The New York Times recently released a photo essay about what 2,000 calories looks like, with dishes from our favorite food establishments. For those of you who do not count calories or have no idea how many you should be consuming, an average person should be eating between 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day.
Of course, this varies due to height, weight, activity, etc. So a baseline of around 2,000 calories should cover most adults. The problem is; restaurants prey on compulsion. This has become so much of a problem that even McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) had to do away with its popular SuperSize menu in 2004 because of America’s obesity problem. the current trend is now smaller menu items with venues boasting organic, healthy and carb free items. But even with these changes, what can you really order at America’s most popular restaurants while staying within 2,000 calories?
Keep in mind that 2,000 calories is your allowance for an ENTIRE day, not just one meal, however some establishment offerings would be quite scant with a lower max. Here are some 2,000 calorie meal options for you:
Fast, fashionable and fattening- This section will cover some of the higher end fast food places out there. All of these restaurants boast wholesome food, high quality and portray a healthier image than their lower tiered competitors.
- Potbelly (NASDAQ: PBPB) - 1978 calories gets you: 1 Orange mango juice (250), 1 Big Italian sandwich w/ mayo (1,088), 1 bag of chips (220) and 1 cookie (420)
- Chipotle (NYSE: CMG) - 1991 calories gets you: 1 Carnitas burrito (945), chips and guacamole (770), a Coke (276)
- Shake Shack (NYSE: SHAK)- 2000 calories gets you: 1 Double Shackburger (770), fries (470) and a Back and White shake (760)
Fine-er Dining- The following restaurants mimic fine dining and some may even make you feel that way, but most are not helping your health and weight.
- Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse- 1920 calories gets you: 1 cowboy ribeye steak (1690) and a martini (230) Thats right, no sides, no apps, this fills your entire day’s allowance of calories!
- P.F. Chang’s (NASDAQ: PFCB)- 2015 calories gets you: spinach (120), dumplings (195), orange beef (565), pad thai (580), caramel cake (430) and a glass of red wine (125). Not too bad Mr. Chang!
- Olive Garden (NYSE: DRI)- 2020 calories gets you: Salad (150), 1 breadstick (140), Tour of Italy (1500) and a quartino of wine (230). Filling up on breadsticks was not an option here.
- Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ: CAKE)- 2370 calories gets you: Louisiana Chicken Pasta… That’s right, one dish at this beloved American eatery is enough for your entire days energy output!
Skip lunch and dinner- Getting enough calories in just your first meal of the day or your last snack of the night can be a challenge, however, these options do it with ease.
- IHOP (NYSE: DIN)- 1990 calories gets you: A classic skillet w/ sausage (1880) and an OJ (110)
- Maggiano’s Little Italy- 2010 calories gets you: 1 slice of zuccotto cake (1790) and a cappuccino (220)
- Sonic- 2090 calories gets you: 1 Peanut Butter Caramel Pie Shake… Yeah, one item considered a beverage is over the limit. 10 will probably power a small town.
The nitty gritty- Here are the places you’ve probably been waiting for, the ones you can find all over this country and even around the world. The fast food meccas!
- Burger King (NYSE: BKW)- 2030 calories gets you: A double Whopper w/ cheese (1070), onion rings (410) and a vanilla milk shake (550)
- McDonald’s - 1980 calories gets you: A Crispy Chicken Sandwich w/ bacon (750), fries (340), Coke (200) and a McFlurry (690)
- Wendy’s (NASDAQ: WEN)- 2030 calories gets you: 1 Baconator Cheeseburger (940), potato w/ bacon and cheese (520), Caesar Salad (250), and a large Coke (320)
- Subway- 2010 calories gets you: Cold-cut combo (375), chips (230), chicken noodle soup with oyster crackers (155), cookie (220), Buffalo-chicken salad (360), Coke (200), egg-and-cheese flatbread (370), juice (100). Subway can actually supply you 3 “meals” and stay on that 2000 calorie mark. Go Jared!