Counting Calories When Eating Out

by Annie on January 30, 2008 · 2 comments

in Eating Healthy

This post is a offers a quick tip on how to count calories when eating out. It would be nice to know how many calories are in that plate of pasta or sandwich before eating it when you dine out. Knowing the information might not deter you from eating the burger, but at least it would make you think twice about eating the fries. You can try looking up the information online beforehand or you can try these tricks that I use to count calories when dining out.

Step 1: Break down the meal into individual items to get a better calorie count.

Most people underestimate the amount of calories when eating out. To more accurately count calorie when dining out, break it down into individual items and round to the nearest 50 or 100 calories. You can do the math quicker that way.

For example, recently my friends and I when to Carl’s Jr for their six dollar burger (we got a great coupon for BOGO free).

Six dollar cheeseburger:

1 bun = 300 calories

  • (usually bread is 100-150 per slice. Top and bottom buns = two slices of bread).

Condiments on bun = 100 calories

  • (usually mayo, ketchup, mustard, or peanut butter is 100-150 per two teaspoon).

1 patty = 200 calories

  • (usually 200 calories per serving of meat. Though I am pretty sure there is more than one servings in this patty).

1 slice of cheese = 150 calories

  • (Kraft single slice cheese is approximately 140 calories per slice. Rounding up to nearest 50 for convenient math).

Veggies = 50 calories

  • (veggies are usually 20-50 calories per cup. There is probably only 20 calories worth of veggies in the sandwich, round up to the nearest 50 calories).

Subtotal = 300+100+200+150+50 = 800 calories

Step 2: Whatever your calorie count, add 300 calories to it.

Remember how I mentioned that most people tend to underestimate the calories they are eating when dining out? By adding an additional 300 calories to it, you are getting closer to the ballpark to its true calories.

From our example above, the six dollar burger is 800+300 = 1100 calories.

The actual calories amount in the six dollar burger is 1010 calories according to their website.

Give this a try and let me know if it works for you. I passed on the fries after counting the calories in the burger.  Another thing you should remember is that fries usually have as much calories as the burger.  If you are trying to lose weight, skip the fries every time.

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

davesworkout July 7, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Yep as a long time restaurant employee I can tell you – dont beleive what the company tells you. I work for a major chain family dining restaurant and most of the big companies get “busted” by news shows that order a carryout order of an item on a “weight watchers” or “atkins” diet menu, then have it analyzed. They usually turn out to be WAY over, and I can tell you why:

restaurants LOVE to use LOTS of grease/oil/fat in their foods. Its everywhere in kitchens. You get a large pasta dish, it might have ONE CUP of BUTTER in it! The cook got sloppy buttering up your bun before he toasts it, that could easily add another 10-20 grams of trans fats (most restaurants use this disgusting liquid crisco to cook with too).

Casual dining restaurants really dont worry too much about calorie counts, as most of them won’t even make that information available (I know my chain, one of the biggest, doesnt).

Use an online calorie calculator, theres plenty around on the net for free (click my name), most of them have tons of fast food items already in there.


asithi July 8, 2008 at 2:50 pm

I knew it! This confirms my suspicion. No wonder they never like it when I ask for dried toast. Thanks for commenting Dave.


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