Since this post was written a lot of the chains have removed their calorie counts. I’ve updated the post the best I can but seem the information has gone underground again which is very disappointing. I have updated specific changes below.
This is Day 45 of the Weight Loss Challenge
As regular readers of this blog will know, I eat out A LOT and the fact that it’s virtually impossible to determine the calorie counts of anything on a restaurant menu – except, possibly, a plain grilled steak with a plain salad – drives me insane. Well this week I’ve been working on an article that requires me to get the calorie information from as many of the big chain restaurants as I can. And, in most cases, everything you need to know is actually on their website – if you know where to look for it. Well, now I do. Below is a link to all the calorie count charts I can find for the main eat in chains. Admittedly, some companies just don’t have them – namely Giraffe, Chiquito, La Tasca, and, as I type Wagamama (though this is going to change soon). Pubs are also generally very unwilling to tell you what’s in their food – Harvester being the exception here, they actually print their calories on the menu.
I find it a bit daft really – I suppose they think people might think twice about ordering the pasty, chips and beans (ahem) if they see it has over 1200 calories a portion, but looking at it from the opposite angle, wouldn’t you be more keen to eat out if you knew that at Zizzi you could have a Funghi Risotto and a Rocket salad for just 563 calories, or that at Strada, the Panzerotti Porcini – which sounds fattening as it’s ravioli stuffed with mushrooms and ricotta – has just 399 per serving and that you can the ‘avoid like the plague it says butter’ side dish of broccoli with chilli butter for just 88 calories (less than the mixed salad). Sweet toothed folks can also discover that the Creme Brulee at Cafe Rouge has just 259 calories.
So, my advice is bookmark this post on your smartphone, so, next time you’re out you can click back here and click on the page of your chosen restaurant and make the right choice. If you don’t trust your willpower I’ve also pinpointed THE lowest calorie main course for each restaurant below.
Pollo Siciliana – Chargrilled chicken with prosciutto and plum tomatoes baked with cheese – 355 calories, maybe with a tomato and onion salad, 87 calories
2017 update: Say their nutritional information is being updated
head down to the red type at the bottom where it says ‘download data’ – Teggamaccio (fish stew) – 385 calories
2017 update: Strada has removed their nutritional information – they now say to tweet them for calorie advice at @stradatweet
Funghi Risotto, 507 calories
2017 update: Zizzi no longer list individual calories but they do at least list which of their dishes are under 600 calories – and allow you to filter the menu for these dishes to reduce temptation
Pizza Express –
all Leggara Pizzas are 500 calories, but a Pollo Pancetta salad without dressing or doughballs is 303
2017 update: They say which meals are under 600 calories on the menu. And they provide a link to the calories in their FAQ section. The link will take you there. .
Pizza Hut –
Veggie Supreme Regular 9″ Pan Pizza is 145 calories a slice (that’s 435 if you share it). If you don’t trust your willpower, Lasagne at 624 cals is the best option
2017 update: Well done Pizza Hut, one of the few companies still listing their details. The link above will take you there but there’s a few pizzas at 101 calories a slice including Farmhouse Small Italian, Vegetable Supreme Small Italian and Veggie Sizzler Small Italian
Frankie and Benny’s –
don’t list all calories, but they do list individual calories of their lower calorie options. Spaghetti Oceana at 310 calories is the lowest of these.
2017 update: Have removed their calories – say on their site that’s its something they are thinking about
Cafe Rouge –
Sole Provencal is 348 calories
2017 update: Another chain that’s removed their calorie counts on their site
you need good eyes for this one, and ability to rotate your head sideways. Mind you it does make pretty scary reading! Lowest cal choice is Sweet Chilli Noodles (without chicken ) at 346 calories
2017 update: Still offer all the calories online. Go to the link above and scan right down to the bottom. You’ll find a link to download all nutritional information – it’s tricky to read though
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