My wife and I spent the Saturday before Easter doing our spring cleaning. Our church has an annual rummage sale in late April which provides a great reason to clean out the house each year.
We worked more than five hours emptying and rearranging closets, cabinets and our basement storage rooms, setting aside things for the sale and throwing out enough old boxes to fill our recycling bin to the top and have a second load of recycling ready to go the following week as well.
By about 6:30 p.m., we were exhausted and wanted to reward ourselves with a special dinner. We decided to use gift cards friends had given us for Maggiano’s, an Italian restaurant chain that started in Chicago but now operates around the country.
We ordered entrees, dessert and even appetizers, spending $10 more than the $50 in gift cards we had to use.
When the meal was done, I used Lose It! to estimate what I had eaten. I totaled my meal at roughly 1,600 calories, using dishes similar to what we had ordered that Lose It! has listed for other restaurant chains (it does not include items from Maggiano’s in its food list).
Later that evening though, I searched through other apps I use for restaurant food and found my Maggiano’s baked ziti with sausage, my main course. I had estimated that three-quarters of the order I ate was about 700 calories. Boy, was I off.
According to several apps and sites I found, a Maggiano’s baked ziti serving is 2,130 calories! Even more stunning than the calorie count was the salt content — 4260 mgs, or twice a daily allowance. So I likely ate close to 2,000 calories, or about my recommended daily calorie intake.
We also ordered stuffed mushroom caps as an appetizer, thinking mushrooms are low calorie. Not the ones we ordered, apparently. The app I used lists those at 1,540 calories for an order, which was eight mushroom caps. I ate three so roughly 577 calories! I’d estimated my consumption there at about 150 calories.
This all points to both the issue of portion size at restaurants these days (I later weighed a second baker ziti order we had saved, it was more than two pounds) and the difficulty of controlling your diet when you eat out.
My wife and I find we eat out less and less these days for these very reasons. Indeed, we have gift cards for other places which friends also have given us or we’ve bought through Groupon or other discount services and hesitate to use them because of calorie worries.
If any of you are wondering what to give us next Christmas, how about workout class gift certificates instead of restaurant gift cards?