Wednesday, August 31, 2011

McDonald's and Burger King 500 Calorie Options

I promised in a previous blog that I would cover McDonald's after I ripped their Premium Grilled Chicken Classic to shreds in review.  I still say go to Chick-Fil-A if you want a decent grilled chicken breast from a fast food restaurant.  As much as it pains me to write about McDonald's I feel like I have to, because they are still number one on several Zagat lists.  Despite the widespread knowledge that this food is high in fat people are still eating there and often.  I figured I might as well cover Burger King at the same time.  If I am going to rip a band-aid off, then I would prefer to do it quickly.

I am only covering lunch/dinner options at this point.  I'll cover breakfast at another time.  I did not bother covering any of the salads with grilled chicken, because I'm guessing that you are not going to these places to order a salad.  If you are, then try Wendy's or Chick-Fil-A.  Their options are tastier.  Nevertheless, if you want to know the nutrition facts on other items not listed here I have provided links to the nutrition facts at the bottom.  This is not an exhaustive list so feel free to post your favorite combinations (500 calories and under) in the comments. 

Please keep in mind that I did not say these options are low-fat.  I'm blogging about this only in regards to calories.  For healthier options please refer to my last blog, and make your lunch at home.

Hamburger    250
Small Fries    230
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    480
Cheeseburger    300
Small Fries    230
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    530
Quarter Pounder with Cheese    510
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    510
Big N' Tasty (no Cheese)    460
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    460
Filet O' Fish    380
Apple Dippers with Low fat Caramel Dip    100
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    480
Premium Grilled Chicken Classic    350
Apple Dippers with Low fat Caramel Dip   100
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    450
McChicken    360
Apple Dippers with Low fat Caramel Dip    100
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    460

3 pc. Chicken Strips  380
Spicy Buffalo Sauce   35
Side Salad (no croutons)  20
1/2 Packet Ranch Dressing  85
Total Calories   520 

Honey Mustard or Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (grilled)    260
Small French Fries    230
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    490
Angus Bacon & Cheese Snack Wrap    390
Fruit & Yogurt Parfait with Granola    160
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    550

Mac Snack Wrap
(not available at all locations)   330
Fruit & Yogurt Parfait with Granola   160
Iced Tea or Water   0
Total Calories   490

Burger King   
5 piece Chicken Tenders    210
Honey Mustard    90
Macaroni & Cheese    160  or Onion Rings w/Ketchup  155
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    460
Whopper Junior Sandwich w/ Cheese    410
Onion Rings    140
Ketchup (1 packet)    15
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    565

Hamburger   260
Value Fries   220
 Iced Tea or Water   0
Total Calories   480

Cheeseburger   300
Onion Rings w/ Ketchup   155
Iced Tea or Water   0
Total Calories   455

BK Single Stacker   380
Apple Fries w/ Caramel   70
Iced Tea or Water   0
Total Calories   450

Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich   470
Apple Fries w/ Caramel  70
Iced Tea or Water   0
Total Calories   540

California Whopper Jr.
(for a limited time only)   430
Apple Fries w/ Caramel   70
Iced Tea or Water   0
Total Calories   500

Why choose tea or water instead of diet soda?   

McDonald's Nutrition Facts

Burger King Nutrition Facts

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Healthy Low-Cal Lunches to Eat at Home

The best way to have a delicious, healthy low-calorie lunch is to make it yourself at home.  I have been having some of the most satisfying lunches that way.  The picture above is of a sandwich I made with 4 ounces of Boar's Head Blazing Buffalo Chicken Breast that I bought from the deli (120 calories).  I paired that with one slice of extra thin aged swiss cheese (60 calories), a fresh slice of tomato (3 calories), 1/3 cup of baby spinach (2 calories), and 2 slices of Sara Lee Low-Calorie Multi-grain Bread (90 calories).  Instead of potato chips I had a side of 7 baby carrots (24 calories) that I dipped in 1 Tablespoon of Blue Cheese salad dressing (68 calories).  I had water to drink bringing the total calories for this meal to 367 calories.  I ate this lunch several weeks ago, and this is the first chance I have had to write about it.

Moving on, Today I shared an awesome lunch with my husband.  I will spare you the calorie count, because I don't have any real way to look it up.  I bought Curry Chicken Salad and Quinoa Salad from Green Acres at the deli counter.  Green Acres is like a Whole Foods, but it is local to Kansas City.  We ate the chicken salad on leaf lettuce wraps.  The chicken salad was full of chunks of chicken breast, curry flavor, mayo, golden raisins, almond slivers, and mango chutney.  It was absolutely delicious, and who cares how many calories it was since we went with lettuce wraps?.  The quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) was loaded with flavor including cucumber, mint, parsley, onion, peppers, etc.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with quinoa it is a high quality protein grain, making it popular with vegans and vegetarians.  It is similar in texture and size to couscous, but it has a nuttier flavor.  It's fantastic, and it is actually easy to make at home.  If you can make rice, then you can make quinoa.

Another way to stretch your calories with a lunch at home is to have a salad (easy on the dressing) or a cup of soup on the side.  Load your sandwich up with veggies, and look for low-cal ways to boost the flavor.

Here are some other lunch ideas to pack in your lunch box or eat at home:

2 slices 45 Calorie Wheat Bread    90
1 Tbsp Skippy Natural Peanut Butter    85
1 Celery Stalk    6
5 Baby Carrots    18
1 Small Organic Apple    77
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    276
1 cup Mixed Greens    13
Hard Boiled Egg    70
1 Tbsp Real Bacon Bits    30
1/4 cup Peas    31
1/4 cup Chickpeas    71
1/4 cup Kidney beans    52
1 Tbsp Ranch Dressing    73
Water or Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    340
2 slices 45 Calorie Wheat Bread    90
4 oz. Deli Meat (Turkey or Ham)    120
Laughing Cow Light Cheese Spread    35
1/2 cup Mixed Greens    5
Tomato Slice    5
1/4 Avocado    72
10 Kettle Chips, Baked, Aged White Cheddar    60
Crystal Light Pure Fitness Water    15
Total Calories    387
2 slices 45 Calorie Wheat Bread    90
1/2 cup Alfalfa Sprouts    12.5
2 oz. Deli Ham or Turkey    60
1 slice Provolone Cheese    80
1 Tbsp. Light Mayo    35
10 Grapes    34
Water or Tea    0
Total Calories    311.5
Curry Chicken Salad (from recipe    309.5
2 slices 45 Calorie Wheat Bread    90
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    399.5
Buffalo Chicken Salad (    299
2 slices 45 Calorie Wheat Bread    90
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    389
Lightly Marinated Tuna in Water (4.5 oz packet)    157.5
1 Celery Stalk, cut into matchsticks    6
1/2 Cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into sticks    5
1 Tbsp Light Mayonnaise    35
1/8 tsp. Wasabi Powder    1
1 Rice Wrapper    20
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce for dipping    11
Green Tea    0
Total Calories    235.5
California Sushi Rolls (on Average for 8 small rolls)    300
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    300
1 Beef Frank    149
1/2 Cup Bake Beans, canned    110
1/2 Cup White Long Grain Rice, cooked    103
Total Calories    362

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kansas City Local Quisine

My husband and I had the lovely pleasure of dining at The Westside Local for lunch today.  The restaurant specializes in farm-to-table food supplied from local farmers and businesses.  It is so fresh!  This was only our second visit to the establishment, and I wasn't disappointed.  My husband has to eat gluten-free, and they easily accommodated his dietary needs.  We ended up splitting the deviled eggs as an appetizer.  Then we split the pesto chicken sandwich minus the bread.  We subbed in the tomato-fennel soup instead of french fries.  It was outstanding.  The pesto chicken features grilled free-range hormone-free chicken, basil pesto, goat cheese, tomato, and arugula.  Who says low-cal food has to be bland?  It was fantastic.

It was a far cry different from the McDonald's Classic Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich I ate for lunch yesterday.  I opted for the apple slices as a side.  It was sustenance at best.  I would hardly call it satisfying.  After seeing so many commercials with claims of it being new, improved, and starting at 350 calories I felt like should try it.  I'm a slave to the art of my blog.  Lol!  I actually had no desire to eat it.  I was merely doing research.  Here is the breakdown.  The whole-grain bun is basically a white bun that they enriched by putting the whole-grain back in.  The chicken tasted like it had been either nuked or over-cooked.  I'm not sure why they are touting this new roasted flavor.  It was bland.  If it is more flavorful now, then how bland was it before?  The mayonnaise made it editable, but that isn't saying much.  As for the apples slices I appreciate that it is an option.  They came here from Chile.  They were preserved with calcium and citric acid.  I wanted them just as a filler.  That's exactly what they were.  A fresh, organic apple would have been better.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but back to the chicken.  I hate the thought that tons of chickens are going to be slaughtered only to be overcooked, nuked, and called ultimate.  It is a dishonor to the animal.  Actually it is a mockery of that poor animal's life.  I like to think that the bird I ate at The Westside Local actually had a purpose in life, and that purpose was justly fulfilled.  It's breasts were not over-sized with implants or hormones.  They were small and normal.  It had a free-range life.  Then it was cooked with love and actually grilled with char marks, instead of just being called grilled or ultimate.

McDonald's is probably as American as apple pie.  I don't want to be a hater, and I will devote a blog to them.  However, I will offer a disclaimer that I don't advocate eating there very often.  Once I tell you how little you can eat there for the calories you will think twice about putting McDonald's in your rotation.

Let's get back to local eats.  A couple of my other favorites to get healthy, low-calorie meals are Pierpont's and Bluestem.  Both of these restaurants offer a lower-priced menu in their lounge areas.  Check out the following links:

At Pierpont's I love to get the Filet Pierpont.  It features a four ounce filet mignon, blue cheese cream, & tart cherry balsamic reduction.  It comes with fries, but I usually sub in mushrooms, asparagus, or green beans for a surcharge.  It is the perfectly portioned amount of food that is cooked to perfection. It starts at $10.95 without the substitutions.

At Bluestem I love to get the marinated hanger steak, pomme frites, field greens, and chimichurri sauce.  It's a steal at $14 already, and then it is offered at half price during happy hour.  You can't beat it.  It's delicious a  blend of flavors prepared by a staff that clearly respects the culinary arts.  Since it happens to be a gluten-free dish I can bring my leftovers home to my husband after dinner with the girls and cut my calories in half.

Fine dining like this makes fast food look like a ridiculous joke.  Americans have gotten too busy to just sit down and enjoy good food.  Either that or we have become too accustomed to quantity over quality.  Shame on us.  What happened to us?  The Great Depression may have had something to do with it, but that is too many generations passed to be a good reason for the increase in childhood obesity.  I'd rather have a few bites of something heavenly then mediocre pizza to my heart's content at Cici's pizza buffet.

If you want a decent, grilled chicken breast from a fast food restaurant, then go to Chick-fil-A.  If you want a decent meal, then skip the fast food.  Sit down and savor a meal that has been made with love.  Don't worry about getting your money's worth.  That fast food will end up costing you more on the back end with medical bills. You really do get what you pay for.  Yes, it does suck that it seems to cost more to eat healthy.  Guess what?  It's worth it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Low Cal Meals at Wendy's

One of my favorite fast food places to get a salad right now is Wendy's.  They have several low-calorie versions as long as you order the half-size.  There new Berry Almond Chicken Salad is actually low-calorie even for the full-sized version.  Woohoo! 

I have included some other options as well for those of you that feel like you have to have a sandwich.  The baked potatoes are a good source of potassium, but just be careful what you pair them with to round out your meal.  I'm leading off with chicken nuggets just for grins.  That isn't very much food for the amount of calories.  If you want to fill up, then I strongly recommend one of the other options.

5 piece Chicken Nuggets    230
Honey Mustard    130
Mandarin Orange Cup    90
Total Calories    450
Grilled Chicken Go Wrap    260
Side Caesar Salad w/ Caesar Dressing & Croutons    250
Total Calories    510
Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe (no bacon)    300
Garden Side Salad w/ Ancho Chipotle Ranch Dressing & Croutons    220
Total Calories    520
Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich    350
Mandarin Orange Cup    90
Total Calories    440
Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich (no bun)    180
Sour Cream & Chive Baked Potato    320
Total Calories    500
Spicy Chicken Sandwich (no bun, no mayo)    240
Garden Side Salad w/ Ranch Dressing (no croutons)    200
Total Calories    440
Crispy Chicken Sandwich (no bun)    230
Broccoli & Cheese Baked Potato    330
Total Calories    560
Half-sized Baja Salad    280
Tortilla Strips    80
Red Jalapeno Dressing    100
Total Calories    460
Half-sized BLT Cobb Salad with Chicken    240
Avocado Ranch Dressing    100
Jr. Original Chocolate Frosty    150
Total Calories    490
Half-sized Apple Pecan Chicken Salad    180
Roasted Pecans    110
Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing    60
Total Calories    350
Half-sized Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad    240
Croutons    80
Lemon Caesar Dressing    110
Total Calories    430

Full-sized Berry Almond Chicken Salad   270
Roasted Almonds   80
Fat-free Raspberry Vinaigrette 100
Total Calories    450

10 Ways to Eat 500 Calories or Less at Taco Bell

Beef Burrito Supreme    420
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    420
7 Layer Burrito    500
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    500

Fresco Burrito Supreme-Chicken  350
Iced Tea or Water  0
Total Calories    350

Fresco Burrito Supreme-Steak  340
Iced Tea or Water  0
Total Calories    340

Fresco Bean Burrito  350
Fresco Crunchy Taco  150
Iced Tea or Water 0
Total Calories    490
Bean Burrito    370
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    370

Nachos Supreme 440
Iced Tea or Water 0
Total Calories    440

2 Crunchy Tacos 340
Iced Tea or Water 0
Total Calories    340     
Crunchy Taco    170
Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco    270
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    440
Meximelt    280
Crunchy Taco    170
Iced Tea or Water    0
Total Calories    450

about Sara

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On-site Personal Training & Nutrition Coaching in the Kansas City metropolitan area. I offer personal training at your home or work site. I also offer personalized online nutrition plans and corporate wellness programs. Contact me at with any questions.