Dining Out 101- Let’s talk more about CALORIES

In my series of posts on dining out (from my corporate lunch and learn presentation) here is the next section on calories.

You can read Part 1 here:  https://unleashyouroptimalhealth.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/dining-out-101-how-many-calories-should-we-aim-for/

From this blog you can take a look at how many total calories is suggested for you in a day, and use that as a guideline for choosing an option from a menu.

For part 2 on CALORIES, I bring you specific examples from restaurants around Vancouver.

Surprisingly, one of the best restaurants I found for ‘healthy’ menu options was the White Spot!  I’ll be honest, I’ve never eaten at the White Spot, but after looking at their menu I was really impressed with their selections and how they keep their calories and sodium from getting out of control in their meals.

Lower calorie options at the White Spot- From their “Lifestyle Menu”

  1.  Lifestyle asian chicken salad with dressing- 290 calories and 500 mg of sodium
  2. Lifestyle chicken tikka- 500 calories, 790 mg sodium
  3. Chicken ceasar wrap – 755 calories, 1423 mg sodium (getting a little high here….)
  4. Lifestyle chicken burger- 520 calories, 610 mg sodium
  5. Big bowl ceasar salad- 487 calories, 819 mg sodium.

Plenty of ‘tasty’ options, that run at about 1/4- 1/2 of the calories that these meals might typically contain at another restaurant.

Some meals to be aware of higher calorie content.  (White Spot)

  1.  Fettucine alfredo- 1583 calories, 1509 mg sodium
  2. White spot club- 889 cals, 1953 mg sodium
  3. Double double burger- 1218 cals, 1720 sodium
  4. full rack of ribs – 1997 calories (more than what a sedentary middle aged women should eat in an entire day), 786 sodium
  5. Roast turkey dinner- 691 calories and 2691 mg sodium (more sodium than you should intake in a day).
  6. Most desserts on their menu contained greater than 1000 calories.

Each menu will look a little differently, and that’s why I encourage you to look it up in advance!

So I have a question for you,

What is the lowest calorie option offered at Earl’s?

1) Noodle Bowl

2) Moroccan salmon, onion, peas, cauliflower. With sides of sauteed buttom mushrooms, and beet & butternut squash.

3) Cajun chicken, with coleslaw and Garden salad.

Post your answer in the comments below (without looking up the menu online)!  I will respond with the correct answer.

General Rules

 In general when we order WHOLE foods (meaning not processed foods like vegetables, unrefined grains, fruits, meats, nuts etc.) we get much more nutrition, vitamins, minerals, and health from the meal.  It is still advisable to understand the calorie content of your meal.  You could be eating the most delicious healthy salad every time you dine out, but if it’s a salad with 1000’s of calories, and you aren’t active regularly, those additional calories add up to weight gain.

  •  Remember foods aren’t necessarily ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  All foods in moderation can bring you to good health.  Rather than writing off certain foods you might normally label as ‘bad’, instead perhaps you could try ordering the meal in a healthier version.  For example, if you are really craving a BLT and fries, could you order an open faced sandwich (cutting all those excess carbs and calories from the bread in half) and ordering a half fries/half salad side order instead of all fries?  There are always options to make your meal a little more applicable to your health goals.
  •  One of my favourite rules of thumb (and that I practice almost every single time I dine out) is EAT HALF!  If you are absolutely craving a burger, order the burger and salad and split half with a friend.  The more you deprive yourself of foods that you absolutely love, the more often you will indulge in them.  Instead, give yourself permission to eat the ‘indulgent’ foods every once in awhile, and split the meal with someone else.

I hope this helped bring some awareness to making your next food choice option a healthy one!


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