Join Date: Apr 2011
I'm in Canada, so I'm not sure if the menus and nutritional stats are exactly the same in all US states, but usually they are.
The veggie burger (270) with a side salad instead of fries or onion rings. Depending on which dressing you get for your salad (I usually get the light zesty italian), the whole meal should be under 350 calories and is very filling. I've noticed that at some locations they put mayo on the veggie burger automatically, while at other locations there's no mayo at all, just lettuce and tomato, but you can specify no mayo if you wish.
I love the stuffed baked potatoes, and for me those are enough for a full meal, rather than a side-dish. The sour cream and chives one is 350 calories and the broccoli and cheddar one is 330 calories. I've heard the chili is also a good option, if you eat meat, and my co-worker loves the chicken salads, but she doesn't usually use the whole pack of dressing or pack of nuts in order to keep the cals a bit lower.
Taco Bell is surprisingly awesome, because you can order most of the burritos and tacos "fresco style", which means that they'll load it up with salsa, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and peppers instead of cheese and sour cream. Most of the fresco options are under 300 calories. I usually get the bean burrito fresco (270), but even if you get it with the cheese and sour cream it's only 290. When I have a more calories to "spend" for the day, I sometimes get the 7-layer burrito which is a delicious 410 calories, so not impossible to work into my daily calorie budget but a bit high. Skip the cheese fries and the nachos. It's all very high in sodium though, so make sure you're not eating tons of sodium in all your other foods for the day.
I won a 400-dollar starbucks gift card in a charity raffle, so I've taken A LOT of friends out to have lunch there. I'm a tea-person not a coffee person so I don't have advice about most of the drinks, but I've learned to skip the chai lattes and green tea lattes in favour of plain Tazo tea. I just can't afford to drink my calories. I have tried or been with friends who have tried most of the foods though. I absolutely love the protein artisian snack plate. It is so awesome! It's a hard-boiled-egg, grapes, apple slices, a bit of cheddar and a whole-grain biscuit served a small container of peanut butter dipping. I thought it would be very high-cal, but it's only 370 calories for all of that (plus quite a bit of protein and healthy fats). My friend loves the chicken and hummus artisian snack place (it's 250 calories). I would skip the cheese and fruit snack plate, because that one is quite a bit higher in calories. In terms of sandwiches, the roasted vegetable panini, santa fe panini, tomato mozarella sandwich and turkey swiss sandwich are all decent calorie-wise. Skip the egg salad! The farmer's market salad is fantastic for 230 calories, and it comes with fat-free balsamic. For breakfast the oatmeal is decent, just don't get the toppings (dried fruit or brown sugar), because those massively jack up the calories. I like the egg, spinach and feta wrap best for breakfast though (280 cals). I've tried the berry yogurt parfait, but for some reason I really didn't like it. I'm not sure what yougrt they use, but I found it too sweet and it had a weird aftertaste (must be a yogurt with aspartame?). The vivanno smoothies are all under 300 calories, and you can get them made with 2%, soy or skim milk, plus they have 15 grams of protein. Not bad as smoothies go.
I'm a vegetarian so there isn't much for me. I used to like the fruit and walnut salad if I really had to go to Mcds, but they don't have that one anymore where I live. The fruit and yogurt parfait isn't too bad, it's better if you eat it without the sugary granola though. A vanilla cone is ok too if you're craving something sweet, it's 230 calories so definitely not going to break your diet.
New York Fries:
A small (yes, just a small) fries is 400 calories, and more if you add ketchup. Share an order with someone else and eat it with malt vinegar. Not horrible if you're really craving fries but a lot of calories for something that doesn't even seem like a proper meal. Absolutely avoid the poutines and those "the works" things.
Tons and tons of good options and it's easy to get a stuffed, delicious pita for 300-450 cal. Stick with one of the vegetarian ones (although I don't eat the falafel often because it's pretty high-cal) or chicken instead of steak. Avoid the tuna salad too. Have them load it up with veggies and just be mindful of toppings like cheese and sauces. I usually get honey mustard or a bit of hummus instead of mayo. The end product can be pretty high in sodium though, depending on dressing and if you put pickles and olives on it, so just be aware of that and keep salt low for the rest of the day.
If you really, really need something sweet at the mall, the "miniabun" isn't going to kill you at 130 calories.
Bourbon Street Grill:
I actually love this place! Lots of decent low-cal options for a mall-meal. They have salads or you can just get a plate loaded up with different veggies (I usually get the yams, green beans or spiced kidney beans and corn or carrots). The plantains are fried so skip those. For meat-eaters they have blackened fish and some shrimp dishes that are pretty low cal, and some decent chicken options. Definitely skip the mac and cheese, the fried rice and I wouldn't bother with the steamed rice either since it isn't brown.