The New York Times resurfaced an article recently that illustrates just how much food you get for 2,000 calories at different chain restaurants. It turns out that can be a lot of food – in one sitting.
In this case, the pictures really do tell a pretty big story. The article is also useful in helping to understand how takeout and restaurant servings can sabotage any diet. At Shake Shake, for example, a Double Shakeburger, fries, and a Black and White shake weigh in at 2,000 calories. A cowboy ribeye steak at Ruth Chris Steakhouse? 1,690 calories. Add a martini, and you hit 2,000.
Plan ahead and research your options.
The good news is that many chain restaurants post nutritional information online. Some cities require it, which is helpful.
At Panera, for example, you can look online not only at what is on the menu but also the ingredients in that salad or sandwich and nutritional information. Potbelly’s nutrition calculator will even let you add or subtract ingredients. Want those dried cranberries on your grilled chicken salad? 100 calories. Want balsamic vinaigrette dressing instead of non-fat vinaigrette? That’s an additional 140 calories. (Actually, better to ask for any dressing on the side so you can add a little rather than a lot.)
Avoid fast food whenever possible.
Research shows that children and adults who eat fast food at least once a day are at increased risk for obesity. For one, it’s often high in saturated fat and trans fats. For another, it can be addictive, so your body doesn’t get the signal that says you’re full.
As Americans, we’re killing ourselves with convenience foods.
I get it. Takeout and microwavable meals are popular for a reason. We pack our children’s lunches but don’t get around to packing our own. We work, carpool our kids from one place to another, and then grab dinner on the go because it’s easy.
That’s why the nutrition information is key. Planning ahead can help you select healthier options for yourself and your family. A little prep time can truly transform your lunch or dinner from nutritionally mean to healthy and lean.
Screenshot from NYT: What 2,000 Calories Looks Like.