April 21, 2008

Bottomless lunch means a big middle

Until last week, I'd had never heard of unlimited food at fast food restaurants. Sure, some local Chinese places have those awful buffets stewing under broiler lamps, but I didn't know Chili's and Red Robin entice obesity right there on the menus.

Yesterday, I saw Chili's advertising a bottomless lunch. I wasn't sure what a bottomless lunch was so I went to its website. (And bottomless lunch is trademarked, like they have to legally protect it from other restaurants.)

There it was: unlimited chips and salsa, a Caesar or House salad and one of three soups: Chicken Enchilada, Baked Potato, or Broccoli Cheese. (Why limit your choice of soup? If want patrons to risk a heart attack, let them try all three at one sitting.)

Even without being unlimited, that meal is not the RightSize. It has too many calories for your midday meal.

Let's see, just one basket of the fat fried chips and salsa is 480 calories. A Caesar salad is not healthy at all at 510 calories. And all the soups are more than 320 calories: Chicken Enchilada (440), Baked Potato (420), or Broccoli Cheese (320).

So for those without a calculator at lunch, the total -- before the unlimited -- is at least 1,250 calories. More than 60% of your daily recommended calories for lunch, and again, this is before the unlimited part. A little extra salad and soup, and you have all your calories for the day.

Soup, salad, chips. Sounds reasonable. It isn't. It's not Right.

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