100 lb. Club - when healthy options go bad...




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matt_H
01-01-2011, 11:09 PM
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. :devil:

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).


Summer2010
01-01-2011, 11:24 PM
I hear ya!

Pacifica Bee
01-01-2011, 11:27 PM
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.


tschaff04
01-01-2011, 11:35 PM
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.

ubergirl
01-02-2011, 12:09 AM
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?

shcirerf
01-02-2011, 12:25 AM
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.:?::dizzy:

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!:?:

Shmead
01-02-2011, 01:20 AM
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.

TJFitnessDiva
01-02-2011, 01:26 AM
Ugh....this is why I hate going out to eat!

Nikki6kidsmom
01-02-2011, 01:40 AM
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.

goal4agirl
01-02-2011, 02:33 AM
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! :mag:

shannonmb
01-02-2011, 06:28 AM
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.

RoseRodent
01-02-2011, 07:07 AM
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!

The Last Noel
01-02-2011, 07:22 AM
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. :(

Beverlyjoy
01-02-2011, 07:56 AM
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.

Eliana
01-02-2011, 10:27 AM
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. :(

Shmead
01-02-2011, 11:43 AM
They say don‘t eat fast food, but I don‘t get why you cannot get a drive-thru of good food.

This is actually a huge pet peeve of mine. People will be totally snotty about "I never eat fast food, it's so unhealthy", but "regular" restaurant food is just as bad--in fact, I think it's usually worse. At a fast food place, you can get a single item, at least, and they aren't any more fat or calorie laden than Applebees or TGIFridays or Chili's or anything like that. Give me a 360 calories chicken sandwich from McDonalds over an 800 calorie salad any day.

The bad thing about fast food is that the drive through is quick and discreet: you can go from impulse to secret eating in about 3 minutes, and if that's a pattern, it needs to be eliminated. It's also cheap and easy, so people can get in the habit of eating fast food instead of home cooked meals, and generally fast food is going to be less filling for the same calories. But if the choice is "fast food" or "sit-down restaurant food", I just can't see any reason to think of fast food as somehow the less healthy choice, and it really really irritates me when someone rolls their eyes about how unhealthy fast food is while tearing into an enchilada platter.

tschaff04
01-02-2011, 11:55 AM
This is actually a huge pet peeve of mine. People will be totally snotty about "I never eat fast food, it's so unhealthy", but "regular" restaurant food is just as bad--in fact, I think it's usually worse. At a fast food place, you can get a single item, at least, and they aren't any more fat or calorie laden than Applebees or TGIFridays or Chili's or anything like that. Give me a 360 calories chicken sandwich from McDonalds over an 800 calorie salad any day.

The bad thing about fast food is that the drive through is quick and discreet: you can go from impulse to secret eating in about 3 minutes, and if that's a pattern, it needs to be eliminated. It's also cheap and easy, so people can get in the habit of eating fast food instead of home cooked meals, and generally fast food is going to be less filling for the same calories. But if the choice is "fast food" or "sit-down restaurant food", I just can't see any reason to think of fast food as somehow the less healthy choice, and it really really irritates me when someone rolls their eyes about how unhealthy fast food is while tearing into an enchilada platter.

I agree with you to an extent. However, if I am in a situation where I have no choice but to eat out, I like to go to an actual restaurant where I can get a grilled chicken salad, no extras, with FF dressing or something equally "healthy" that I actually know is healthy and not a loaded salad. I can't find anything like that at a drive through. :o

But I do agree with what you said, doesn't matter if you choose drive through or sit down, either way you have to be conscious of whats in your food and make the best choice.

angelskeep
01-02-2011, 11:58 AM
It is difficult and a sorry, sad state of affairs. We usually opt for Subway and simply bypass any sit down places because it is easier to just eat a real meal at home than to slog through the mis-information and calories to eat out.

That having been said...just because they bring it out to the table doesn't mean you have to eat it. Perhaps if more people truly wanted and ordered healthier foods, more would be offered? And we are each responsible for what we put on the fork and lift into our mouths. Not so long ago, I and a lot of other people would have just snarfed everything, gobbled the crumbs and licked the plate no matter how much food...

When ya have to eat out, I guess you just have to do the best you can with what is offered/served, and hope it isn't too often...

Barb

ubergirl
01-02-2011, 12:03 PM
I took my kids (teens) out the other night. My college age son, who was always a hyper fit athlete has definitely put on the freshman ten...

The kids all ordered burgers and fries (except my one daughter who got a turkey burger wrap but it still came with fries.) But my son wanted nachos for an appetizer. When it came, it was an enormous platter, chockablock with melted cheese, fatty meat, sour cream... YIKES! The kids polished off the entire platter and then attacked the burger and fries. I mean, each of them easily put away 2000 calories+. Afterwards, I was gently explaining that the amount of food served to them was probably like eating 5 dinners that I would serve at home. None of these kids has a weight problem-- NOW-- and I don't want to be the FOOD POLICE (since I grew up in one of those homes and it had disastrous consequences...) but at the same time, I think these restaurants, by putting that much food in front of people, really train people to eat a lot more than they realize. It's all bad.

spixiet
01-02-2011, 12:26 PM
I have to admit that I'm loving living in California at the moment. A year or two back, laws were passed that any chain restaurant has to have nutritional information on the menu. I know there are similar laws in some larger cities throughout the US. It makes it really easy to find something reasonable to order for dinner (although there are still tons of places where there are only one or two items under 600 cals on the menu). Too often, grilled food is drenched in oil or butter so that it makes that lovely sizzling sound on the platter, or tons of sugar is added to the brining solutions or marinades they use. I typically prefer eating at smaller, family run places, but now I'll actually choose to go to a chain restaurant so that I actually know what I'm eating.

darway
01-02-2011, 12:27 PM
There were some earlier threads here that helped me realize how fattening it is to eat out. I had largely eliminated to-order food already though, simply because the portions are large, and it's pricey.

I do remember the days of ordering "Crisy Chicken Salad" at Denny's and thinking that was a healthy meal. Deep fried chicken on a salad topped with cheese and dressing. :o Hooboy.

Currently I bring my lunch about every other day. Even when I buy lunches, and it's a hot dog from a street vendor, or a slice of pizza - it least that's all it is. I don't need the fries or apple turnover treats, etc. :rolleyes:

Aclai4067
01-02-2011, 01:09 PM
Ugh, I ordered fajitas last night, thinking they would be a "less" bad" option. I feel so gross today. My ring, which has been nearly falling off lately, is super tight. How much salt did they put in that crap?!

Eliana
01-02-2011, 01:50 PM
Ugh, I ordered fajitas last night, thinking they would be a "less" bad" option. I feel so gross today. My ring, which has been nearly falling off lately, is super tight. How much salt did they put in that crap?!

This is my pet-peeve. I feel I am very good at making "healthy" choices at restaurants, but I can't do a thing about the incredible amount of sodium.

CherryPie99
01-02-2011, 04:16 PM
Funny that you posted this thread. I am not a calorie counter, per se, but I do want to have an idea of how many I am eating, even if it is only an estimate. Since I started this journey, I've eaten out for lunch only at Subway (salad) and Panera Bread which I LOVE and where they post all the calories. I get their broccoli cheddar soup (290 calories) with the baguette (180 calories) - so lunch is under 500 calories.

Anyway, for Xmas, DH and I got a $75 gift certificate to Applebees. As soon as we opened it, I began to feel anxiety, because I immediately was thinking how many calories their stuff must have. I haven't checked, but there must be something online where I can see if there is anything I can get that won't have a TON of calories.

spixiet
01-02-2011, 05:02 PM
Although not my favorite (flavor-wise) necessarily, Applebee's at least has about 5 or 6 dinner meals under 550 cals...and they also have skinny versions of some of my favorite bar drinks (margaritas and mojitos) that are about 100 calories. I haven't tried them, so no idea if they're any good, but the meals at least look decent :) They were also partnered with Weight Watchers for awhile and actually had points values listed on their menus for a small handful of items, but I don't know if they still do that~

Oh, and here's a link for their pdf

http://www.applebees.com/downloads/Applebees_Nutritional_Info.pdf

Beverlyjoy
01-02-2011, 05:10 PM
Although not my favorite (flavor-wise) necessarily, Applebee's at least has about 5 or 6 dinner meals under 550 cals...and they also have skinny versions of some of my favorite bar drinks (margaritas and mojitos) that are about 100 calories. I haven't tried them, so no idea if they're any good, but the meals at least look decent :) They were also partnered with Weight Watchers for awhile and actually had points values listed on their menus for a small handful of items, but I don't know if they still do that~

Oh, and here's a link for their pdf

http://www.applebees.com/downloads/Applebees_Nutritional_Info.pdf

I enjoy Applebee's Weight Watcher meals. I usually add 100 calories to whatever the website/menu says. This is just to take in to account that the cooks don't really care that much about weighing or measuring. I learned that from someone last year and I feel pretty comfortable with this system.

CherryPie99
01-02-2011, 05:38 PM
Thanks spixiet for the info and link! Since I am a substance abuse counselor, I don't drink - ever - so at least wasted calories on alcohol is not one of my challenges!

This makes me feel a lot better about going out. Especially seeing the sirloin with shrimp - yum!

Aclai4067
01-02-2011, 05:54 PM
Although not my favorite (flavor-wise) necessarily, Applebee's at least has about 5 or 6 dinner meals under 550 cals...and they also have skinny versions of some of my favorite bar drinks (margaritas and mojitos) that are about 100 calories. I haven't tried them, so no idea if they're any good, but the meals at least look decent :) They were also partnered with Weight Watchers for awhile and actually had points values listed on their menus for a small handful of items, but I don't know if they still do that~

Oh, and here's a link for their pdf

http://www.applebees.com/downloads/Applebees_Nutritional_Info.pdf


The skinny margarita tastes like salt water :no:

spixiet
01-02-2011, 06:24 PM
The skinny margarita tastes like salt water :no:

Good to know - thanks :D

shellsbrood
01-02-2011, 07:17 PM
I'm starting to have a complete phobia about eating out, because of this. The three chain restaurants that I used to love all have salads over 1000 calories. SALADS! And their more healthy salads are still 700-800 calories. :no: And, as mentioned, the sodium content in most of the main dishes are 2-3x over the daily allowance.

So, I save money and calories by eating at home. :D

nelie
01-02-2011, 07:48 PM
I'm 'picky' when it comes to Mexican or Mexican-like food so I may be a bit different. Hardly any restaurant knows how to make good red rice, so generally I skip it. I don't eat cheese or sour cream so I always order fajitas without. Also since I don't eat meat, my order at a tex-mex type place is generally veggie fajitas with beans, no cheese, no sour cream. If I get rice, then I generally take it home to the dogs or maybe my husband if he wants it.

If I go to a more traditional restaurant where fajitas aren't offered, I have to navigate around lard and chicken stock but generally I can find something that is half decent.