The nation’s largest restaurant chains have made a big deal in recent years about introducing smaller portion sizes. McDonald’s eliminated the Supersize menu, while T.G.I. Fridays and others have introduced small-plate items. Yet the restaurants have also been doing something else, with less fanfare: continuing to add dishes so rich that a single meal often contains a full day’s worth of calories.
Here are samples and tips on just how many calories you are consuming at a meal (calories are within the brackets):
CHIPOTLE Carnitas burrito (945), chips and guacamole (770), Coke (276).
SHAKE SHACK Double ShackBurger (770), fries (470), Black and White shake (760).
It is possible to eat healthier at each chain. You can have a single burger instead of a double at Shake Shack or order from the “Skinnys” menu at Potbelly, which has sandwiches with fewer than 400 calories. Chipotle says burrito bowls, which leave out 300-calorie flour tortilla, even outsell burritos. But unless you’re going out of your way to minimize calories at these restaurants, you’re likely to eat far more than a meal is supposed to have.
P.F. CHANG’S Spinach (120), dumplings (195), orange beef (565), pad thai (580), caramel cake (430), wine (125).
OLIVE GARDEN Salad (150), breadstick (140), Tour of Italy sampler (1,500), quartino of wine (230).
You can get a wider variety of food for 2,000 calories at P.F. Chang’s or Olive Garden, the casual-dining chains. (The main dishes from P.F. Chang’s here are half portions.) But you’ll still be closer to a single meal’s than a full day of food.
Are fast food restaurants any better? Generally no.
- MCDONALD’S Crispy Chicken sandwich with bacon (750), fries (340), Coke (200), McFlurry with Oreos (690).
- WENDY’S Baconator Cheeseburger (940), Potato with bacon and cheese (520), Caesar salad (250), Coke (320).
- BURGER KING Double Whopper with cheese (1,070), onion rings (410), vanilla milkshake (550).
If you have questions about healthy, lower calorie options, be sure to ask us.