Weight Loss Support - More calorie surprises - "mini indulgence" red velvet cupcake at Claimjumpers

07-21-2010, 12:07 PM
So, had a bit of an eye opener last night at Claimjumpers. I know it's not some bastion of healthy eating (I had no real illusions), but they've recently started putting their nutritional info on the table (I am in San Diego - maybe it's a CA thing?)

First off - their menu, it's just a calorie nightmare. I was pleasantly surprised to see my usual order (small portion of the BBQ chicken salad without dressing and cheese bread) was only 350 calories. With one bite of cheese bread, and the tine method for dressing, I am probably well under 500 calories for a restaurant meal - winner! And it's tasty.

BUT - I was sad and horrified to see what I thought was a VERY REASONABLY sized dessert - the mini indulgence red velvet cupcake was 800 calories. It is a small cupcake. In my head, I figured it was 300-400 calories (comparing it to a big muffin from Starbucks). I also mentally compared it to the little desserts from PF Chang's (they've had their nutritional info posted for years) and are around 200 calories.

I didn't order one last night (and never will again), but I have ordered them in the past thinking - oh it's so small, I had a small dinner, this will fit into my calorie range for the day.

800 calories for a small cupcake, my god.

Claim Jumper Red Velvet Cupcake
PER SERVING (1 cupcake): 796 calories, ~35.5g fat, 537mg sodium, 112g carbs, 1g fiber, sugars n.a., 7g protein

It is no wonder we have an obesity epidemic. There are a LOT of people who HATE to cook and they go out to eat 2-3 nights (or more a week). Who would think a chicken pot pie would have 2K+ calories or a little "mini indulgence" cupcake would have 800 calories? If you aren't vigilant and careful at EVERY RESTAURANT MEAL you can easily eat so much.

And I know, it's everyone's responsibility to be informed, but some places just refused to post their info until recently. How can any person guess that a little cupcake could be 800 calories? I thought I was pretty calorie-savvy, but it was a shocker to me.

07-21-2010, 12:14 PM
You know, having been (mentally and ineffectually) counting calories since I was about five, I don't often find myself surprised and I am usually pretty spot on with guessing, even in restaurants where I assume everything is on the high side but that TOTALLY would've gotten by me. I never would have guessed 800 calories for a SMALL cupcake. YIKES. You're right, this is why we're fat. Even people who are pretty well-versed in calorie counting can be fooled.

07-21-2010, 12:18 PM
I bet half of that is in the icing--cream cheese + sugar is just killer. Icing is like lard or butter--no one would pile 2 inches of butter on a piece of bread, but 2 inches of icing on a cupcake seems normal.

07-21-2010, 12:30 PM
That's crazy!
Cupcakes are one of my weaknesses these days, I just love making and decorating them and my chocolate orange frosting is the stuff cravings are made of. Even my massive muffin-sized ones I wouldn't have estimated at that high.
That said, I'm really impressed at restaurants printing nutritional info in the menus. I've never seen it done (I'm UK rather than US) but I know if I was at a restaurant that did, I'd probably be very shocked and definitely make a healthier choice if I could.

Petite Powerhouse
07-21-2010, 12:31 PM
Beware the cupcakes! Frosting is a killer.

It's too bad because, while I have never remotely been a fan of cake, I do love cupcakes. But I try to eat only the relatively healthy ones I make for myself.

motivated chickie
07-21-2010, 12:37 PM
It doesn't seem fair that a restaurant would serve a dessert with that many calories. It would only take a few tweaks of a recipe to make it lower in fat and calories. Why should a small sized dessert have more calories than the entree?

I wish they posted calories on menus in Philadelphia. I'm starting to wonder what I really ate for dinner last night.

Petite Powerhouse
07-21-2010, 12:45 PM
Paradise Bakery & Cafe has a brownie like that. Their cream cheese brownie has almost 1,200 calories. That is more calories than is in a piece of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. It's just unconscionable that they would create a dessert like that.

07-21-2010, 12:46 PM
Glory, I wouldn't have guessed 800 calories for the cupcake either. But it reinforces my rule of thumb that ANY food in a restaurant is double the calories that it would be prepared at home. Including steamed broccoli and chicken breast!

Making restaurant meals a once-in-a-while treat instead of a weekly or semi-weekly occurrence (or OMG, daily) is one of the most significant things we can do to help our weight loss and maintenance. As you point out, it's so, so hard to make reasonable choices in most restaurants. Even armed with nutritional information, a good eye for portions, and the lifetime experience of calorie counting, we still end up eating more calories than we would at home. :dizzy:

Shannon in ATL
07-21-2010, 12:48 PM
I might have guessed 800 cals for that, but only because there is a local bakery near me that makes mini red velvet cupcakes that are full of icing and are around 800 cals. When I first saw their nutritional info I was absolutely stunned.

It is the icing and the butter, there is not much way to quantify that from the outside unless you know everything that went into it. Even those of us who are pretty good at the calorie counting thing are surprised.

I do like restaurants posting nutritional information and ingredients. It keeps all of accountable.

Cally Callahan
07-21-2010, 01:00 PM
Off topic, but I think it is so great that they put calories on menus in California. I hope that soon becomes the standard across North America.

07-21-2010, 01:18 PM
It doesn't seem fair that a restaurant would serve a dessert with that many calories. It would only take a few tweaks of a recipe to make it lower in fat and calories. Why should a small sized dessert have more calories than the entree?

I wish they posted calories on menus in Philadelphia. I'm starting to wonder what I really ate for dinner last night.

Oh heavens - this was a "good" choice for Claimjumpers. Do they have them in Philadelphia? The chain is known for outrageous portion sizes. They have desserts with 2000 calories (meant to be shared, but still).

When I worked at Microsoft, we would take out of country visitors to Claimjumpers, as an illustration of American excess. The menu is HUGE, the portions are HUGE, it's almost satire.

And the reasons restaurants do it - because they could get away with it. The only thing restaurants care about is getting you to come back, they deliberately make their food far tastier than anything you can make at home because they use more fat, salt, sugar, butter than any normal person would EVER use at home.

They got away with it, because the info wasn't widely available. Who would guess, who would know?

I think that the posting of nutritional info WILL CREATE a shift. Even a non dieter might balk at a 2000 calorie pot pie, once they KNOW how many calories it has.

07-21-2010, 01:19 PM
Hmmmmm....makes me wonder now about the little cupcakes I bake my boyfriend every year for his birthday. I got an awesome recipe for carrot cake that is the best I have ever tasted. But the frosting called for a pound of powdered sugar, like a stick of butter and a whole package of cream cheese. Plus the cakes themselves had a lot of oil.

I mean, I knew that this things were sinful, but I guess I just never thought that each would be 800 calories. Considering I would eat two or three of those a day....OOPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Funny how things change when you become aware.

07-21-2010, 01:21 PM
that's crazy. I need to regularly check out the menus before I go out and not even look at the menu while there. It's just not worth ruining your whole day for one little indulgence! I'm getting used to not eating out as much, and it's really not that bad!

07-21-2010, 01:29 PM
800 calories for a small cupcake.

Claim Jumper Red Velvet Cupcake
PER SERVING (1 cupcake): 796 calories, ~35.5g fat, 537mg sodium, 112g carbs, 1g fiber, sugars n.a., 7g protein

holy mackerel!

i love cupcakes. huge weakness. in fact, i have to get out of this thread asap. even reading about them can make me twitchy. strong sugar addict/binge addict. still too early to talk about these things at length. :dizzy:

but before i go, i have been thinking that it would be so wonderful if someone who was well funded (since it would be potentially a big market risk) would try to open restaurants (that would be in lots of places, not just in certain large cities) that used whole, natural, organic when possible, ingredients, with reasonable nutrition profiles (calories, fat, sodium, carbs, and have vitamins and nutrients, etc) and posted all their information.

it may be more expensive to do this, and might be more expensive to eat there, but it would be worth it. and if over time it took off then the demand might actually lower the prices eventually.

that would be a really good thing. :)

07-21-2010, 02:29 PM
As far as the cream cheese goes, I don't know about in the states, but here there's light cream cheese and even extra light cream cheese in some shops. I always buy the light stuff at least, and that's what goes in to any cheesecake or frostings or main meals. If there's cream cheese in the frosting, I never add butter, just sugar and flavour or colours.
And my carrot cake is apparently better than the local baker's, which we've bought for years! :D

07-21-2010, 02:47 PM
I am living proof of the caloric density of restaurant meals.

In 1990 I took a job that required travel M-F and therefore all weekday meals except Monday breakfast before I left for the airport were in restaurants. In one year I gained 100 lbs. And I was a very weight conscious individual so I didn't go hog wild with the expense account. But a restaurant's job is to sell food, and fat, sugar, and sodium taste good to most people so even "salads" have extras to make them tasty.

I'm very glad to have nutritional value of restaurant food available now but for the most part I usually stick with my strategy of only drinking ice tea when meeting friends at restaurant. Saving the eating for foods I prepare in my own kitchen.

07-21-2010, 02:58 PM
I had dinner at Macaroni Grill, which now lists calorie counts on the menu. I was pleased to be able to choose a dessert with 200 calories--the Italian lemon sorbetto. It was just right and all I needed.

Frankly, there is not a red velvet cake or cupcake that I would even consider eating. It's just not my thing. :dunno:


07-21-2010, 03:16 PM
I'm another one who is stunned at 800 calories in a little cupcake. :yikes:

The portions at some chain restaurants are really incredible. We went to a Cheesecake Factory when we were stranded in CO in a blizzard and the tostadas I ordered came on a platter. It could have served my entire family--and I have 2 teenagers!

I read an article recently that compared calorie consumptions of Americans today to the consumption in the past (can't recall how many years back). Americans eat 600 more calories a day now than what they compared.

Because I'm lazy, let's round it down. So 500 more calories a day, 3500 a week, that's 52 pounds a year. No wonder I need to be vigilant.

07-21-2010, 03:28 PM
Midwife, here's another statistic that might shock you --

Food manufacturers in this country produce about 1000 more calories per person per day than what's needed to maintain our weights. I think the numbers are something like an average of 2500 calories per person needed to maintain (for some of us, it's a lot less!) and more than 3500 calories of food being produced per person per day.

So food manufacturers pay billions of dollars in advertising in order to convince or entice us to eat more food than our bodies need.

Honestly, I get infuriated when I think about us -- and our children!! -- being manipulated in order to eat excessive calories to fatten a corporation's bottom line. And 800 calorie cupcakes are just another manifestation of the desire to make money without regard to health. But a restaurant menu reflects what sells and what the public wants. Over and over again, we read that people aren't ordering "healthy options" on restaurant menus (obviously we here at 3FC are not in the mainstream!) Oversized portions and out of control calories are going to continue being the norm on restaurant menus so long as that's what the public wants and is willing to pay for.

07-21-2010, 03:41 PM
It's such a sad irony that many Americans' health problems are wrapped up in too many calories and other Americans and many around the world go to bed hungry.

07-21-2010, 03:46 PM
So true. Too bad we aren't exporting those 1000 extra calories a day to countries where people need them.

07-21-2010, 04:20 PM
Honestly, I get infuriated when I think about us -- and our children!! -- .

I was horrified by the kid's menu a Claimjumpers - there was a 900 calorie burger and 300 calorie mac & cheese. IIRC - there was a low cal mandarin oranges and apple slices with caramel for healthier sides. I don't remember the rest of the kid's entrees except to think that it was a sad state of affairs when chicken strips were the lowest cal option.

07-21-2010, 04:36 PM

I found this online - it is different from what was on the menu last night. For example, the citrus chicken salad was definitely 1400 (without dressing) because I looked it up specifically.

This is what the dorks at Claimjumpers had to say about their nutritional info:

At this time we do not provide nutritional information for our menu items.
Please click here to vew a list of our "Healthy Dining" menu selections.


Shannon in ATL
07-21-2010, 05:17 PM
I work in for a restaurant group and we get complaints a lot because our entree items are too small. You see it on the web comments all the time... We are primarily a hamburger and hot dog place, and they are the same size that they were when we were founded 80 years ago. The side item sizes are the same - 80 years ago they served two. Now one person might order two, or one of each of the fries and onion rings. The fried pie that is one of our specialty items is the same size. People buy two or sometimes more at a time sometimes. People fuss often.

We use all fresh ingredients, get deliveries several times per week, prep our own items every day, keep portion sizes small, lots of good steps, but we are still serving food that shouldn't be a daily meal choice. There are so many restaurants out there that don't make any effort to make menu offerings better at all.