When ordering a big plate of wings at Hooters, nutrition details might be the last thing on your mind. Actually, if you're a guy at Hooters, wings might be the last thing on your mind. Even though Hooters and nutrition don't exactly go hand-in-hand, knowing nutrition details about what you're ordering can prevent overindulging.
Self-proclaimed to be "delightfully tacky, yet unrefined," Hooters restaurants have never endeavored to be upscale. The beach-themed restaurant with its scantily clad female waitstaff debuted in Florida in 1983. While the short shorts are certainly a draw (68 percent of Hooters' customers are male), the food stands on its own. Spicy chicken wings are the favorite at Hooters' 450-plus locations, but healthier options are available on its "soon to be relatively famous" menu.
Hooters wings come tossed in your choice of sauce and also are available "naked style," which eliminates the added calories in the breading. You can find Hooters' famous buffalo chicken on a sandwich or in a chicken strip appetizer. Burgers are a favorite, but toppings such as bacon, chili and onion tanglers really can make the calories skyrocket. Seafood is another delicious option at Hooters; choose from crab legs, shrimp, oysters and clams.
No matter how you look at it, the wings aren't a healthful option. Just five breaded wings pack 866 calories and 63 grams of fat--and dunking your wings in blue cheese will add another 140 calories and 15 grams of fat. Although they taste great with wings, you might want to steer away from the curly fries; at 631 calories and 37 grams of fat, they're not exactly friendly to your waistline. But don't despair! You can get your Hooters fix and still not throw your diet down the drain.
When it comes to eating a little more healthfully at Hooters, it's not only what you order but how you order it. Hooters cooperates with the Healthy Dining program. If ordered specially, certain menu items meet the nutrition criteria outlined by Healthy Dining's registered dietitians. For example, the smothered grilled chicken sandwich appears on the menu, but you can request a grilled chicken sandwich with only lettuce and tomato toppers and no butter on the bread.
When ordering, avoid high-calorie/high-fat extras such as blue cheese dressing for your wings or hot butter for your crab legs. Also, it's a good idea to skip the curly fries and opt for a lighter side dish; baked beans contain 115 calories and 1 gram of fat, and a side salad has only 60 calories and 1 gram of fat (without dressing). If you're craving a burger, go ahead and indulge, but ask that the high-calorie toppings be replaced with just lettuce, tomato and mustard.