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Feature: What to eat at _________: Boston Market/Swiss Chalet?

January 19, 2011

Apparently in the states you have Boston Markets.  In Canada we have Swiss Chalets.  They have remarkably similar menus, so I am going to tackle them both here in the same post.

The key to these restaurants I feel is the side orders.  They have remarkably healthy meat choices and you can customize the portion sizes.  Because of this though, people assume most everything is healthy at these restaurants, and nothing could be further from the truth.  You still need to do a fair amount of detective work to come up with a good meal.

I am going to start with Boston Market and then go on to Swiss Chalet

Boston Market.

The great news with Boston Market is that they have a section in the nutrition guide that has meals under 550 calories.  They all look pretty good too.  The key to every one of them though is the fresh steamed vegetables.  These are the ultimate side order.  You need to learn to eat your vegetables if you don’t and this is such a good combination.  I find if I cut them up and eat them with my meat, they actually supply a great variety of flavours to the meat.  Here are their suggestions:

Meal #1

(calories, Total Fat, Sat Fat, Trans Fat, Carbs, Protein, Cholest. sodium, Fiber, Sugar):

3-piece Dark Rotisserie Chicken
(thigh & 2 drumsticks, no skin)
290 11 3.5 0 0 45 240 1010 0 1
Garlic Dill New Potatoes 140 3 1 0 24 3 0 120 3 2
Fresh Steamed Vegetables 60 2 0 0 8 2 0 40 3 3
TOTAL 490 16 4.5 0 32 50 240 1170 6 6

Meal #2

Roasted Turkey Breast (5 oz.) 180 3 1 0 0 38 70 620 0 0
Mashed Potatoes (no gravy) 270 11 5 0 36 5 25 820 4 2
Fresh Steamed Vegetables 60 2 0 0 8 2 0 40 3 3
TOTAL 510 16 6 0 44 45 95 1480 7 5

Meal #3

1/4 White Rotisserie Chicken (no skin) 240 4 1 0 1 50 180 890 0 0
Garlic Dill New Potatoes 140 3 1 0 24 3 0 120 3 2
Fresh Steamed Vegetables 60 2 0 0 8 2 0 40 3 3
TOTAL 440 9 2 0 33 55 180 1050 6 5

Meal #4

1/4 White Rotisserie Chicken (no skin) 240 4 1 0 1 50 180 890 0 0
Fresh Steamed Vegetables 60 2 0 0 8 2 0 40 3 3
Cinnamon Apples 210 3 0 0 47 0 0 15 3 42
TOTAL 510 9 1 0 56 52 180 945 6 45

Meal #5

Beef Brisket (4 oz.) 230 13 4 0 0 28 95 570 0 1
Fresh Steamed Vegetables 60 2 0 0 8 2 0 40 3 3
Cornbread 200 6 2 0 34 3 10 300 1 13
TOTAL 490 21 6 0 42 33 105 910 4 17

Meal #6

Roasted Turkey Breast (5 oz.) 180 3 1 0 0 38 70 620 0 0
Fresh Vegetable Stuffing 190 8 1 0 25 3 0 580 2 4
Fresh Steamed Vegetables 60 2 0 0 8 2 0 40 3 3
TOTAL 430 13 2 0 33 43 70 1240 5 7

What you get from this list is that you can mix and match the main 4 meat choices:

  • 3 piece Dark Rotisserie Chicken, no skin;
  • 1/4 White Rotisserie Chicken, no skin;
  • 4 oz beef brisket;
  • 5 oz turkey breast.

Add to this Fresh Steamed Vegetables

and one of the following:

New Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes (no gravy), Corn bread, Fresh Vegetable Stuffing or Cinnamon Apples.

That is a great way to make a meal.  If you can split a side of gravy with someone at the table, I would do that because the odds of me eating potatoes without gravy are slim to none.  According to the website a side of gravy has 50 calories…  What I would really do though is order a side of Beef Au Jus.  It is for the Brisket and Swiss Dip and it is a very runny gravy and very tasty.

All of these are pretty damn good choices and should come close to filling you up (not actually filling you up, but making you not hungry 10 minutes later).

One of the options they are missing though is the Chicken Tortilla Soup without toppings.  Non-cream based soups are an awesome choice.  This one is great.  As well, the Chicken Noodle Soup isn’t quite as good, but still not bad at all and very filling:

  • Chicken Tortilla Soup without Toppings: 160 cals
  • Chicken Noodle Soup:  250 cals

As well, you can add the green beans to any meal if you need some more food.

I think the meal I would build would be:

  • Chicken Tortilla Soup w/o toppings 160
  • Beef Brisket 230
  • Steamed Vegetables 60
  • Total: 450 cals.

In general, avoid the sandwiches, even for lunch.  Bread is so deceiving.  Even if you only ate one sandwich, with no sides, you would be in the 940+ calorie range.  They do have half sandwiches, but I don’t think I could eat a half sandwich and not be hungry.  If you want a sandwich though, order a half of any of their choices and nothing else.

Same with the meal salads.  The full salad is in the 600 calories range.  The half salads are in the 350 range.  You can have a small side like Chicken Tortilla Soup w/o toppings with a 1/2 salad.  That said, you can get a half salad with a special request of Light Ranch Dressing.   This turns most salads into 120 calorie items and can be treated like a side.  This would be a good choice.

Online Nutrition Info

Swiss Chalet

The choices are quite similar here.  They don’t have the brisket nor the turkey, but they do have grilled chicken instead.

Following this same simple pattern for picking a meal, I would look for a soup or salad I could start with.  They have one soup at Swiss Chalet, the Chalet Chicken Soup (160 cals), or I could get a Garden Salad (30 cals) with Light Italian Dressing (35), Fat Free Respberry Vinaigrette (15), or Balsamic Vinaigrette (40).

Then I would pick a good meat choice.  In this case you have either of the quarter chickens without skin, either Breast (210 cals) or Leg (230 cals).  A great choice is the Grilled Chicken Breast (w/o rice and Flatbread) (130 cals).

This brings us to our vegetable side dish.  The Fresh Vegetables look perfect at 80 calories.

This meal would only come out to 470 calories at most so far (soup, leg and vegetables), but probably far less.  We may still have room for up to 220 calories depending on how much we are eating.  If you need dessert, you could have a Vanilla Ice Cream.  If you need the taste of a caesar salad, you could order the caesar dressing instead of the light.  Really, by choosing the starter salad, grilled chicken breast and vegetables (275 cals) you really have a lot of room to work with.  You can order a soup and salad.  You could get a bowl of ice cream after.  You could get another grilled chicken breast.  You could get full even.

Swiss Chalet also has a healthy selection on their nutrition page entitled, ‘Wholesome Choices’.

The Graden Fresh Quarter Chicken Breast Dinner is pretty much what I suggested above.

They also have a couple of meal salads with chicken that look great and might be easy lunch meals.  The key is to order them without dressings, flatbread, oriental noodles, tortillas, etc and then add back a lowfat dressing.

  • Sante Fe Grilled Chicken Salad (no flatbread)   300
  • Oriental Rotisserie Chicken Salad (no noodles) 300
  • Spinach Rotisserie Chicken Salad (no tortillas) 370

count on adding 2 or 3 packets of light italian dressing to bring the total calories up by about 100.

Finally, they have a Vegetable Stir Fry with Grilled Chicken Breast (no rice, no noodles) for 400 calories.  This would be another excellent choice.  You all know how much I recommend a stir fry without rice and noodles and here there is a restaurant with one.

Online Nutrition Info

Conclusion

These are restaurants that you can REALLY do well at.  It isn’t hard to find good things to eat and you can eat enough that you won’t be hungry later.  On a side note, the kids meals are a little tougher.  You can get a thigh and drumstick at Swiss Chalet.  It don’t know what sides are offered, but I am guessing they are french fries.  See if you can get veggies instead.  Boston Market has a Chicken Drumstick or Roasted Turkey option with one small side and cornbread.  Take the veggies and you are doing pretty good.

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