But it’s a salad!…A comparison

Posted on September 15, 2009


We all know by now, I hope!, that eating out will guarantee you a larger waistline, and hopefully you know that a salad is not just a salad when you order it in a restaurant. Those poor little greens and cherry tomatoes get bathed in high fat, high calorie add-ons all to make that simple salad just a little more sexy than it was before. Read on to see a nutritional comparison of 1 day of eating out vs. making the same meals for yourself, it’s eye-opening and hopefully will help you realize how you can be sabotaging your fitness goals just by having a few days like this each week. The words, “but I’m eating well” don’t cut it, you’ve got to know exactly what is in your food so you can choose wisely how you will get enough but not too many calories in your day. Check it out!

Eating outfor 1 day at restaurants like Panera/Chipotle/Dunkin Donuts
Breakfast out: Dunkin Donuts – egg & cheese breakfast sandwich– 320cals, 13g fat, 2g fiber
*uses a white bread which will make blood sugarrise quickly and fall fast, making you likely to store fat easily, & have little fiber(2g)
Breakfast at home: egg & cheese breakfast sandwich – 240cals, 9.5-10g fat, up to 8g fiber
*use a high fiber/whole grain english muffin or high fiber bread (slows blood sugar spike, keeps metabolism in check)
Mid-morning snack out: Nature Valley granola bar from stash in desk at office – 180 cals, 11g sugar, 2g protein
*this bar has high fructose corn syrup, which is one of the worst man-made ingredients ever
Mid-morning snack from home: 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese& 1/2 cup pineapple OR cottage cheese w/ 1/2 cup red pepper sticks & 10 tomatoes – 160cals, 2g fat, 15g protein
*high protein will keep your metabolism & blood sugar regulated & will provide building blocks for lean muscle tissue
Lunch out: Panera– Fuji Apple Chicken Salad – 520cals, 30g fat, 38% of daily sodium allowance
*if you dip your fork in dressing rather than pour it on, you can save 6g fat
*38% of daily sodium allowance in one sitting will create bloating
*the chicken breast has 13 ingredients!! it’s chicken! it should have, at most, 3.
Lunch from home: Home made apple chicken salad – 340cals, 8g fat, less than 20% of daily sodium allowance
*use 4oz grilled or baked chicken in strips or pieces, handful dried apple chips, 10 cherry tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. slivered almonds, low-fat dressing on side
*your chicken breast will have the ingredients of -chicken -olive oil -spices/seasonings, simple & healthy!
Afternoon snack: Starbucks Grande Double Shot over Ice & Starbucks & 1/2 of Starbucks Fruit & Cheese Plate(apples, grapes, sliced cheese) – 280cals, 10g fat
*could do MUCH worse at starbucks, but don’t forget you’re paying close to $6 for this snack! & if you eat the whole tray of fruit & cheese, add in 190cals
Afternoon snack from home: 1 cup coffee from office coffee maker & 1 apple w/ 20 almonds – 200 cals, 15g fat (heart healthy fat!)
*almonds will keep metabolism going & provide healthy fats that your body needs
*the apple will provide fiber & vitamins
Dinner out: Chipotle – Burrito Bowl (rice, black beans, steak, lettuce, tomato salsa, cheese, salad dressing on side) – 565cals, 19g fat, 52g carbs
*having it w/o the rice saves you 130cals & since it is white rice mixed with butter, you’re going to have a spike in your blood sugar that your body will have to regulate
*this many carbs in the evening for a person trying to slim down means you have carbs that are not going to be burned & may store as fat
Dinner at home: Fajita bowl (1 cup sauteed peppers & onions, 4oz steak, tomato salsa, cheese) – 350cals, less than 15g fat, less than 15g carbs
*if you need a starchy carb w/ your meal, add 1/3 cup brown ricefor 75cals & 12g carbs, but you may find that you are just fine without having the extra starch in the evening, just be sure to get enough vegetables on your plate to fill you up
Final tally on ‘eating-out’ day: 1865cals, 74g fat, more chemicals that you can count, $20-25 for day of eating, lots of unnecessary fat, minimal whole grains, vitamins/minerals, low on heart-healthy fat
Final tally on ‘from-home’ day: 1290cals, approx 40g fat, almost 1/2 of which come from heart healthy fats like almonds, all foods come from natural/close-to-the-ground sources, sodium count is kept below 80% of daily allowance which keeps body hydrated, minimal $$ spent
  • The from-home tally leaves you room to have more food since the bare minimum requirements for anyone is 1200cals per day, so even with the food listed, you could have more things added in: an extra yogurt, an extra bowl of fruit, a 1/2 a sweet potato at dinner, a post-workout snack of a protein shake or 1/2 a sandwich, etc.
  • Talk about calorie control, the at-home day gives you options where the eating-out day gives you no room for extra cals, and ensures you need to spend some quality time on your treadmill to maintain or keep losing weight or bodyfat.
  • Sometimes, convenience is key, and time is of the essence, but the ‘at-home’ dining day really is not difficult if you plan ahead, get your food into seal-able containers and bags the night or a few days before, and cook enough of your dinner that you could have some for leftovers the next day.

Remember, a salad is never just a salad when someone else prepares it…