PF Chang’s Menu Sorted by Net Carb Count for May 2018

Let’s be honest – you don’t go to PF Chang’s for their low carb items – you go there because there’s a friend having an event you can’t miss, or some other social necessity. It’s nobody’s fault except yours that you are on some weird diet where you count ‘net carbs’ – whatever that is. Your goal is to go and participate in as normal a fashion as possible while maintaining your diet.

Below is the current PF Chang menu from their website as of May 2018. They have almost 180 different items you can order – and they really go overboard in giving you all the detail on every menu item – check out the page yourself and be prepared for the wall of noise as they overshare information on every item.

I like PF Chang’s – and I like that they provide so much info – but here’s the situation: I’m on a low carb diet and I have to meet a friend there tonight! What do I pick?

No fear. Let’s keep this simple to avoid panic attacks – OK?

Go past the kid’s sides and you’ll see the  Wok’d Spinach with Garlic, the Egg Drop Soup Cup, and the Baby Buddha’s Feast Steamed from the kid’s menu. Smile sweetly and tell the server you’re a kid at heart. You can do this.

If you can handle a few more carbs there are more options that aren’t bad a little further down.

As has been the same for a dozen years, I do not recommend scrolling all the way down to the bottom where ‘The Great Wall of Chocolate’ resides at 245 grams of net carbs. That’s more than 12 DAYS of carbs for those of us going for 20 grams or less. I’ve had it – and it’s great – but I wasn’t on a low carb diet at the time.

Category Menu Item Net Carbs (g)
SALADS addon – Salmon* 0
KIDS SIDES Kids Steamed Broccoli 0
KIDS SIDES Kids Steamed Snap Peas 1
KIDS SIDES Kids Steamed Carrots 2
SALADS addon – Shrimp 4
SALADS addon – Chicken 4
MARKET SIDES Wok’d Spinach with Garlic 6
SOUPS Egg Drop Soup Cup 6
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS Egg Drop Soup Cup 6
KIDS SIDES Kids Fruit Cup 6
GLUTEN-FREE SOUP GF Egg Drop Soup cup 6
GLUTEN-FREE MARKET SIDES GF Wok’d Spinach with Garlic 6
KIDS MENU Baby Buddha’s Feast Steamed 7
KIDS MENU GF Steamed Baby Buddha’s Feast 7
SOUPS Hot & Sour Soup Cup 9
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS Hot & Sour Soup Cup 9
STREET FARE Edamame 13
SOUPS Wonton Soup Cup 13
SALADS Asian Caesar Salad 17
MARKET SIDES Wok-Charred Brussels Sprouts 17
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Shrimp with Lobster Sauce 17
GLUTEN-FREE SEAFOOD ENTRÉES GF Shrimp with Lobster Sauce 17
KIDS MENU Baby Buddha’s Feast Stir Fried 18
KIDS DRINKS Kids Milk 2% 18
DIM SUM Handmade Shrimp Dumplings Pan Fried (4) 20
DIM SUM Handmade Shrimp Dumplings Steamed (4) 20
GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH – INCLUDES WHITE RICE GF Ginger Chicken with Broccoli 22
VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES Buddha’s Feast Steamed 23
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS Vegetable Spring Roll 23
STREET FARE Shishito Peppers** 24
DIM SUM Handmade Pork Dumpling Pan Fried (4) 24
DIM SUM Handmade Pork Dumpling Steamed (4) 24
MARKET SIDES Sichuan Style Asparagus 24
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Singapore Black Pepper Chicken 24
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Shishito Steak** 24
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS House-Made Egg Roll – Pork 24
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS House-Made Egg Roll – Chicken 24
GLUTEN-FREE CHICKEN ENTRÉES GF Singapore Black Pepper Chicken 24
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Pepper Steak 25
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Kung Pao Shrimp 25
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Oolong Chilean Sea Bass* 25
KIDS DESSERTS Kids Vanilla Ice Cream 25
DESSERTS Good Fortune Cheesecake – Mini Dessert 26
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS Hand-Folded Crab Wontons (2) 27
DESSERTS Miso Butterscotch Pudding – Mini Dessert 27
MARKET SIDES Sauce Trio 28
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Miso Glazed Salmon* 28
MARKET SIDES Chili Garlic Green Beans 29
DIM SUM Handmade Shrimp Dumplings Pan Fried (6) 30
DIM SUM Handmade Shrimp Dumplings Steamed (6) 30
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS Mandarin Crunch Side Salad 30
KIDS DRINKS Kids Strawberry Lemonade 30
DESSERTS Triple Chocolate Happiness – Mini Dessert 30
KIDS DRINKS Kids Lemonade 31
STREET FARE Dynamite Shrimp 32
KIDS DESSERTS Kids Coconut Pineapple Ice Cream 32
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Salt & Pepper Prawns 33
DIM SUM Vegetable Spring Rolls (2) 34
KIDS MENU Kids Sweet & Sour Chicken 34
GLUTEN-FREE CHICKEN ENTRÉES GF Ginger Chicken with Broccoli 34
GLUTEN-FREE BEEF ENTRÉES GF Mongolian Beef 34
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Ginger Chicken with Broccoli 35
DESSERTS Strawberry & Coconut Cream Cake – Mini Dessert 35
GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH – INCLUDES WHITE RICE GF Beef with Broccoli 36
GLUTEN-FREE BEEF ENTRÉES GF Beef with Broccoli 36
MARKET SIDES Brown Rice – individual serving 37
DIM SUM Hand-Folded Crab Wontons (4) 38
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Mongolian Beef 38
KIDS DRINKS Kids Orange Juice 38
DIM SUM Handmade Pork Dumplings Pan Fried (6) 39
DIM SUM Handmade Pork Dumpling Steamed (6) 39
SUSHI Lobster Avocado Roll* 39
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Kung Pao Chicken 39
KIDS MENU Kids Honey Chicken 39
STREET FARE Northern Style Spare Ribs 40
GLUTEN-FREE STREET FARE GF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps 40
SUSHI Spicy Tuna Roll* 41
SOUPS Egg Drop Soup Bowl 41
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Beef with Broccoli 41
VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES Ma Po Tofu 41
KIDS DRINKS Kids Apple Juice 41
GLUTEN-FREE SOUP GF Egg Drop Soup bowl 41
VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES Buddha’s Feast Stir-Fried 44
STREET FARE Chang’s Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps 46
DIM SUM House-Made Egg Rolls Chicken(2) 48
SUSHI California Roll* 48
MARKET SIDES White Rice – individual serving 48
VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES Stir-Fried Eggplant 48
DIM SUM House-Made Egg Rolls Pork (2) 50
SOUPS Wonton Soup Bowl 50
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Beef A La Sichuan 50
DIM SUM Mongolian Potstickers** 52
SUSHI Ahi Poke Bowl* 52
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Surf & Turf* 53
SUSHI Kung Pao Dragon Roll* 55
STREET FARE Tempura Calamari & Vegetables 56
KIDS MENU Kids Chicken Lo Mein 56
DESSERTS Chocolate Dome 56
GLUTEN-FREE DESSERTS GF Chocolate Dome 56
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Walnut Shrimp with Melon 57
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Orange Peel Shrimp 57
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Thai Harvest Curry with Pork 58
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Thai Harvest Curry with Shrimp 58
STREET FARE Cauliflower Tempura 59
STREET FARE Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps 60
SOUPS Hot & Sour Soup Bowl 60
STREET FARE Crispy Green Beans 61
VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES Thai Harvest Curry 61
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Thai Harvest Curry with Chicken 62
SALADS Mandarin Crunch Salad 63
DIM SUM Hand-Folded Crab Wontons (6) 65
SUSHI Shrimp Tempura Roll* 65
DIM SUM Vegetable Spring Rolls (4) 66
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Wok-Fired Filet Mignon* 66
STREET FARE Changs BBQ Spare Ribs 67
SOUPS Chang’s Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup 69
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Sesame Chicken 70
DESSERTS Banana Spring Rolls Small 70
KIDS MENU Kids Chicken Fried Rice 73
KIDS MENU GF Kids Chicken Fried Rice 73
STREET FARE Eggplant Katsu** 74
MARKET SIDES Fried Rice (Side) 74
GLUTEN-FREE MARKET SIDES GF Fried Rice 75
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Chang’s Spicy Chicken 76
DESSERTS New York-Style Cheesecake 76
GLUTEN-FREE CHICKEN ENTRÉES GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken 76
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Orange Peel Chicken 77
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Crispy Honey Shrimp 78
DIM SUM House-Made Egg Rolls Chicken(4) 83
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Sweet & Sour Chicken 83
DESSERTS Vietnamese Chocolate Lava Cake 83
LUNCH NOODLE BOWLS Chiang Mai Noodle Bowl 85
DIM SUM House-Made Egg Rolls Pork (4) 86
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Crispy Honey Chicken 86
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Mongolian Beef Bowl 87
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Korean Fried Chicken** 89
GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH – INCLUDES WHITE RICE GF Mongolian Beef Bowl 92
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Tempura Bowl 94
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Korean Bibimbap with Steak 99
LUNCH NOODLE BOWLS Tokyo Udon Noodle Bowl with Steak 100
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Korean Bibimbap with Chicken 101
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Chang’s Lobster & Shrimp Rice* 102
LUNCH NOODLE BOWLS Tokyo Udon Noodle Bowl with Chicken 103
MARKET SIDES Long Life Noodles (Side) 110
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Beef 120
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Chicken 122
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Shrimp 122
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Vegetables 124
NOODLES & RICE Long Life Noodles & Prawns 124
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Combo 125
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Chang’s Spicy Chicken Bowl 125
GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH – INCLUDES WHITE RICE GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken Bowl 125
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Pork 126
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Chang’s Honey Chicken Bowl 134
DESSERTS Banana Spring Rolls 147
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice with Beef 150
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice with Beef 151
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice with Shrimp 152
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice with Chicken 153
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice with Shrimp 153
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice with Chicken 153
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice Combo 154
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice with Vegetables 154
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice Combo 155
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice with Pork 156
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice with Vegetables 156
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice with Pork 157
SALADS Vietnamese Noodle Salad 160
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Pad Thai Combo 169
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Pad Thai Chicken 169
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Pad Thai Shrimp 169
NOODLES & RICE Pad Thai Combo 174
NOODLES & RICE Pad Thai Chicken 174
NOODLES & RICE Pad Thai Shrimp 174
NOODLES & RICE Hokkien Street Noodles 219
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Hokkien Street Noodles 219
DESSERTS The Great Wall of Chocolate 245

 

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Keto Dining at McDonald’s

Is it right to call the consumption of food at McDonald’s ‘dining’? Is it right to even MENTION the ‘M-Word’ in case some of you are triggered? Might this post be seen as encouraging eating there?

The answers are: no, yes, maybe – but not intentionally.

Let’s face it: if you are traveling, or for some other reason are unable to get your hands on some real food, and your only option is a local McDonald’s – because, let’s face it, there always *is* a local McDonald’s – then knowing there are keto options might just save your bacon (get it?).

Remember though hacking McDonald’s will be hard because the staff – God bless their souls – are not usually accustomed to truly oddball orders. Yes – it is oddball, and yes – you are an oddball for being on a keto diet. Get over it.

So at this point you might be asking yourself: ‘well, how am I supposed to know what to order?’.

Glad you asked.

McDonald’s – in their quest to market ‘America’s Favorite Crap Food(R)’ to everyone regardless of their preferences, has put together a nifty nutrition information gizmo on their website.

You can check it out here: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/about-our-food/nutrition-calculator.html.

So for instance, let’s take the Big Mac. 540 calories, 28 grams of fat, 46 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of protein. 46 grams of carbs?!? Ugh. No way.

However, using the tool to remove the 3 buns that make up a Big Mac and it’s an entirely different meal: 330 calories, 25 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs, and 18 grams of protein.

That can work. Now the problem is: how do they serve this? with a little thinking, they could place the cheese between the patties, but structurally, it might just fall apart. Best to ask for the ingredients in a salad bowl and ask for utensils.

For the Sausage McMuffin with Cheese – my fave – the numbers are even better when you skip the muffin. 340 calories, 29 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbs, and 16 grams of protein. If you can get them to put the cheese between the egg and the sausage patty, you can probably eat it out of the wrapper without too much fuss.

The Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddles® also fare well without the bun. 180 calories, 12 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs, and 14 grams of protein. This might be another one to eat in a bowl, however.

If you want to avoid the complication of asking for modifications – and I understand that patiently explaining to the counter staff that to properly assemby your Egg McMuffin without the muffin you want your slice of cheese *between* the egg and the sausage, then put on the wrapper while people are behind you impatiently watch this scene unfold, the Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad does not seem all that bad. 320 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbs, and 42 grams of protein. A bit high on the protein and also on the carbs, but some of us could manage it.

Oddly enough, the chicken and salads seem more of a problem than the burgers. Just too much protein from the chicken.

Again, I’m not saying you should be eating this stuff as part of a diet to promote overall health, but if you’re stuck in a food desert and McDonald’s is the only choice, it is not impossible to maintain your keto diet without starving to death.

I’m not even going to venture into the drinks. I am of the belief that it’s a toss-up as to whether you’ll actually get diet soda when you order one or if they’ll mix it up with the sugared variety. Black coffee with a little half-and-half or a bottle of water is all I’d be comfortable with – but play around with the nutrition gizmo and maybe you’ll find a hidden gem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PF Chang’s Menu Sorted by Net Carb Count for 2016

IMPORTANT – PF Chang’s has updated their menu -and I’ve updated my post. Check out the updated menu at https://lowcarbconfidential.com/2018/05/20/pf-changs-menu-sorted-by-net-carb-count-for-may-2018/

In 2007 I put up a post – Low Carb Dining at PF Chang’s – that is now way out of date as they have reformulated their menu since then. As we have one nearby, we frequent it often. We love their stuff.

I haven’t been watching my carb count much in maybe the 6 months prior to Christmas. I need a little refresher on what is an acceptable meal for me at the place – and what isn’t (psst! – avoid the gluten free fried rice combo!).

I hope PF Chang’s doesn’t mind me lifting their nutrition info web page and reformatting it fo us low carb folks- I wouldn’t think so because I’m making it easier for low carb dieters to enjoy a meal with friends at their restaurant.

Yeah – all this info is on their site but I included net carbs and sorted it to make finding the low carb items on their 100+ item menu easier. As I mess with data In Real Life every day, this stuff is probably more easy for me than for a lot of folks, so I thought I’d share.

 

Menu Item Calories Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Carbs (g) Dietary Fiber (g) Net Carbs (g) Protein (g)
Crispy Green Bean Sauce 2 oz 310 33 4.5 590 3 0 3 0
Spinach with Garlic — Small 120 8 1 400 8 4 4 6
GF Spinach with Garlic — Small 120 8 1 400 8 4 4 6
Shanghai Cucumbers — Small 70 3 0 1270 7 3 4 4
GF Shanghai Cucumbers — Small 70 3 0 1460 7 3 4 6
Spinach with Garlic — Large 160 9 1.5 790 15 9 6 12
GF Spinach with Garlic — Large 160 9 1.5 790 15 9 6 12
GF Shanghai Cucumbers — Large 140 6 1 2920 13 7 6 12
Chicken Satay 250 10 4 240 7 1 6 30
Baby Buddha’s Feast Steamed 60 0 0 50 12 5 7 4
GF Baby Buddha’s Feast Steamed 60 0 0 50 12 5 7 4
Rice Wine Shrimp 430 11 1.5 1420 9 2 7 66
Jicama Lobster Tacos 400 35 11 750 9 2 7 12
Mixed Green Salad with Lime Vinaigrette 90 6 1 55 9 2 7 1
Wonton Soup — cup 60 1 0 730 8 1 7 4
Shanghai Cucumbers — Large 130 6 1 2540 14 6 8 9
Egg Drop Soup — cup 50 2 0 600 8 0 8 1
GF Egg Drop Soup — cup 60 2.5 0 590 8 0 8 1
Sichuan-Style Asparagus — Small 90 4 0.5 1200 11 2 9 3
Asian Grilled Salmon* 610 35 5 1460 17 7 10 56
Hot & Sour Soup — cup 80 2.5 0.5 1750 11 1 10 5
Oolong Chilean Sea Bass* 560 38 9 2240 10 0 10 43
House-Made Egg Roll Sauce 2 oz 70 1.5 0 95 13 1 12 1
Salt & Pepper Prawns Sauce 2oz 70 1.5 0 680 13 1 12 2
Edamame 400 17 2.5 1960 25 12 13 37
Shishito Peppers 150 8 1.5 1760 18 5 13 2
Jicama Kung Pao Chicken Tacos 370 24 3.5 760 17 4 13 21
GF Buddha’s Feast (Steamed) 110 0.5 0 80 22 8 14 8
Kalbi Steak 590 36 9 830 19 5 14 49
Spicy Green Beans — Small 150 8 1 1300 19 5 14 4
Hong Kong Style Sea Bass* 520 38 8 1820 18 4 14 27
Ahi Tartare with Avocado* 320 14 2 530 17 3 14 29
Shrimp with Lobster Sauce* 360 18 3.5 2700 19 3 16 29
Ahi Tartare with Avocado * 450 26 3.5 630 26 9 17 28
Baby Buddha’s Feast Stir Fried 180 8 1 1610 22 5 17 6
Orange Ginger Edamame 440 19 3 4260 31 13 18 37
Dynamite Shrimp 370 30 4 710 19 1 18 5
GF Shrimp with Lobster Sauce* 480 26 5 3010 23 4 19 40
Banana Leaf Rockfish 460 20 9 1560 24 4 20 43
Shrimp Dumplings Pan Fried (4) with sauce 190 6 1 1250 22 2 20 12
Sake Salmon* 780 53 8 1510 27 6 21 47
Jicama Pork Tacos 320 19 4 980 24 3 21 16
Buddha’s Feast — Steamed 260 4 0 300 32 10 22 26
Pork Dumplings Pan Fried (4) with sauce 270 12 3.5 720 25 3 22 15
Sichuan-Style Asparagus — Large 220 8 1.5 2400 30 7 23 9
Pepper Steak 660 37 8 3210 26 3 23 57
GF Pepper Steak 660 38 8 3270 27 3 24 52
Shrimp Dumplings Steamed (4) with sauce 180 3 0 600 24 0 24 12
Seared Ahi Salad* 700 55 8 1490 30 5 25 24
Vegetable Spring Rolls Sauce 2 oz 100 0 0 670 26 1 25 0
Pork Dumplings Steamed (4) with sauce 250 10 1.5 620 25 0 25 11
Kaleidoscope Roll * 280 10 1.5 730 31 5 26 14
Spicy Green Beans — Large 240 8 1.5 2600 38 10 28 9
Crab Wontons (4) with sauce 470 37 8 630 28 0 28 5
Chang’s Kung Pao Shrimp 780 51 8 2790 45 16 29 37
Beef with Broccoli 670 35 8 3260 33 4 29 56
Ginger Chicken with Broccoli 460 10 2 2320 38 8 30 53
Salt & Pepper Prawns 590 30 3.5 2630 34 4 30 48
Mongolian Beef 720 39 9 2700 31 1 30 61
Handmade Dumplings Shrimp — Pan-Fried with sauce 300 11 2 2000 34 3 31 17
GF Ginger Chicken with Broccoli 510 14 2.5 2510 40 8 32 60
Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps 610 36 4.5 2300 39 7 32 25
Wonton Soup — bowl 250 3.5 2 3360 37 5 32 19
GF Mongolian Beef 780 44 10 2900 33 1 32 62
Kid’s Sweet & Sour Chicken 300 11 1.5 400 32 0 32 17
GF Beef with Broccoli 690 36 8 3430 40 7 33 55
GF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps 530 26 6 3030 39 6 33 34
Korean Steak Bulgogi* 800 30 9 1780 38 5 33 91
Chang’s Kung Pao Combo 830 49 7 2750 46 12 34 50
Handmade Dumplings Pork — Pan-Fried with sauce 420 20 5 1200 39 5 34 23
House-Made Egg Rolls (2) 280 10 2 1210 37 3 34 9
Vegetable Spring Rolls (2) 210 5 1 860 37 2 35 3
Coconut Curry Vegetables 1050 77 24 1220 47 11 36 43
GF Coconut Curry Vegetables 1050 77 24 1220 47 11 36 43
Chang’s Kung Pao Scallops 830 48 7 2600 44 8 36 56
Shaking Beef 800 49 18 2940 42 5 37 47
GF Shaking Beef 800 49 18 2930 42 5 37 47
Handmade Dumplings Shrimp — Steamed with sauce 290 6 0.5 1030 37 0 37 18
Lobster Avocado Roll * 410 19 2.5 740 46 8 38 14
Ma Po Tofu 1030 70 13 3780 44 6 38 60
Hunan-Style Hot Fish* 650 32 4.5 2910 42 4 38 50
Handmade Dumplings Pork — Steamed with sauce 390 17 2.5 1050 39 1 38 17
Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps 530 24 6 2090 47 8 39 32
Almond & Cashew Chicken 640 25 4 3780 46 7 39 61
Northern-Style Spare Ribs 1120 63 18 3070 41 2 39 97
Egg Drop Soup — bowl 260 9 1.5 2900 39 0 39 5
GF Egg Drop Soup — bowl 290 12 2.5 2880 39 0 39 6
Stir-Fried Eggplant 1010 88 13 3790 50 9 41 7
Saigon Summer Rolls 370 15 2.5 790 45 4 41 12
Spicy Tuna Roll * 280 3 0 930 45 4 41 17
Buddha’s Feast — Stir-Fried 420 12 1 3440 52 10 42 29
Kid’s Chicken Lo Mein 340 11 1.5 1590 45 2 43 16
Hand-Folded Crab Wontons 700 55 12 930 44 1 43 8
Hot & Sour Soup — bowl 380 11 3 7980 48 4 44 22
Sichuan Chili-Garlic Chicken 1290 88 15 2180 51 6 45 66
Citrus Chicken Teriyaki 710 25 6 2320 50 5 45 67
Handmade Dumplings Vegetable — Pan-Fried with sauce 320 8 1.5 1050 50 5 45 11
Rainbow Quinoa — Small 300 5 0.5 700 52 6 46 11
Cantonese-Style Lemon Chicken 750 37 7 1140 47 1 46 53
GF Cantonese-Style Lemon Chicken 750 37 7 1140 47 1 46 53
Steamed Korean BBQ Chicken 580 24 4 1400 53 6 47 50
Dynamite Scallop Roll * 400 12 1.5 1190 52 5 47 20
Vegetable Spring Rolls (4) 330 11 1.5 1090 50 3 47 6
Chang’s Kung Pao Chicken 1070 64 10 2410 56 8 48 70
California Roll 340 9 1 1140 54 5 49 13
Lemongrass Prawn & Papaya Salad* 640 26 3.5 2980 60 10 50 35
Beef à la Sichuan 680 32 7 2820 54 4 50 47
GF Beef à la Sichuan 720 34 7 2980 56 4 52 48
Handmade Dumplings Vegetable — Steamed with sauce 310 6 0.5 990 54 1 53 9
Chang’s Chinese Chicken Salad 620 27 4 2270 66 11 55 30
Crispy Green Beans (no sauce) 760 55 8 520 63 7 56 7
Kid’s Honey Chicken 410 11 1.5 650 56 0 56 17
Pepper Crusted Steak Frites* 1860 128 52 2880 77 17 60 100
Walnut Shrimp with Melon* 1380 104 16 1830 74 14 60 39
Thai Steak & Noodle Salad 790 43 10 1990 70 10 60 38
GF Flourless Chocolate Dome 570 33 23 280 66 5 61 6
Brown Rice 6 oz 310 2 0 5 66 4 62 6
Orange Peel Shrimp 660 28 4.5 1950 79 16 63 27
Chang’s BBQ Spare Ribs 1230 64 18 3750 67 3 64 98
Korean BBQ Chicken Stir-Fry 870 44 7 1400 70 5 65 60
Salt & Pepper Calamari 710 37 4 1860 68 2 66 26
White Rice 6 oz 300 1 0 5 68 1 67 7
Kale & Quinoa Yogurt Dip served with Sesame Salt Wonton Chips 650 27 4 1570 77 9 68 19
House-Made Egg Rolls (4) 560 20 4 2420 75 7 68 18
Handmade Butternut Squash Dumplings 1110 86 53 2980 72 4 68 12
Chang’s Chicken Noodle Soup — bowl 620 22 3.5 2720 74 4 70 33
Rainbow Quinoa — Large 470 8 1 1190 82 9 73 17
Chang’s Spicy Chicken 820 34 6 1810 73 0 73 59
GF Chang’s Fried Rice (6 oz without Protein) 460 11 2.5 820 76 2 74 16
Sesame Chicken 890 35 6 2250 82 6 76 66
Orange Peel Chicken 980 42 7 1560 87 8 79 67
Crispy Caramel Chicken Wings 1530 115 23 1930 82 3 79 41
Sweet & Sour Chicken 770 32 4.5 760 85 2 83 40
Vegetable Lo Mein 490 6 0.5 2870 94 6 88 19
Vegetable Lo Mein 490 6 0.5 2870 94 6 88 19
Lo Mein Vegetable 490 6 0.5 2870 94 6 88 19
Lo Mein Shrimp 610 13 2 3150 96 6 90 29
Lo Mein Chicken 710 18 2.5 3040 98 7 91 42
Lo Mein Beef 720 22 4 3180 97 6 91 40
Sweet & Sour Pork 710 25 6 1460 94 3 91 30
Chang’s Lobster Rice 1010 48 14 2120 98 5 93 43
Orange Peel Beef 1130 60 12 1960 108 14 94 44
Lo Mein Pork 760 25 5 3130 100 6 94 37
Lo Mein Combo 880 31 6 3400 101 6 95 55
Kid’s Chicken Fried Rice 610 15 3 1020 98 2 96 25
GF Singapore Street Noodles 710 13 2 1720 105 8 97 21
GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken 710 13 2 1720 105 8 97 21
GF Kid’s Chicken Fried Rice 580 10 2 1120 99 2 97 26
Apple Chai Cobbler 620 22 16 320 101 2 99 7
Crispy Honey Shrimp 760 28 4 1320 108 2 106 13
Crispy Honey Chicken 1140 49 7 1270 114 1 113 57
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Shrimp* 940 27 4.5 3090 130 15 115 47
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Beef* 1050 36 7 3120 129 14 115 56
Singapore Street Noodles 920 21 3.5 2750 127 11 116 29
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Chicken* 1040 32 5 2980 132 15 117 60
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Combo 1230 45 9 3200 134 15 119 73
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Pork* 1080 38 8 3060 133 14 119 55
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Vegetables 990 31 5 2820 144 19 125 38
Garlic Noodles 720 11 1 2990 136 5 131 23
Pad Thai Chicken* 1160 30 5 3720 153 11 142 45
Pad Thai Shrimp* 1070 26 4.5 3840 152 10 142 33
Pad Thai Combo* 1110 28 5 3780 153 10 143 39
Chang’s Fried Rice Combo* 1210 36 8 2440 157 4 153 62
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Vegetable* 980 21 4 2070 168 9 159 28
Chang’s Fried Rice Vegetable 980 22 4 2150 169 9 160 26
Chang’s Fried Rice Shrimp* 1140 21 3.5 2160 204 6 198 44
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Beef* 1220 26 5 2380 204 6 198 51
Chang’s Fried Rice Beef* 1240 28 6 2180 203 5 198 53
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Chicken* 1210 22 4 2240 206 7 199 54
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Shrimp* 1120 18 3 2350 205 6 199 41
Chang’s Fried Rice Chicken* 1240 25 4.5 2050 206 6 200 57
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Pork* 1260 29 6 2330 208 6 202 49
Chang’s Fried Rice Pork* 1370 41 8 2130 207 5 202 51
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Combo* 1360 33 7 2580 209 6 203 62

Recipe – The Cream Spinach Fat Bomb

Quick and easy to make – and quite good.

I’d better be right about fat being harmless though or I might be in a body bag after this one.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1/2 box of cream cheese
  • parm cheese (the stuff in the cardboard can)

Directions

Thaw the spinach in the microwave for 10 minutes. It will leak so place the boxes on a plate to catch the leakage.

Once thawed, let stand for 15 minutes at least – it will be too hot to handle the next step.

Now that it’s cooled, use a strainer to squeeze out as much of the excess liquid as possible – but don’t kill yourself over this – good enough is good enough

In a microwave-safe bowl, toss in the spinach, along with a stick of butter and the cream cheese. After about 4 minutes the butter and cream cheese should easily mix into the spinach without fuss and to my surprise got absorbed into the spinach. There were no puddles of butter as I feared.

The taste was good but a little lacking. A healthy sprinkle of the canned parm cheese made it perfect.

It *looked* like ordinary creamed spinach – but we know better. This innocent-looking creamed spinach was a Cheesecake Factory-style Fat Bomb made to look ‘lite’ and ‘healthy’. It was one of those menu items where you’d go: “Oh – I don’t know *how* they can make creamed spinach so tasty!”

Just for the heck of it I ran the numbers for the whole thing in my LoseIt! iPhone App:

  • Calories: 1,408 (1,200 of these calories come from fat)
  • Fat: 135g (81%)
  • Carbs: 37g (10%)
  • Protein: 33g (9%)

I would say that realistically this serves 4 – which means I ate 4 servings in one sitting.

Me and my body need to have a little ‘sit down’ to talk about ‘portion control’ – ya think?

This would be a splendid recipe for a pot luck – and you can look ’em in the eye and say it’s ‘diet’ – though change the subject if they start asking questions about the recipe. Based on the crowd at the New Year’s party I went to, this would have been gone in a flash.

Need I say it? This is safe for a ketogenic diet. In fact, it is *so* safe you might want to dial it back a notch – though this is ideal for people doing a ‘fat fast’ (though you don’t eat as much as I did). It is also vegetarian as long as they are the type that do dairy – there’s so many variants it’s hard to keep track.

Week 1 Back on Low Carb: Not Exactly, But Sort Of

Here’s a day-by-day summary of my first week back:

Monday, March 23, 2015 – 257.8

That moment in a soon-to-be-dieter occurs: shuffle to the scale, get on, look at the number – and it hits. A flabby fist shakes at the heavens in defiance: “Damn you! I’m going to lose this weight starting NOW!” The act feels good: I know, I’ve done it for a year and a half. My wife calls it ‘The Tomorrow Diet’ because I would usually cave soon after my defying the Universe and my weight in it and resolve to try again – tomorrow.

This time, however, I managed to muddle through the day. I had done some prep the night before. Not exactly knowing I was going to plunge into a diet the next day, I had made some pork belly and eggs and created cup-sized portions for lunch the following week. I hadn’t lost my instinct to do these sorts of things – I just ate like crap alongside these behaviors.

I decided to skip the pork belly and just brought Fage Greek yogurt and butter to work. I put butter in my coffee and ate the Fage with the zero-calorie EZ-Sweetz. I decided at the outset that artificial sweeteners, which I have tried to do without on other attempts, would be A-OK – I lost 80 pounds guzzling them down my initial go at this in 2003. I wasn’t going to worry about them now.

I also bought some of that MiO ‘water enhancer’ – the ‘energy’ type that contains caffeine. That does help me get more water into my system – and the caffeine did help replace some of the coffee as my stomach had not been feeling good as of late and I cut beck.

Once out of work I passed through the gauntlet of stores and the fast-food restaurants with some concern – but I didn’t stop.

At home after work I had the pork belly and egg – swimming in pork fat and kicked up a notch with Tabasco sauce. Good stuff.

I then screwed up a bit, having two dinner rolls the size of a baby’s fist with butter, then mozzarella and tomato. Rumor has it a bit of chocolate cookie was also consumed.

Not a picture-perfect start, but way better than I had been doing.

Cals: 1,832
Fat: 146 (72%)
Carbs: 62g (14%)
Protein: 68.4g (15%)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 – 255.4

Weight down a bit. Meh. I got my work cut out for me. A little more in the groove, I added a can of tuna to the day’s routine above, and had the pork belly for dinner again. I also had an avocado and 2 ounces of American cheese.

Cals: 1,506
Fat: 120 (70%)
Carbs: 30g (8%)
Protein: 86g (22%)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 – 251.8

Screw the weight loss – I was feeling a lot better already. My Tums usage had plunged and I didn’t hit the snooze button a dozen times before dragging myself from bed. My energy was returning. I was also beginning to feel some of that weirdness that comes from going into a ketogenic state. Headache, though mild. A slight dizzy feeling. All manageable – and familiar.

I got derailed by an afternoon hunger that just wouldn’t quit. I had my yogurt but then tucked into to way too many macadamia nuts, then a can of sardines kept for emergencies, then another yogurt. Lastly, I had 2 squares of the Lindt dark chocolate with butter between them like a sandwich. This was way better than I expected – the butter adding the creaminess the brittle but tasty hard chocolate was in short supply of. I’d have to remember that trick.

It didn’t stop there, though. Home was some fresh-made potato salad and steak. I could have left the potato salad alone, but that didn’t happen. Four large slices of pepper jack cheese an a few slices of low carb bread also helped to put me way over the top. It wasn’t worth counting – or I was too mortified to try.

Thursday, March 26, 2015 – 254.2

Despite the excess eats and the weight gain, I was feeling way better and sleeping better. A bad day here and there wasn’t the problem – it was too many of them in a row. I switched things up a bit and brought the pork belly concoction at work, though something that oily is almost like handling nuclear waste in an office – and I’m glad no one asked me what I was eating.

I was a bit hyper as well. Caffeine has a stronger effect on me when I go low carb and it showed. I apologized in a meeting and blamed the coffee for my over-exuberence.

I was hungry on the way home and had a number of fast-food fantasies as well as internal negotiation (‘If I get the double cheeseburger and throw away the bun…’) but I resisted.

At home I had almost a third of a head of lettuce with 3 ounces of cheese, then a bit later caved for some of the potato salad. I also had some of the leftover kilebasa and hard-boiled egg mixed with mayo on a slice of low carb bread.

Not a perfect day – but not a bad one, either. I was off to shaky start, but trending in the right direction at least.

I decided not to count just because whatever measurement I came up with would be wrong – and counting all the time, well, sucks.

Friday, March 27, 2015 – 252.4

Another uneventful day at work. Had a Greek yogurt and that’s it. I do drink maybe 4 cups of coffee, and a 16 oz glass of water with the MiO energy stuff squirted in – one with 2 tablespoons of psyllium husk, the other without.

Psyllium husks, typically used for constipation, were a staple of my first time on low carb. This is what Metamucil is made out of. Here’s the thing, however: it might have other benefits. I’ve read that it can act as a prebiotic, and while no one is really sure, it might – just might – have had a hand in my initial weight loss.

As this is a possibility, I’ve added it back in.

For dinner I bought hot Italian sausages and cooked them with 4 onions and olive oil until the onions were nicely carmelized and the sausages cooked. The entire family pounced on them and I ate their leftovers – the sausage and onions along with boiled potatoes.

I also had a few glasses of red wine and one large sugar cookie.

Saturday, March 28, 2015 – 250.4

A quick review of the past weeks shows what I’d call a pretty poor performance at doing low carb. Despite that, however, I’ve shaved off over 7 pounds. I’d argue that it’s water weight mostly, and nothing to crow about, but two things jump right out:

  1. I have certainly stopped the upward trend of weight gain – at least in the past 5 days
  2. I have lost what most people would consider a considerable amount of weight in a short amount of time

I also feel better in general.

But what have I done right, exactly? Right now I think it’s little more than:

  • Keeping clear of takeout food – burger, pizza, and sandwiches at lunch
  • A level of accountability about what I eat
  • A lower carb level

Even though I’m not keeping my overall calorie intake to what’s considered an ideal level for me – and my carb levels are too high for generating ketones, it’s apparently been enough to start a course change.

In a way I’ve failed, however: I expected to be in a full-out ketogenic state. Perhaps this is a better way to start, though: easing into it.

As far as the day went, weekends can always be a problem because being home makes me much more able to grab a snack when I like. It’s far too easy to eat as a cure for boredom and I don’t consider any attempt to navigate a diet to be successful until I’ve run the gauntlet of a weekend.

By my reckoning, I ate too much. After coffee and cream in the AM, as well as an extra-large Dunkin Donuts coffee with cream, I came home and had another serving of the pork belly and egg I had made earlier in the week. Not content – though I should have been – I followed that up with some kilebasa in mayo on a piece of low carb bread.

Late in the afternoon I had a few ounce of American cheese, as well as some egg salad on another slice of the LC bread. A bit later, cleaning up, I found a jar of Tapenade misplaced in the wrong cupboard. What is one to do with a misplaced item?

Eat some, of course.

I had it with some pork rinds.

It was some time after this that the family decided to go out for dinner. I hadn’t planned for this, but I was also easing in to the diet and we really needed some time together as a family because, as of late we’ve all been too busy in our own stuff to spend much time together.

I’d survive.

We decided to go to a new restaurant, Seasons52. I wrote a review for the place that you can find here if you’re interested. I had a bit of flatbread with lobster, mozzarella, and diced peppers, and for the main course had a cut of roast salmon on a cedar plank with a creamy mustard sauce and the root vegetables potatoes and carrots. I skipped dessert but did have a taste of my wife and daughter’s. It wasn’t part of my diet plan, but it wasn’t an outrageous cheat, either.

Sunday, March 29, 2015 – 252.0

A minor uptick in the weight is nothing to worry about – I drank a LOT of water the night before and whatever triggered this usually like to retain some of it for a while. What I continue to notice are the things that have nothing to do with the scale that are changing. I woke up rested at 6am. This sort of thing had stopped happening a while ago. It’s coming back. My upset stomach, the unquenchable fire in the belly each time I eat, has disappeared. The feeling in my throat where it felt like I couldn’t eat when I haven’t eaten for a while has also gone.

I haven’t gone hungry, shed a few pounds, and have more energy – changing bad habits can be difficult and are fraught with booby-traps that catch you unawares – see ‘ironic rebound‘ – but so far it’s been a gentle and positive easing into a better routine.

I didn’t eat much – not particularly hungry – but did have a bit much wine in the evening as a sort of ‘goodbye’ as wine drinking has never been compatible with weight loss with me.

The combo of which knocked me flat.

Monday, March 30, 2015 – 252.6

So even off to a crappy start I lost 5.2 pounds for the week.

Let’s see if week 2 gets any better as I’ve ‘acclimated’ myself (somewhat) to a new routine.

Seasons52 Restaurant Review

We decided to go to a new restaurant, Seasons52. It’s a new concept to me: a place where the menu proudly states that no entrée is more than 475 calories. There are no ‘endless bread sticks’ or huge portions dripping in butter. The portions are small compared to most chain restaurants, the food carefully prepared to bring out the natural flavors, and the ingredients seem high quality. It is minimalist, portion-controlled, and a much healthier choice than the majority of the restaurants in the area.

Maybe that’s why it was a 2-hour wait to get a table. The place was packed. While the ‘value proposition’ of the place goes against the grain of competing restaurants offering huge portions, perhaps there’s a niche for a place that serves artfully prepared but unpretentious food in adequate portions. It’s an European sensibility applied to food that I would call ‘American’.

The menu makes little attempt to define their food as derived from any ethnic cuisine. Some restaurants have entrees that seem as if they are representing the United Nations, with Italian entries next to Asian entrees next to Mexican entrees – all bearing little resemblance to the authentic cuisines they steal from. At Seasons52, the food is uniquely theirs. I give them credit: it’s a bold move to become the anti-Cheesecake Factory – and I’m sure that – with one not far down the road – many people – having tried this place, never come back because for the same price you get way more food at The Cheesecake Factory.

But for people who don’t need to equate the quality of the dining experience with the volume of food nor the number of ingredients, Seasons52 might be worth a try.

The first thing you notice is that there is no free bread at the table. Instead, they sell different varieties of flatbreads as appetizers, baked with a selection of toppings. We ordered a lobster and mozzarella flatbread and a long, thin bread, topped with not only lobster and mozzarella, but basil and diced peppers and squirted with a bit of lemon arrived on a long, flat board designed just for this dish. The long rectangle was cut into 8 triangular pieces and we each got two. They were delicious, with none of the flavors overpowering the others.

When we were done we wanted more – but isn’t that the long-forgotten point of an appetizer? Americans have become accustomed to going to a restaurant, filling up on bread, sharing a big appetizer, then forcing down what many times ends up being a mediocre entree.

The entrees were consistent in philosophy and execution as the appetizer. We each had ordered different ones: I had a cut of roast salmon on a cedar plank with a creamy mustard sauce and the root vegetables potatoes and carrots – not a lot in terms of portion-size, but all the ingredients clearly were high quality and did not need to be tarted up with sauces and unnecessary spices. I very much enjoyed my salmon dish and was satisfied without being stuffed.

My wife had the carmelized scallops which came on a bed of roasted crushed potatoes with some small amount of vegetable mixed in. I had a bite of the scallop and they did a wonderful job of adding just the right touch of sweetness without overpowering the taste or ruining the texture of the scallop – a delicate balancing act done successfully.

My older daughter had a pork chop with some sweet potato mash. Again the same sensibility. I did not try this, but both my daughter and wife remarked how tender and flavorful the meat was.

My youngest daughter had the pasta. Again – the same sensibility. Instead of piling on the cheap pasta and throwing shrimp in top then drowning it in sauce, the pasta complemented the shrimp in roughly equal proportions, with fresh spinach added and a light sauce that didn’t steal from any cuisine but came straight from the restaurant’s own esthetic.

My older daughter, who is long and lean as well as a lacrosse player, can tuck away quite a volume of food, yet at the end of the meal announced she was stuffed. I imagined that very few ‘doggie bags’ were carried out of this place. To me, a ‘more-is-better’ type of person (the reason I’m fat), they executed the ‘less-is-more’ approach to food flawlessly.

But we weren’t done yet.

Their execution of the ‘dessert menu’ is again sensible – and shrewd.

We were stuffed – remember? They do not ask you if you want to see a dessert menu – instead they bring over a tray of desserts – each in a small glass – dessert flights as they are called. Each is a tiny taste of decadence that won’t make anyone feel guilty about having dessert. The shrewd part is that: the dessert is *there*. They bring it to you without you asking for it, entice you with the actual dessert and not a picture, and if you want one they take it off the tray and give it to you. Immediate gratification after putting the damn thing right under your nose.

Our reservation was after 9pm it was late by then and the kids were fading fast, but were roused by the dessert. While I skipped it, the three of them took one. I had a taste of two of them. Again, well done, with flavors that complemented rather than competed. My wife got one with a tiny squeeze tube of amaretto so you could apply just a few drops to heighten the experience.

Seasons52 is food crafted with the precision of a Mars mission. It is novel approach for an American chain restaurant. When ‘healthy’ food is served at restaurants it usually flops – or is done as a sneaky psychological ruse. In fact, many chains put healthy items on the menu knowing full well that it lures customers in – who then order the high-calorie decadent stuff next to it. Others put faux healthy items on their menu – usually salads – then pack so many calories into the thing that your perceived sense of restraint was instead a sneaky con job by the restaurant.

Here the food is honest, minimalist, and fulfilling. It’s a fine dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere with beautiful woodwork throughout the space – yet it avoids pretension. As I stated before, this is the anti-Cheesecake Factory down to the decor – The Cheesecake Factory having the most overwrought, overstated, and garish decor and architecture that screams everything but good taste.

Seasons52 only has about 42 locations so far in the US, but if you have the opportunity to try it out – and don’t feel like you are somehow being cheated by not getting ‘endless breadsticks’ or huge portions, it’s worth a try.