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Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP has counseled thousands of his patients on healthy, sustainable weight loss. Now he's compiled his best tips and recipes into a six-week plan for you to learn how to eat great food that just happens to be great for you.
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Back in 2010, when we last researched the menu at Chevys Fresh Mex, it was easier. They made their nutrition information available through a website called HealthyDiningFinder.com. I suppose that was a ploy to deflect bad news on their own website. It makes sense, I suppose: put some distance between yourself and terrible nutrition numbers.
The information was relatively easy to find, and because they participated in the scheme along with other restaurants, you could feel there was some reliability to it. Today that link is nowhere to be found, and it does not appear they participate any longer.
Sadly, now this means the nutrition facts are a sketchier proposition. We have requested information directly from Chevy's but have not yet received it: we have had to rely on third parties. One of those sources is the HealthyDiningFinder.com PDF (now ten years old) and a second PDF found on the ChevysMinnesota.com website (not sure how old it is). We have cross referenced those with information from Google's database, FatSecret, and Nutrition-Charts.com. (Note that we believe Nutrition-Charts.com is the easiest to use.)
As with most chain restaurants we report on, the news is not good.
Yes, there are a lot of calories. No, they do not offer the best quality calories. The most important issue at chain restaurants has become the amount of sodium in the dishes, and it is just as outrageous at Chevy's as it was at P.F. Chang's and Ruby Tuesday. Essentially, don't choose anything from the Appetizers and Quesadillas section. There is nothing with less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium, and the Fresh Mex Sampler comes in at 4,420 milligrams. The seemingly healthy titled "Farmers' Market 'Dilla" contains 3,200 milligrams of sodium: that's about 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt.
Stay away from the Soup and Salad section as well. Seems such a shame to think of a salad as being the unhealthy choice, but their Sizzling Fajita Salad with Shrimp is 1,260 calories and 2,160 milligrams of sodium. The same holds true for the Fajitas, Fresh Mex Combos, Tacos, Burritos, Flautas, Burgers, and Fresh Mex Innovations sections of the menu (the latter also has an ironically named Farmers' Market Enchiladas with just 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt).
If you have to go, you should stick to the A La Carte section and choose carefully. One or two of the Crispy Chicken Tacos at 200 calories and 350 milligrams of sodium could be an OK selection. Amazingly, the Crispy Beef Taco comes in at only 280 calories and has a comparably tiny amount of sodium at 200 milligrams (hoping that's not a typo).
The enchiladas are a decent size, and one would be pretty filling, so they are a reasonable choice and range around 250 calories and between 330 milligrams of sodium for the beef to 550 milligrams for the cheese.
I continue to be dismayed on so many levels. While the amounts of sodium in some of the dishes noted above are actually less than they were 10 years ago, the majority of menu items still contain far too much fat and salt. Note that it is almost impossible to get good information on the amount of fiber in these dishes.
This overview is being revised in 2020 during the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic. There are notices on the Chevys.com website about how much they care about your health and safety. Here's a screenshot of their efforts and they are to be applauded for taking so much care of you and your health and safety. When you consider that food related illness is a high risk factor (obesity and diabetes) and that their menu is a significant contributor, it does make one wonder when they will act as responsibly with their menu. Here's hoping they will treat their customers better in the coming years.
Better to stay home and make your own fajitas, enchiladas, and quesadillas. Here are some great recipes that you can knock out in under 30 minutes that will taste a LOT better than the overly salted Chevys menu items and are much better for you:
Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life! - but don't eat at chain restaurants!
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Reviewed: July 13, 2020