This or That Thursday: Jimmy John’s

To me, sandwiches seem like they should just be healthy. So when I go to a sandwich shop instead of a burger joint, I usually have on my high and mighty pants. Kind of like when I order a salad for dinner at a restaraunt instead of a bacon cheeseburger and fries. Or when I order the bacon cheeseburger but get the fresh fruit instead of fries.

But, it turns out that sandwiches apparently are not inherently healthy. When they are lathered in mayo, cheese, bacon, meatballs, salami, etc. they can actually be quite UNhealthy. Who knew?

My go to sandwich at Jimmy John’s is actually not that bad. It’s a Turkey Tom. As with all fast food it seems, the sodium content is outrageous but calorie wise it’s alright with only 515 calories as it comes on the menu. That’s still a little high when you are trying to stick to a lower calorie range.

My solution? No mayo. I know a lot of people would think this is too dry for a sandwich but I don’t mind it at all. The meat and veggies keep it from being too dry for me.

I was actually a little shocked the first time I visited the Jimmy John’s nutrition page and removed the mayo. The mayo is a HUGE calorie suck!! Removing it makes such a difference. This one little change takes away 37% of the calories and 96% of the fat!!!

Total Calories:            515            322            193
Total Fat (g):              22                1              21
Sodium (mg):         1,094            920            174
Carbs (g):              50              50               –  
Protein (g):              24              24               –  

By the way, they have a great nutrition page where you can totally customize your sandwich and get really fast, easy nutrition information for your changes.

If this is not for you, a good substitute might be to add the Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard. Where the mayo adds 193 calories, the mustard only adds 8!! Or, I keep light mayo packets around. I have them at home and I have them at work and they only add 35-40 calories.

Oh and PS, the Chocolate Chunk Cookie is amazing as it should be for 421 calories!! Eek!!


This or That Thursday: Chipotle

I remember the first time I visted Chipotle. My husband had been talking about it for a long time. There was one near where he worked so he went there pretty regularly with co-workers for lunch. Then Chipotle opened near home. He brought me there and it was love at first taste. I ordered a chicken burrito with rice, cheese, corn salsa and lettuce. Of course I couldn’t eat the whole thing the first time but I was hooked. That rice!! (Licking the drool from my lips. . .) I’m no foodie so I didn’t know what was in it but I could have eaten just that and been impressed. And the atmosphere was unlike any other fast food restaraunt I’d ever been to. It was clean, spacious, energtic and they played loud music. Plus, ours had a patio. It was just plain cool.

Before I knew it, it had become one of my favorite, go-to fast food restaraunts. And it wasn’t just me that was becoming infatuated with Chipotle. In fact, I think I was late to the party!! I even had an accounting teacher who preached about it! He told us the history with McDonalds, the philosophy, his favorite burrito. . . it was his favorite stock!

I started to learn more about the company and my love grew. People were starting to question their food and the idea of “food with integrity” really was on point with what people were talking about. Maybe I have that wrong and Chipotle made people start questioning??? Either way, it was happening and just going there made me feel better about eating fast food.

BUT, behind all that love were LOTS of calories. That burrito, the one I first ordered, was my staple. It’s all I ever ordered. Well, until I found the chips and I started to order them too!! That burrito came in at 795 calories and I don’t even get beans, sour cream or guac!!! I didn’t usually eat ALL of the burrito but I have eaten it all. That was typically followed by me curling up on my couch, in my fat girl sweat pants, waiting for my stomach to digest until it didn’t hurt so bad!!

My frequent trips needed to either stop or revamp. Of course I chose to revamp!! A friend told me about the Burrito Bowl. All the deliciousness without the shell!! I started getting a Burrito Bowl with chicken, rice, corn salsa, cheese and lots of lettuce. Then, I also started to cut the cheese order without cheese. No shell, no cheese. THIS makes going to Chipotle a little more friendly on the waist line!!

Total Calories: 795 410
Total Fat (g): 28.5 11
Sodium (mg): 1780 935
Carbs (g): 84 41
Protein (g): 52 38


Two simple little changes and all of a sudden my Chipotle runs aren’t looking so bad!! This is saving me 385 calories!! This is saving a whole meal’s worth of calories!! Yeah, yeah. The sodium is still outrageous but. . . it’s fast food so we gotta give a little on something right?

I did recently tell a friend on SparkPeople who is just getting a Chipotle in her town to try the burrito once. . . the shells are after all DE-licious!! But I also told her to switch to bowls after that.

And, two other things worth noting:
1) The chips pack a 507 calorie punch!!! Don’t forget that!!
2) The kids taco kit comes with 2 tacos, chips and a drink. Chelsea gets the soft shell tacos with chicken, rice and lettuce. Including the kids chips and diet coke this rings in at 470 calories. Not a terrible alternative for those of you that NEED that shell AND those chips!!

This or That Thursday

Sometimes I plan on going to a fast food joint specifically to get a fatty thing knowing full well that it’s not the best choice and that’s fine. . .  sometimes. But more often than not, if I end up getting fast food it is not something I sought out to do. It was because it was fast. Or because we’ve been out running errands all day. Or because the people I’m with want it. Or it’s the only place available. Or, or, or. . .

So, in October 2009 (shortly after I re-joined Spark People) I put together a fast food cheat sheet. The basic idea was that if I ended up at any of these places, I could look to my cheat sheet for two things. 

1) To figure out what I SHOULD NOT have. On the cheat sheet I included what I normally would get from each place and how many calories were in it. This was just a simple reminder. I could not ignore the fact that a Whopper Jr. with fries was going to be 850 calories (or worse, that an Original Chicken sandwich with fries is 1,100 calories) if it was looking me right in the face.

2) To help me remember what I SHOULD have. For all of the places I included, I came up with a better option. More times that I can remember I’ve gone places and thought I was ordering a healthy grilled chicken sandwich only to find out that it was worse than just getting a cheeseburger!! With the cheat sheet, I had a fall back in case I didn’t know what to get.

Now, if it is one of those times I have something in mind and it was planned out, I don’t consult the cheat sheet. And sometimes when it wasn’t planned I don’t either. . . these are the times when palm hits forehead. The other times though, the cheat sheet comes out and ta-da!! I’ve got a less damaging meal in front of me!!

The original cheat sheet itself, I made in Excel and formatted it to tri-fold so it would fit in the side pocket of my wallet. I included restaurants that are around me that I would typically end up at. Also, I only included calories because that was what I was counting on Spark. More recently I’ve started to pay attention to sodium. And my husband is a type 1 diabetic so carbs are on his radar.

You may be asking yourself, “So what exactly is This or That Thursday???”

While I was up the other night when one of our dog had an. . . accident. I couldn’t fall back asleep because I had an idea for This or That Thursday!! Bring the cheat sheet to life!! Now once a week on Thursdays, I will try to post a blog with something you can add to your own cheat sheet should you be so inclined!!! Let me know if you hate this and I will stop doing it. Until then. . . here it is!!!

We are a Domino’s family. Is there anything better than a Deep Dish Pepperoni pizza?? Not in my book! All that melty cheese that slides around when the delivery guy has driven too fast. That doughy delicious crust and crunchy sides of the yummy pepperoni!! Just thinking about it I can smell the butter and garlic!!

But THAT is not the best choice all that time. There are times when I do choose THAT, but usually it’s a big EN.OH.

Instead I usually end up with THIS: a slightly better for me version on thin crust!! I LOVE thin flaky crust! I may have even begun to prefer it if you can believe that!! (I’ll always have love for the deep dish though. . .) The crust is still garlicky. The cheese is still melting all over. The pepperoni still has those crunchy edges!! And more times than not, the thin crust kicks that pizza craving to the curb.

 Here’s the stats* for 1/8th of a medium pie directly from 





Total Calories:  




Total Fat (g):  




Sodium (mg):  




Carbs (g):  




Protein (g):  




If you’re anything like me, you aren’t stopping at 1/8th of a pie. You’re eating 2 or 3. . . or 4 times that much!! THIS means you’re saving anywhere between 190 and 380 calories at this meal!! THIS means that even if you eat HALF a pizza you’re only eating 660 calories. I know that’s still a LOT of calories but really. You’re eating delivery pizza. What do you expect?!?!?

Also, just so you know, and as a reminder to myself, if you’re thinking of order one of those Bread Bowl Pastas, think twice!! Chicken Alfredo Bread Bowl pasta comes in at a whopping 1,400 calories for the whole thing!!!

 *I think these are pretty typical stats people look at when trying to lose weight. If you’re interested in this and would like to see other stats, let me know and I’ll look into adding them.