That's just the thing though -- hummus is NOT that caloricly dense. Compare it just about any other dip, spread or condiment you can think of (peanut butter, mayonnaise, ranch dressing -- almost anything but salsa) and it's in a whole other world entirely. You can get four *tablespoons* of the stuff for 100 calories. *Six* tablespoons and a big pile of green peppers for a filling and high volume 200 calorie snack.
Seeing the number 700 anywhere near a hummus calorie count remains shocking, however they managed it -- with volume, with the bread (and whatever oil or butter they used with that), or with copious amounts of unneeded oil.
Serving size!!!!! I haven't had this particular dish (haven't been to Olive Garden in at least 10 years), but I guarantee they don't serve you the amount that you would consider a single serving at home. They're going to give you at least 3/4 cup, probably closer to 8-12 fl ounces. Plain pureed garbanzo or cannellini beans would have 400-500 calories per cup, even before you added oil and tahini. The protein and carb counts for the Olive Garden dish are almost identical to those of a 14-oz can of beans, which yields a little less than a cup of puree. If you ate the same amount of any brand of store-bought hummus, or made it yourself and had a generous hand with the oil, it would be pretty close to the same calorie count IF you ate the whole container.
Most times, when you order hummus at a restaurant, it's meant to be a shared appetizer, not a whole meal, just like you wouldn't usually make a complete meal of hummus from the grocery. Hummus is a nutritious but calorie-dense food-- a condiment, appetizer, or snack instead of a meal. So the lesson here isn't that Olive Garden hummus is a diet-killer; the lesson is that the advice we so often hear that says, "Oh, order an appetizer as a main dish" doesn't always work.
Still, that's far from the worst thing on the menu. The sandwiches are all over 1100 calories, the side Caesar salad is around 600, and so on. The hummus has a pretty high protein count and the calories are mostly from olive oil, which is "good" fat. Looking at the menu beforehand would have helped, but the hummus wasn't such a bad move when you're choosing blind. And the roasted asparagus was also a good move-- fewer calories than the house side salad.
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BEWARE ZAXBY'S! One of their "zalads" tops off with 5,000 mg of sodium!!! That's 2 days worth!
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Their goal is to serve tasty food, which means higher fat. If you want lower fat, or even reduced carbs, they have menus for that, but restaurant food isn't healthy. The numbers they Do give you are meaningless.
To figure out the nutrition, they prepare one dish separately, taking plenty of time, and controlling portion size, and have it tested. That is what they tell you. Then some cook making $12-15 an hour, creates 100 dishes an hour, and yours is just one of them. Do you think he uses the same care?
I would look online before going to any restaurant, and if my menu called for 500 calories, I would pick out something with 400, and hope it was not too much over 500. Consider it a treat, and avoid going to restaurants if possible. Tracking accurately when you go to a restaurant is impossible.
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I like to check the nutrition information on the restaurants website before I go there. With that being said that has changed my decision to go out to eat on numerous occasions which saved me calories and money!
I always assume anything I eat at a restaurant is higher than what I would eat at home. They do it for the taste, as it generally has to be more tastier than what a normal person can cook at home. Which means full fat, whole bunch of sugar, and salt added with everything.
I would just assume everything you have is doubled in any restaurant even a Raw vegan restaurant it really is true, and double is a conservative amount to estimate.
Edited by: JASONV8 at: 6/10/2014 (07:52)
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That's why I prefer to read before I go. Heck, most places you go to even the salads are incredibly high in calories. Even if it sounds safe, you never know, so it's always best to look it up prior to dining out. If you don't usually have time for that, write down a few "safe" meals for different restaurants you visit most, and keep it in your purse/wallet for a quick reference.
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My parents took me out to eat on Sunday to Olive Garden and I was trying to make sure that I ate healthy and get protein. I ordered the roasted asparagus and the white bean hummus. I went to Olive Garden's website to check out the calorie count on these items and was shocked to see how high the hummus was. It has over 700 calories for the small serving (which I had). I know hummus is good for you and a lot of people eat it because it is so I thought I should let everyone know this isn't an item to make a meal off of. If anyone else has found another food that is surprisingly high in calories let everyone know.
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