- This has HOW many calories?
You probably already know that many restaurant foods are higher in calories than their homemade counterparts but some establishments take the calorie counts to new heights. We’re not saying you should never eat at these places, just don’t order these belly-busting menu items.
Diet Danger Zone
We’ve sifted through countless restaurant menus and come across some pretty scary stuff. While 1800 to 2000 calories are enough to feed most folks for the entire day, some of these popular eateries top that in just one dish.
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My college roommate worked at IHOP and I’ll never forget the stench of grease and syrup that followed her home after every shift. This breakfast-centered chain has been making a comeback – and while their menu offerings go beyond eggs and pancakes, is there anything sensible to order?
Order: “Simple” and Small
The nutrition guide for this restaurant will make you dizzy (and maybe a little nauseous). So many choices and virtually NO healthy ones!
In 2010, IHOP launched “Simple & Fit” menu items, which have under 600 calories per serving. Their website also offers calorie-saving tips like skipping butter, whipped cream and sugary sodas with your meal. Six hundred calories sure does seem high but when you see how many calories are in many of their other dishes, it’s the best you’re going to do.
Simple & Fit omelets are served with fresh fruit and weigh in at 320 to 420 calories and 10 to 20 grams of per serving. The Simple and Fit Whole Wheat French Toast is a decent option at 490 calories.
If you’re in this for the pancakes, your only option should be an Original Short Stack – but that’ll still stack up the calories and fat with 490 calories, 18 grams of fat, 1 gram of trans fat per serving (not including the 50-calorie-per-tablespoon syrup).
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Who doesn’t love Starbucks’ holiday drinks? They have such fancy names and delicious ingredients. But the hidden calories . . . you won’t believe your thighs! Get the skinny before you order your next grande or venti holiday brew.
ORDER: Reasonable portions of tasty delights
Many folks look forward to the seasonal offerings at Starbucks. There’s nothing wrong with tasty caffeinated beverages, but many of Starbucks dressed-up drinks contain as many calories as we should be eating in one meal. Luckily, Starbucks gives you the power to take control of your order. You choose the size of your drink, type of milk, and whether or not you want whipped cream. When ordering a fancy-shmancy drink, count it as a snack and aim for no more than 200 calories.
Just to get some perspective, a grande (16-fluid ounce) cup of brewed coffee without sugar or milk contains 5 calories and is free of fat and sugar. Add ¼ cup of skim milk for an additional 15 calories. Now take a look at the numbers on some of the more popular holiday drinks: Before you order one of those yummy drinks, choose one with a reasonable amount of calories.
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‘Tis the season for holiday shopping but don’t let a hectic trip to the mall lead to a Santa-like physique. Use our tips for more figure-friendly shopping snacks.
Order: Fresh and Light
When it comes to tackling the food court, most malls offer the usual suspects of the fast food world. Use our guides make the smartest choices at McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway and Wendy’s.
A salad with vinaigrette dressing (on the side) or a small cup of soup are usually the most sensible options. Check your local mall’s website ahead of time to see which chain restaurants they feature, then download the nutrition info from the company’s website.
Not: Buttery and Sugary
While the smell of butter-drenched pretzels and over-sized chocolate chip cookies are calling out to you, these classic mall goodies can pack in more than 350 calories each. That pretzel also contains more than 40% of the daily recommended amount of sodium, while the cookie boasts 17 grams of total fat and 8 grams of saturated fat. The show-stopper just might be the ooey-gooey cinnamon bun, coming it a holiday-wrecking 880 calories and 36 grams of fat each!
Think sipping on a smoothie or festive coffee drink is better? Think again. A medium-sized smoothie or whipped cream-topped gingerbread latte will also pack in more than 300 sugar-filled calories.
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- McDonald's is giving kids apples with their fries. Think it'll make a difference?
Are McDonald’s Happy Meals getting healthier? The fast food chain is making changes to the items in its kids’ meal as part of a long-term menu evolution. The company hopes to improve nutrition choices and awareness—starting with the new Happy Meal. Read more »
This new series focuses on finding the healthiest options when dining out. We’re starting out with one of the most popular items on the menu—chicken. Here are our top 5 picks.
Olive Garden: Venetian Apricot Chicken
Nutrition Info: 380 calories; 4 grams fat; 1.5 grams saturated fat; 1420 milligrams sodium; 8 grams fiber
This entrée consists of grilled chicken breasts in an apricot citrus sauce. It’s served with broccoli, asparagus and diced tomatoes. The calories and fat are well controlled while the veggies add a healthy dose of fiber. Our research revealed that almost all restaurant choices contained over 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of sodium. This entrée was no exception. Read more »
- Smoothies are better than milkshakes, right? Well, not always -- read on to learn about this and 4 more food naming tricks.
Food labels are carefully worded to entice shoppers to choose certain items. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found dieters often fall for simple labeling tricks that make them believe certain foods are healthier than they are. Find out the top 5 traps people fell into and how to avoid them.
How to beat top food label tricks »
Oatmeal is the latest healthy food to hit fast food joints around the nation. But how healthy (and tasty) are these fast food versions? We tested some of the most popular offerings to see how they stacked up.
See which oatmeals beat out the competition »
It’s the heart of the holiday shopping season: Malls are flooded, parking lots are jam-packed, and your inbox is overflowing with e-coupons. Whether you’re hitting up the food court or doing your shopping online, keep these tips in mind.
You wouldn’t fall for an overpriced sweater deal, so don’t fall for these food traps while you’re out shopping. Plus, how to keep your appetite at bay while you’re bargain-hunting.
Dos and don’ts for healthy holiday shopping trips »
- Healthy restaurant choices are possible with our menu-decoding tips.
Americans eat almost a third of meals away from home, but trying to order healthy choices can get tricky. Calorie counts found in many restaurants can make it easier, but menu booby traps may leave you with more calories than you bargained for. Luckily, you can walk into a restaurant armed with our smart tips.
Restaurant menu tricks, decoded »