More ways to slash the calories when eating out

We recently posted about how to cut calories and boost nutrients when you’re on the go and eating out. Here are a few more examples.


If you take Subway’s advice to “Make it a Meal” with a 6” Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt sub on an Italian roll (590 calories) plus a bag of SunChips (210) and a 21 oz. fountain Fuze iced (sweetened) green tea (140), you’re up to 940 calories.

Instead, try a 6” Rotisserie-Style Chicken on a Multigrain Flatbread with provolone and mustard (410 calories) with a bag of apple slices (40) and a 21 oz. fountain Fuze unsweetened iced tea (0).


  • Get better breads. The Multigrain Flatbread has no fewer calories, but it’s all whole grain. The 9-Grain Wheat and 9-Grain Honey Oat are only part whole.
  • Make the cheese optional. Cut it to save about 50 calories. Or, for an extra 75¢, switch to a healthier fat (avocado, 60 calories).
  • Make it a salad. For around $2 extra, you can swap the bread for salad. You save about 170 calories and get some potassium from the veggies to help counter the high-salt meats. Ask for just a light drizzle of Subway Vinaigrette or oil & vinegar.


Whether you’re at Chipotle, Qdoba, Moe’s, or another fast-casual Mexican chain, “the usual” piles some 1,000 calories on your plate.

Exhibit A: a 1,140-calorie Chipotle Chicken Burrito (flour tortilla, chicken, white rice, black beans, roasted chili-corn salsa, sour cream, cheese).

You can get down to 570 by switching to a Chicken Burrito Bowl (half brown rice, half romaine topped with chicken, black beans, fajita veggies, tomatillo green-chili salsa, and cheese).


  • Skip the burrito tortilla. Who needs 300 calories of white flour, when you can have a bowl or salad?
  • Get cheese OR sour cream (or neither). Every quarter cup of cheese or
    sour cream adds about 100 calories and a quarter of a day’s saturated fat.
  • Lose the rice. Swapping all the rice for romaine saves 200 calories.
  • Dress wisely. A four-tablespoon serving of Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette packs 220 calories. Use half or simply dress your salad with salsa.
  • Watch the guac. If you don’t want the 230 calories in a half-cup serving, get it on the side and use half. Or, if you don’t mind losing some protein, get it instead of chicken or sofritas (tofu).
  • Speak up. Some servers have a heavy hand with the cheese, rice, etc. Ask for a half-scoop instead of a heaping one.
  • Skip the chips. They’re 540 calories sans salsa (20 to 80) or guac (230).

Panda Express

At fast-casual Chinese places like Panda Express, you can fill a bowl with one entrée (like chicken or beef) and one side (like rice, veggies, or chow mein). If you make it Orange Chicken over Fried Rice at Panda, you’re talking 900 calories.

Instead, switch to String Bean Chicken Breast and replace the fried rice with half Steamed Brown Rice, half Mixed Vegetables. Now you’re down to 440 calories.

Or replace all the rice or noodles (400 to 500 calories) with veggies (80 calories), and your bowl has just 270 calories.


  • Get just one entrée. At Panda Express, a “plate” has two—and a “bigger plate” has three—entrées and one side. You’ve got your best chance of staying under 1,000 calories if you stick to a single entrée.
  • Don’t get fried. Skip chicken, beef, or shrimp entrées—like General Tso’s chicken or crispy beef—that are deep-fried and (often) battered or tossed in a sugary sauce. An unbattered stir-fried entrée—like beef & broccoli, mushroom chicken, or sautéed tofu—can save 100, 200, or even 300 calories. doesn’t accept any paid advertising or corporate or government funding. Any menu items recommended by have been vetted by our staff of nutritionists and are not advertisements by the manufacturers.


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