All Posts In Dining Out

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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What To Order: The 5 Healthiest Restaurant Pasta Dinners

by in Dining Out, February 24, 2012
restaurant menu
Need help finding a healthy pasta dish?

Pasta is a popular choice for diners, but unfortunately sensible restaurant pasta dishes are hard to come by. We scanned popular restaurant menus to find some reasonable choices.

Pasta Problem
Most restaurants offer enormous mounds of pasta weighed down with high-fat sauces. We were able to spot a couple of smarter options; a few even came with lean protein and whole grains. Sodium will always be an issue when dining out. While these dishes were in no way “low sodium,” they were among the lowest in salt.

Olive Garden’s Linguine alla Marinara
Nutrition Info: 430 calories; 6 grams fat (1 saturated); 900 milligrams sodium

Simple is best at this popular pasta joint; enjoy with a salad and you’ve got yourself a meal.

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Buffet Dos and Don’ts

by in Dining Out, February 20, 2012
all-you-can-eat buffet
Don't feel pressured to eat all you can at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Tired of rolling home after an all-you-can-eat buffet? Use our tips to keep your waistline in check when you visit a buffet or salad bar.

DON’T: Skip all your meals and arrive famished.
DO: Eat well-balanced small meals before hitting the buffet.
Studies show that when you skip meals, you tend to overeat at your next meal. It’s best to eat your regularly scheduled small, balanced meals and arrive hungry but not out-of-control famished.

DON’T: Pile your plate with the first food your eyes land on.
DO: Take a stroll around the buffet to examine all of your choices.
Oftentimes, we start by eating the first thing we see but realize later that the “good stuff” is hidden at the other end of the buffet. Take the time to check everything out before you make your decisions.

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Order This, Not That: Papa John’s

by in Dining Out, February 2, 2012
papa johns pizza
Are there any healthy options at this popular pizza chain?

I frequently see commercials for this pizza chain but often wonder if there’s really is anything I can order that won’t bust my waistline. We’ll give you the cheesy facts so you’ll be prepared on your next visit.

Nutrition Info
It can get kind of tricky when reading the nutrition information for Papa John’s. The calories listed for most items will give you the per-serving information. This means that their “Pizza for One,” which serves 4 has the calories listed for a quarter of the pie. The same goes for their sides like chicken wings and breadsticks. The calories listed are for a serving size of 2 wings—though 10 are served in each order. So be sure to take a few minutes to decipher their nutrition breakdown when you sift through their website.

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