Thursday, October 21, 2010

That dirty rotten Panda

Occasionally I eat at Panda Express.  I have to be careful what I eat there.  Too much rice makes me sick.  Greasy chow mein does too.  Can't have too much fried food because it fills me up fast and then I don't get enough nutrition.  But, I still consider a visit to Panda at least a step above Taco Bell or McDonalds (which make me super sick, so I try to avoid completely).

When I'm being "bad," I'll get a meal with fried rice and maybe orange chicken or their new sweet fire chicken, and potstickers.  It usually amounts to two or three meals for me (although by the third meal, its usually gross so I generally throw out whatever I haven't eaten after I've reheated it once -- but I'm really weird about microwaving food).  When I'm being "good," I just get the potstickers.  Sometimes three (one order).  Maybe six if I'm really hungry. 

Last night was a Panda night.  I had Twirly Girls and didn't get home until late again.  Since it was my second workout of the day, I figured I'd eat food instead of a protein shake.  I knew Rob probably hadn't eaten so I offered to pick something up.

I debated with myself about what I would get.  Would I get the whole meal?  Yeah, I had worked out twice and could probably swing the calories.  But it was late and did I really NEED all of those calories right before bed?  So I settled with choosing six potstickers.  It would be a full meal, but they just seem healthier than fried rice and fried chicken with sweet sauce all over it.

Then I whipped out my iPhone and Restaurants app.

Holy hell.  Potstickers are not low in calories at all.  In fact, of all the appetizers (and the REST of their appetizers are heavily fried), they are the HIGHEST in calories.  ONE potsticker is 220 calories!!  That means when I was eating six of them, I was eating 1,320 calories!!!!!  A serving of white rice is 430 calories (not that I can ever eat the entire serving).  Chow mein is only 400!  Fried rice is 480 calories.  Orange chicken is 545 calories.  That means, I can have an entire serving of FRIED rice and FRIED orange chicken for 300 LESS calories than potstickers (granted, I KNOW that potstickers are "fried" but I thought they were only flash fried in the wok, not thrown into a greasy fryer).  And, honestly, I can't eat the entire serving of rice AND chicken, so I'd eat half (a little over 500 calories for the meal)....but I can down six potstickers without a problem.

I skipped the potstickers and just got one of their small Panda bowls with white rice and chicken.  

Luckily, I don't eat at Panda Express often.  But it definitely made me realize that I need to re-think what I'm eating and how I'm counting calories.  I've pretty much "dieted" my entire life and have always had a pretty good handle about what's going into my face.  Or maybe I don't and I just keep telling myself that it's not my own fault that I'm still fat.

***UPDATE***

After ranting on here, I went to Panda's actual website to see if their nutrition facts matched my iPhone app's stats.  Of course they don't.  According to Panda, the 220 calories is for the entire order of potstickers, not one potsticker (which actually seems a bit low...I would guess each potsticker to be around 100 calories).  Whew.  I feel better.  Although, their nutrition facts don't match on a lot of other things.  Fried rice is 570 not 480.  Orange chicken is supposedly 400 not 545.  Who knows which is right.  I'm sure there are a lot of variables.  The calories listed are for a serving size.  Do they really scoop one serving size?  Probably best to just skip the fast food from now on to be safe.

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