Healthy Fast Food? Putting iChoose600 to the Test at Burger King

by Sandra Foyt on May 23, 2011

in Food Adventures

iChoose600-burger-king-4Our first attempt to put iChoose600 to the test at a fast food restaurant didn’t work out too well.

Last week, we committed to test out New York State’s Department of Health’s campaign to fight obesity by promoting good choices at fast food restaurants. It’s a tough assignment, but we’re up for the challenge.

To give the program a fair shot, we started out at Burger King, a restaurant that we rarely frequent, and where we have no favorite menu items or preconceived notions of what a meal should look like. That’s also why I chose lunch time, as that is not typically a big meal for my family anyway.

We were in Clifton Park, in between errands and classes, when I loaded up the iChoose600 Calorie Counter on my iPad, and let my son select what he wanted for lunch.

Maybe it was because we were on the road, and cellular reception was less than optimum or perhaps it has been updated since last Friday, but we couldn’t find standard menu items like French Fries among the selections (Note that I do see them now when I view the Calorie Counter on my laptop at home.)

Instead of using the iChoose600 Calorie Counter, we ended requesting a copy of Burger King’s Nutritional Information. To their credit, they not only had this poster on the wall, they also had it available as a take-home brochure.

Now this was an eye-opening experience!

I thought we would order a variety of menu items, but found that keeping our meals under 600 calories meant that some items were just too caloric. Perhaps the most surprising discovery was the “Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich” which, at 470 calories, left too few calories to round out the meal.

iChoose600-burger-king-5In retrospect, I could have had that with a salad and unsweetened ice tea, but I was hoping to leave enough room for a 16 oz Icee, on sale for just $1.00, and only 110 calories.

With that in mind, my son and I chose the same items: Hamburger (260 calories,) Garden Salad (70 calories,) Ken’s Fat Free Ranch Dressing (60 calories,) and we split an order of Value size French Fries (110 calories each.) Drinks were a small Diet Coke for my son, and an unsweetened Ice Tea for me – 0 calories each. Our total Burger King Meal was 500 calories, leaving enough wiggle room to order the Icee.



Except that we were full after the meal, and didn’t want the Icee after all. And this was despite leaving behind some of the salad dressing and the croutons (which would have added another 60 calories to the Garden Salad!)


It turned out that it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought to fill up at a meal with 600 calories or less. With salad and non-caloric drinks to help round out the meal and to satisfy feelings of thirst that are sometimes confused for hunger, it was surprisingly easy.

The iChoose600 Calorie Counter failed us this time, but the plan worked quite well. 600 calories at a fast food restaurant was more than enough.

The iChoose 600 Challenge:

Take a Bite Out of Fast Food with iChoose600

Healthy Fast Food at Burger King

Can You Eat Less Than 600 Calories at Five Guys?

Fast Food Breakfast at McDonald’s

Wendy’s Salads Are a Great Way to Watch What You Eat

Disclosure – Albany Kid received compensation for an advertising campaign that included sponsored blog posts; opinions and content are entirely my own.

| Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email:, Twitter @SandraFoyt.

Linda Carmical May 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

A burger, fries, and a salad? It sounds and looks like that was a filling meal Sandra. It’s nice to know you can have a satisfying meal at a fast food restaurant and not over indulge in calories. Nice post and looking forward to the next one.

Albany Jane May 23, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Fun experiment – it’s good your guy is so good about playing along!

Michael May 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm

You might want to be aware that Mr. Subb tried to support “ichoose600”. We tried to contact them on a number of occassions to join their campaign and had our emails ignored and a comment on Facebook deleted. Today we received a call from their marketing bureau ordering us to “cease and desist” use of their name and images in our locations. They cited trademark infringement. It makes me wonder if they truly want to fight obesity. When I asked isn’t this a taxpayer funded program their representative said no it was funded by the federal government.

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