Mention “chicken wings” and the first word that comes to most people’s mind is “Hooters.” That’s because this restaurant chain’s chicken wings are renowned throughout the world. With more than 430 locations in 46 states and 23 countries, Hooters has indeed come a long way from when it opened its first location in Clearwater, Florida almost 31 years ago.
Sandwiches, salads, and seafood are served by young and pretty Hooters Girls, another reason perhaps why the chain has increased in popularity. You can make healthy food choices and adjust the portions of your meals with a guide that gives nutritional information on calories, ingredients, etc. and a menu which lists several options such as fried pickles, chicken strips, and onion rings.
The USDA Standard Limit for Sodium
Admittedly, Hooters appetizers are relatively high in sodium and fat content. One serving of the famous Hooters Chicken Strips – with five pieces – has a total of 710 calories, with six grams of saturated fat out of 41 grams total fat and 2,020 milligrams of sodium. An order of six Buffalo Shrimp pieces has a whopping 555 calories with 17 grams of saturated fat from a total fat of 29 grams and 876 milligrams of sodium and a container of Hooters fried pickles is all of 300 calories with 20 grams of fat.
Dietary guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) peg the fat ceiling between 20% to 35% of overall calories, with sodium at less than 2,300 milligrams, and saturated fat to less 10% than the overall calories. Hooters is either not reading the USDA guideline or anticipating a decrease in customers in the future because of consumer renal failure, heart attacks, and other serious medical conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on the other hand, uses the ceiling of 2,000 calories a day for their reference in nutrition labeling.
Go for the Seafood
Although Hooters’ world renown Chicken Wings come in mild, medium, and hot intensity and in a number of flavors and sizes, they remain highly caloric and laden with fat and sodium. One serving consisting of five pieces of Chicken Wings registers at 866 calories with an alarming total fat of 63 grams of which 26 grams are saturated and 1,379 milligrams of sodium. The Hooters seafood menu could be the best option for you, albeit with a lot of compromises here and there.
One serving of Steamed Shrimp sans cocktail sauce or butter may be just 230 calories and have only a total fat of three grams of which 0.5 grams is saturated, but sodium is still at 1,500 milligrams. Snow Crabs without cocktail sauce or butter may also be low in calories at 300 as well as in total fat – only four grams of which 0.5 grams is saturated – but just hearing the 2,755 milligrams of sodium these crabs contain can rupture your kidneys pronto.
Consider Your Daily Total Fat Intake
Like the FDA, many health organizations have recommended that an individual’s total fat intake has a limit of between 20% and 35% of overall calories. If an individual’s daily intake is maxed out at 2,000 calories, his or her fat intake should only be in the range of 44 to 78 grams for the whole day.
Saturated fat, according to health experts, must be limited to a maximum 10% of the total calories consumed for the day, meaning an individual’s total saturated fat intake should only be 22 grams. Is that possible with three meals a day from Hooters?
Fewer Calories But Higher Sodium Content
Yes, the burgers and other sandwiches at Hooters are definitely all mouthwatering but are they healthy? Again, while some of the menu items have calories below 500, the issue is almost always the content of the sodium which is exceedingly high. Without the usual accompaniment of tartar sauce, for instance, the Grilled Big Fish Sandwich has only 435 calories with only five grams of total fat of which only 1.5 grams is saturated. But will you opt for the lower calories when this sandwich has 2,020 milligrams of sodium?
Individuals who suffer from hypertension, heart disease, and other conditions which would be aggravated by consumption of excessive sodium should check out the nutritional information found at the Hooters website to make informed food choices. Additionally, some menu items have a higher content of some nutrients like protein, carbohydrates or fiber, that may be inappropriate for people with certain medical issues such as Celiac disease, calcium deficiency or gout, among others.
Dos and Don’ts
Here are some of the better options on the Hooters menu which you may want to consider the next time you find yourself in one of their “delightfully tacky yet unrefined” locations:
Do: have the very tasty Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Although still not the healthiest choice available, it’s less “evil” in terms of calories, sodium, and fat than this next sandwich.
Don’t: even try the All the Way Hot Dog with 1,200 calories written all over it, and that doesn’t even include the melted cheese or extra mayo which you may be tempted to slather on much too much for your health.
Do: try the Philly Cheesesteak if you haven’t just yet. It’s grilled rather than fried and topped with onions, mushrooms, green peppers, and real – not “imitation” cheese called Provolone. Yes, it’s served, still, on white bread but think of the meat that has so much lower fat content than the one added to their half-pound burgers.
Don’t: risk gaining weight and adding it to your hips, arms, and thighs with the Double “D” Burger’s 1,400 calories. That’s actually half a pound of red meat that can cause serious damage to your otherwise healthy cardiovascular system every time you have it.