out, August 25, 2012

frozen yogurt
It seems like fro-yo joints are popping up on every corner – there are 3 in my neighborhood! While cold and creamy soft-serve yogurt is a delicious concoction, it’s not automatically health food. Wherever you happen to order up frozen yogurt, keep the portions modest (order the smallest size) and the toppings minimal. We scanned popular menus for the healthiest offerings. Here are our top picks for sensible, yet tasty treats.

TCBY
Choose protein-packed Greek Honey Vanilla or 90-calorie Classic Tart topped with bananas, cherries or chocolate sprinkles.

Pinkberry
Fun and lower calorie options include Green Tea, Coconut or Watermelon. Top a small portion off with toasted almonds, dark chocolate crisps or kiwi.

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Burning Off High-Calorie Foods: Fair Foods

by in Dining Out, Fitness, July 20, 2012

fair food
Is your family hitting the local fair circuit this summer? Carnival concessions are famously fattening. We’re not saying to boycott fair foods all together but since these treats don’t come with a food label, we’ll fill you in on just how many calories you’re gobbling down, and what it would take to burn them off. As always, moderation is key!

Crunching the Numbers
Everyone burns calories a little differently, the values below are averages based on a 155-pound person.

1 Corn Dog  = 375 calories = 1 hour, 30 minutes walking the boardwalk

Funnel Cake = 760 calories = 1 hour, 20 minutes of singles tennis

Fried Twinkie = 420 calories = 1 hour water skiing

Cotton Candy =175 calories = 30 minutes whitewater kayaking

Candy Apple = 375 calories = 40 minutes running (8 mph)

Chili Fries = 700 calories = 3.5 hours playing frisbee

Nachos With Cheese Sauce = 850 calories = 1 hour, 15 minutes of vigorous swimming

Turkey leg = 1140 calories = 1 hour of beach volleyball

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Healthiest Fast-Food Menu Items

by in Dining Out, July 10, 2012

wendy's chicken wrap
Car trips are a fun way to spend time with your family, but with most rest stops fronting fast food joints, healthy eating can seem impossible. If you’re tired of continually saying NO to fast food—ease up, there are healthier choices you can make. Check out our list so you’re prepared on your next trip.

Wendy’s
It was refreshing to see several healthy options provided on the Wendy’s website including the Grilled Chicken Go Wrap (pictured above) with a side of small chili (totaling 470 calories for the meal). The problem is, I’m not sure I’d want to be in a car with someone who just had chili! Luckily, you can opt for the baked potato instead or even the wrap with a small side salad (also for 470 calories). Looking to cut calories down? Wendy’s allows you to hold ingredients (like cheese or sour cream) so you tailor the meal to your liking.

Check out more healthy Wendy’s options.

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Can You Get Healthy Food from a Food Truck?

by in Dining Out, May 18, 2012
food truck
Food trucks aren't just for ice cream anymore.

From dim sum to crepes to gourmet burgers, food trucks are selling way more than hot dogs these days, and they’re popping up all over.

But gourmet food still comes with both health and safety concerns: Can you find healthy food on a truck? Where do the vendors go to the restroom while they’re on duty? I got the privilege to speak with the folks who run the Rouge Tomate food cart in New York City and let me tell you—food trucks are definitely not what they used to be!

Q: What makes the Rouge Tomate cart different from other food carts in NYC?

The Rouge Tomate Cart maintains the same philosophy as the Rouge Tomate restaurant and uses local, seasonable and sustainable high-quality food products. We visit local markets and farmers markets to find our ingredients and prepare our food using specific cooking techniques that preserve the integrity and the nutritional qualities of the ingredients.

We are also dedicated to proactively address environmental issues. The Rouge Tomate Cart is certified from the Green Restaurant Association. It uses solar panels for electricity and runs on a gas stove. The cart was made from recycled materials and uses biodegradable paper products.

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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%

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5 Healthiest Restaurant Kids’ Meals

by in Dining Out, April 3, 2012
kids menu
Think beyond grilled cheese when dining out with your kids.

Trying to feed your kids healthy options when dining out can be stressful. Most restaurants offer the usual chicken fingers, mac and cheese, hamburger with fries or grilled cheese, but the calories, fat and sodium on these items is through the roof. Here are the healthiest options we found at popular restaurants.

Chili’s
The grilled chicken is the way to go at Chili’s. You can order the Grilled Chicken Platter, which has 160 calories, 3.5 grams of fat and 170 milligrams of sodium or the Grilled Chicken Sandwich with 230 calories, 5 grams of fat and 230 milligrams of sodium. Add a side of celery sticks with ranch dressing for an additional 80 calories, steamed broccoli for 30 calories or mandarin oranges or pineapple for 35 calories.

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Order This, Not That: Panera Bread

by in Dining Out, March 29, 2012
panera bread sandwich
Panera's Breakfast Power With Ham on Whole Grain is one of the healthier options on their menu.

It seems like Panera Bread is a healthy restaurant choice — they serve mostly soups, salads and sandwiches. But with so many options available, it can get confusing. Let us help you navigate the menu, with an easy-to-understand list of what to order at this chain, and what to avoid.

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Are Free Foods Sabotaging Your Diet?

by in Dining Out, March 20, 2012
bread basket
How much does free bread cost your diet?

Going out to eat almost always means bigger portions and more calories, but those meals may also contain hundreds of unwanted extras from “free” items that find their way to your plate. Here are 8 pitfalls to avoid.

1.    Bread  
We all know to watch out for the bread basket but it’s often hard to resist. It might help to know that each roll or slice averages 100 calories; then add another 120 for every tablespoon of olive oil. Butter only has 100 calories per tablespoon but is also higher in unhealthy fat.

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