Food Showdown: Can Quesadillas Be Healthy?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Quesadillas are little more than pan-fried tortillas filled with lots of melted cheese. Can these Mexican specialties ever be a healthy choice? Applebee's Chicken Quesadilla Grande contains chicken, cheese, crisp bacon and pico de gallo. Don Pablo's Mesquite-Grilled Chicken Quesadilla includes chicken, cheese and pico de gallo, with sour cream and tomatoes on the side. Which item is lower in calories and fat?

The Winner (?): Applebee's Chicken Quesadilla Grande

Although Applebee's Chicken Quesadilla Grande is the winner in this showdown, we still probably wouldn't recommend ordering it if you enjoy fitting into your clothes. Weighing in at 1,440 calories, 88 grams of fat, 36 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fats, and an unheard of 3,950 milligrams of sodium, don't let the "appetizer" size of this dish fool you. Don Pablo's Mesquite-Grilled Chicken Quesadilla is even worse, packing in an appalling 1,557 calories and 93 grams of fat (42 grams saturated and 6 grams trans fats).

The bottom line: Usually, no quesadilla is a healthy quesadilla—unless you make it yourself at home with low-fat cheese, a normal-sized whole grain tortilla, and plenty of veggies. Skip the restaurant and get cooking with these better-for-you quesadilla recipes.