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when healthy options go bad...

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Old 01-01-2011, 11:09 PM   #1
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I guess I'm just venting a little bit. I'm so freakin frustrated and fascinated by how some chain restaurants take seemingly healthy food choices and destroy it by adding tons of extra fat and calories.

After a race that I had today, I met up with a friend for lunch. She suggested we go to Border Cafe. It is a tex-mex place that has 5 or 6 locations (mostly in MA). I've been told that at a Mexican restaurant, the best thing you could order is the fajitas as this is grilled and relatively low in calories.

First off, the restaurant immediately places a bowl of chips and salsa on the table. Watching other tables, I see many people asking for more chips. Just the calories that can be consumed in tortilla chips before you even get to an appetiser or the main course could be HUNDREDS of calories. I was good and avoided the fat and sodium laden chips.

So, in bringing out the fajitas, here is what came with it: 1) 4 flour tortillas 2) a bowl of rice 3) a bowl of black beans with melted cheese on top of the beans 4) a plate filled with shreaded cheese, sour cream, and salsa.

Really? There was AT LEAST 1000 calories *in the side items* before you even got to the actual plate of meat and vegetables.

A typical person could easily eat 3000 or more calories and claim they ate healthy because they ordered one of the healthier options.

Its such a waste of food and such a waste of empty calories, but I guess it is what is *expected* by customers.

We didn't order any appetisers or dessert and I stuck to a diet coke, so those could be other calories that people could have added in without thinking about it (just a margharita alone is hundreds of calories).
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:24 PM   #2
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:27 PM   #3
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I usually get fajitas at Mexican places but I ask what it comes with and then I have them not bring any of it most of the time and order a side salad (usually I will get the beans so long as they are not refried) Then I apologize for being a pain in the butt. It has worked so far and I don't feel wasteful at the end of the night.
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:35 PM   #4
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I know what you mean. I love how something as healthy as a salad can be taken by MOST restaurants and turned into a 600+ calorie disaster. By the time they are done with it you have to search through all the crap to even find the lettuce.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:09 AM   #5
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My personal pet peeve? Grilled fish. I've ordered "grilled" salmon on more than one occasion and had it arrive on more than one occaision absolutely drowning in oil or butter. What part of GRILLED do they not understand?
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:25 AM   #6
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Aack! I hear ya. I have to spend 2 to 3 days out of town next week, while Hub has heart surgery, and the whole staying on plan thing has me freaking out, along with the surgery.

The good thing is it's one of the best hospitals in the US for his issues. The bad thing is I've been there with other relatives, their hospital, public eating cafeteria is not diet or heart friendly. Talk about a double edge sword!

I don't get why it is so hard to offer good choices!
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:20 AM   #7
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At a tex-mex place, the absolute most healthy thing to get is the tortilla soup. If you have them hold the toppings (usually cheese, tortilla strips, guac), all that's left is baked chicken and broth + spices, and it's usually pretty good. Even a bowl is going to be 350 calorie-ish.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:26 AM   #8
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Ugh....this is why I hate going out to eat!
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:40 AM   #9
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I get the chicken fajitas no rice,beans, or tortillas, no cheese,sour cream or guacamole. I usually dump the lettuce and chopped tomatoes on a plate and make a fajita salad out of it . But I am still guilty of the chip basket , I would refuse it but I never go alone and everyone else eats them.
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:33 AM   #10
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Yep I hear ya! We ate out on New Years eve- Even though I ordered from the "light" section I could see the oil on the food. So I looked at the palm of my hand and ate what I figured would fit in the palm of my hand. I just left the rest. While everyone had sweet teas and ordered seconds I had ice water with lemon. The waitress wisked my plate away so no one noticed I really did not eat my food. Sad but it has to be that way or I will gain weight!
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:28 AM   #11
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I don't get why it's so hard to offer healthy choices either! I used to love going out to eat, but nowadays, I make delicious meals at home, full of variety, and when I go out I'm stuck ordering the one or two things that "aren't that bad". And even the "not that bad" choices are usually more calories than what I could've made. I love the social aspect of going out to eat, but I do wish it would be easier to make good choices.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:07 AM   #12
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Totally preaching to the choir here! Some people say they only eat out at places that provide nutrition information, but round here that leaves you with... well, mostly McDonalds and Starbucks actually.

I now ask whether grilled means it will be cooked on a GRILL or a GRIDDLE as most restaurants seem unable to tell that there is a difference and offer “grilled chicken brrreast“ that is cooked in the sat fat flowing off the beef burgers.

They say don‘t eat fast food, but I don‘t get why you cannot get a drive-thru of good food. Restaurants tell us this is because they put something “healthy“ on and nobody ever ordered it, usually because it was a tasteless and limp-looking salad. There are more options than salad!! If you can serve a griddled chicken you can serve a grilled chicken. You can serve a low fast mixed beef and chicken burger in a wholemeal thin seeded bun with *exactly* the same equipment as you can serve a fat burger.

If you have some idea what they might bring with your food you can ask for it without, but I often find that even if you ask they tell you only the major items so they mixx out fried onions and dressings, for example. If you claim to have food allergies (or worse, genuinely have them) and ask if you can find out if something is free of butter they seem to think you should have stayed at home.

Diet shows and magazines make it sound so easy, just ask for the dressing on the side, ask for boiled potatoes, ask for veg with no butter on - try it in the real world, people, not in super-expensive little London restaurants. You will soon find they tell you the veg are all batch-cooked and drenched with butter durring the afternoon prep session and they don‘t have any boiled potatoes and they think “dressing on the side“ means pour it over one half of your salad!
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoseRodent View Post
Totally preaching to the choir here! Some people say they only eat out at places that provide nutrition information, but round here that leaves you with... well, mostly McDonalds and Starbucks actually.
Haha! This is so true. Sonic and Subway also have online menus if you anticipate you will be near one although the salads at Subway are Subpar.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:56 AM   #14
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This is SO true. Restaurants glob so much food on a plate, often. So unhealthy. It's hard finding food, sometimes, that is healthy or prepared in a healthful manner. I find I have to be very specific at a restaurant to get the food close to what I want.
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:27 AM   #15
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I love Fajitas! I always ask for extra tomatoes and onion and a side plate of lettuce only. This makes the most delicious Fajita salad! The only thing better would be romaine lettuce instead of iceburg.

And once my "grilled fish" was so salty I actually sent it back...and I NEVER do that.

Wow, 1000 calories on the side. I hadn't thought about it before but I think that's fairly accurate.
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