Archive for the tag - menu

Did a National Restaurant Chain Just Try to Kill Me?

Don't be fooled: This quesadilla is a deadly weapon.

Yesterday, after my gymnastics class, I went with a friend to a nameless restaurant that happens to be part of a national chain. As someone who doesn’t eat at chains (Subway sandwiches excepted), I was a bit reluctant – but decided to give it a try.

We ordered chips and guacamole for an appetizer, and my main meal was a chipotle chicken quesadilla. It sounded innocent enough. When the meal arrived, I realized that the chicken had been deep-fried and smothered in cheese, the tortilla was coated in a thick layer of butter and that the meal was served with ranch dressing. It was essentially fat on top of fat with a side of fat.

I felt like I was on a segment of “Eat This, Not That” and I was eating the “not that.”

After consuming the quesadilla in its entirety (truth be told, it was fairly small), my body felt sick. I felt bloated and groggy. So, I decided to look up the nutrition information to see how unhealthy my meal really was. Though the exact quesadilla’s nutrition information isn’t on the restaurant’s site, similar quesadillas weigh in at nearly 1,500 calories and have more than 100 grams of fat – 40 of which are unsaturated. Not to mention 3,000 mg of sodium.

To put that into context, most Americans are told to target about 56 – 78 grams of fat per day – with about 16 grams (or less) coming from saturated fats. And we’re advised to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium. In other words, my meal contained almost two days worth of total fat, more than two days worth of saturated fat, and more than a day’s worth of sodium. I might as well have eaten a stick of butter.

Here’s the thing: While buttering the tortilla, frying the chicken, covering the quesadilla with cheese and serving it with ranch dressing may improve the taste slightly, all of those things impact the nutrition of the meal massively – and in a negative way. If cooking at home, I would have used a bit of olive oil on the tortilla, grilled the chicken, used only a dash of cheese and served it with a side of fresh salsa. It still would have been delicious – and it wouldn’t have made my body feel sick for having eaten it.

In hindsight, I could have paid more attention to key words in the menu’s description like “loaded”, “crispy” and “battered” – as they are red flags for fat and calories. But, while there are likely healthier options on the menu, I think I’ll be cooking at home for the foreseeable future.

P.S. I forgot to mention that our chips and guacamole appetizer had 1400 calories, 84 grams of total fat, 15 grams of saturated fat and 2,250 grams of sodium. That’s about a full day’s worth in every category. Bon appetit.