My best friend celebrated his birthday last night. Several of us gathered at Buffalo Wild Wings, his favorite restaurant, to enjoy dinner together. Although I was eating out and celebrating, I was determined to stay on track. I decided against alcohol and I ordered an unsweetened tea at zero calories and declined sweetener (yeah, I have this down pat). The waitress brought out menus and I immediately opened mine to the salad section. My eyes scanned the selection of salads on the menu, but then something caught my eye. At the bottom of the description of each salad, right there next to the price, was the calorie count.
Honey BBQ Chicken Salad 1320 – 1440 CAL
Santa Fe Salad 1320 1440 CAL
Chicken Caesar Salad 720 CAL
Buffalo Chicken Salad 1090 – 1200 CAL
Garden Chicken Salad 800 – 1240 CAL
I decided to look around the menu for something a little lighter on the calorie end. I remember having a veggie plate there a few years ago there. I looked for that in the appetizer section. Ahhh. There it is. The Garden Crasher. The plate contains pita bread, hummus and tzatziki sauce, kalamata olives, carrots, celery, red peppers, and cucumbers. THAT would be a good choice, right? WRONG. A quick glance at the calorie count revealed 1310 calories – still more than the burger (What the f*@& is in the pita and the hummus?).
I started searching the menu again. This time, I wasn’t looking at the food, but the calories. I finally settled on the most unsuspecting item. I decided on fried popcorn shrimp. Depending on the choice of sauce, the calorie count was 500 – 790. I chose the cocktail sauce, which made my total for the meal only 500 calories, the lowest calorie item on the menu.
Who would have thought a salad would be two to three times higher in calories than popcorn shrimp? I know that at other restaurants I’ve chosen the salad every single time. At what cost? I usually log a salad at a restaurant at around 500 calories by doing a mental calorie count in my head. How many times have I eaten at 1500 calorie salad and gone over my daily allowance by 1000 calories? Going out to eat even twice a week and doing that each time nets a 2000 calorie surplus. That is almost a whole pound!
My point is, that when you are logging your calories each day, make sure you have an accurate calorie count on your items. Not all restaurants list their calories on the menu. Take a minute to look them up online and see if you can find the calorie count there. Think twice about ordering that salad. Sometimes you’re better off having fried shrimp, the cheese sticks, or even the Big Jack Daddy burger.