El Pollo Loco
Jack in the Box
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Maggiano's Little Italy
Noodles & Company
Noodles and Company is one of those fast casual restaurants that you will find across the country, mostly in suburbs and many of them in small or medium sized strip shopping centers. They have a modern feel and their marketing materials claim that they use only fresh ingredients and a lot of veggies along with their noodles.
You can build a bowl of noodles almost any way you want, and they have specials at different restaurants. Recently, they have introduced spiralized zucchini noodles instead of rice or wheat noodles as an option, saving you some calories but also ramping up your vegetable options.
They have one of the better calorie and nutrition calculators that can help you build a dish that is just right.
Sadly, it will return very few choices if you select a reasonable meal of no more than 500 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, 600 milligrams of sodium and less than 20 grams of sugar. Much of this is because of the sodium content, which is quite high – often well over 1,000 milligrams in a serving. For example, they offer this information on their limited reasonable sodium offerings:
We know sodium is an important issue, and we're working to reduce it in dishes where it doesn't change the overall flavor. These small dishes have 460mg of sodium or less:
small Penne Rosa
small Pasta Cavatappi
small Caesar Salad
As with a lot of fast casual restaurants, they have a number of dishes with outrageous amounts of added salt. For example, the Buffalo Chicken Mac (not on our list) comes in at 1,980 milligrams of sodium – for the small version!
Below is a list of the meals that are on offer at most of their restaurants. Note that the first thing you should do is order a small version unless you are splitting the dish with someone else. This is not just because of the amount of calories, but also the added salt. All in all, for a fast casual restaurant there are actually some reasonable choices.
I have eaten in their restaurants in the past when I was traveling, and they have been consistently fresh and tasty. The key is to check the nutrition facts before ordering.
|NOODLES & PASTA||REG||SM||REG||SM||REG||SM||REG||SM|
|Penne Rosa with parmesan||720||360||25||13||820||440||5||3|
|Penne Rosa with feta||720||360||25||13||820||440||5|
|Pesto Cavatappi with parmesan||750||380||32||16||870||440||6||3|
|Pesto Cavatappi with feta||750||380||32||16||870||440||6||3|
|Thai Green Curry||770||390||23||11||1530||760||6||3|
|SOUPS & SALADS|
|Grilled Chicken Caesar||390||240||24||13||990||630||2||1|
|Chicken Veracruz Salad||630||360||49||26||1170||770||6||3|
|The Med Salad||280||140||13||6||1150||580||3||2|
|Side Wisconsin Mac & Cheese||270||12||550||1|
|Green Side Salad w/Balsamic||60||6||120||1|
|Green Side Salad w/Med||30||1.5||220||1|
|Green Side Salad w/Jalapeño Ranch||110||11||270||1|
|Tossed Green Side Salad w/Caesar||90||8||160||1|
|Side Caesar Salad||80||6||180||1|
|Side Thai Chicken Soup||120||7||550||0|
|Side Tomato Basil Bisque||140||9||480||1|
|Side Chicken Noodle Soup||110||3||770||0|
|Chicken Breast w/ Dipping Marinara||110||3||370||0|