Thursday, February 7, 2008

My love/hate relationship with Buffalo Wild Wings

Tonight I’m meeting up with some friends to go to Buffalo Wild Wings. (From here on out Buffalo Wild Wings = BWW because that’s too durned much to type.) Do you guys have BWW in your area? My gawd they have good wings. I credit some of my 2007 weight gain to BWW and their wings.

I used to go to BWW with my friends all the time. I’d order 12 wings with sauce, plus a little ranch dressing, a couple 24 oz. light beers, AND some sort of appetizer to share. Hey, at least they were light beers, right? Ugh. Based on what I found online, the 12 wings cost me about 35 points, the beer would be 8, I’m going to throw another 4 points for the ranch, and who knows how many points for the appetizer. That’s 47 points before the appetizer is even factored in! That is MORE THAN TWO DAYS WORTH OF POINTS FOR ME! In ONE MEAL!

Sorry to yell, but that’s just crazy.

When I got my eating back under control last fall, I stopped texting people saying “BWW 7 PM” … and our friends stopped going for a while. It seemed my husband and I were the big BWW pushers in the group. But then in December when a couple of months had passed without a BWW trip, my friends started talking about how much they missed going. At that point, I started trying to hunt down BWW nutrition and points information.

There is a little bit of information out there. You can find info if you really dig around, but in general the company does not openly provide nutritional information so it isn’t easy to come by, and I wonder if the information that I do find is spot-on. Anyway, from what I did find, it was clear that I’d have to seriously alter my menu choices. Since my friends started organizing BWW visits every few weeks or so, I had to figure something out. I’m not willing to kill my social life because I’m eating well. I work from home – if I don’t get out of the house, I go a little insane.

What stinks about BWW being the hangout, though, is that some of the healthy choices there are really not good.

They have naked wings – basically “grilled” unbreaded chicken breast strips. Theoretically that would be a good choice, and it is a good choice nutritionally, but they are like shoe leather. I asked a waitress about it (you know, the one who knows us because we used to go there so often?), and she said that they get made early and then they’re microwaved when folks order them. YUCK! They also have a grilled chicken sandwich that is a little easier to stomach because the texturally challenged chicken is masked by the bread and stuff, but there is SO MUCH bread. There are grilled chicken salads which are pre-made (so they’re not fabulously fresh), and they’re covered in cheese. And then there are buffalitos, which are basically chicken soft tacos.

I’ve found that the buffalitos are my best choice … it comes with chips – if I sub the chips with celery sticks and get all the sauces on the side so I can control how much I get, I estimate it to be 10-11 points. The texturally challenged grilled chicken is chopped into chunks so you don’t notice the texture as much. If I get a beer, I’m still eating more points than I usually eat in one sitting, but thank goodness we don’t do this every day or even every week, so it works out fine with a few flex points.

You know what’s funny? Now that I have been doing this eating well thing for a while, I don’t really miss the greasy regular wings. It doesn’t bother me to see folks eating them, and I enjoy being there with my friends. Plus, I get that yummy spicy sauce in my buffalitos. What does bother me is that there are so few good healthy choices there. I try to be grateful that there are some choices, but is it too much to ask that there be a variety of good tasting healthy options?

I didn’t have much of a point with this post. I just wanted to get all that off my chest.

By the way, I know switching restaurants would be an option. I did ask the group, and we did try. But because of the location and the fact that the place is run more like a bar than a restaurant (so folks who are getting off work at different times can show up at different times), BWW is the one that has worked out best for the group. Being with my friends is valuable to me and I enjoy the atmosphere, so I plan ahead, use some flex points, and it all works out. (But again, why so few good healthy choices in that place? Grrrrr!)

Oh, and also? BWW’s not providing nutritional information … it pisses me off. I’m not going to boycott them because I would be shooting myself in the foot socially. But it pisses me off.


Chanda (aka Bea) said...

Personally I think you did the exact right thing! You didn't deprive yourself of the social outlet you love, you found a way to work within the confines of what was your life before eating healthy. Perfect! It may not be tofu and lettuce, but you aren't completely undermining yourself either. Way to go!

jb said...

I really admire that you planned out your healthiest choices so that you could still enjoy a night out with friends. I'm not sure if I'm in that healthy a state of mind to risk going to one of my favourite unhealthy restaurants right now, but when I do, I will certainly look to you for inspiration.
p.s the naked guy WAS pretty fine, so no worries. Also, C25k week 1 is done for me as of this morning =)!! And now I'm craving some wings...darn.

Linda said...

It is all about planning. When we plan we "Plan to Succeed!"

47 points WOW! That is one large amount of points for one meal.
At the WWers meeting today the leader was talking about points and how a large bar of GORGEOUS, DELICOUS Chocolate can be 1.5 days worth of bar.

Hugs x

Lora said...

Wow, I'm catching up to you, Happy in the weight loss department, now about those wings! Every time I went out with my fiance', I'd have the Michelob Ultra and Boneless Buffalo Wings with Bleu Cheese Dressing. (It must be a MA thing about serving bleu cheese instead of ranch.) Once a week of course, but it would do a number on me for the rest of the weekend and into the week. I felt as though I had to start over. Good luck to finding new food choices! By the way, I'm in the second week of the No Alcohol Challenge over at Yeah, me!

Anonymous said...

I hate that so many restaurants don't provide nutritional info. It makes things so much more difficult.

You did GREAT. What a perfect way to plan ahead and find a way to still be able to enjoy time with friends. To me that's what it's all about - finding ways to still live and enjoy life, but to be healthy about it. Fantastic job!


Katy said...

We have a BWW - I get the shredded pork from there, I don't know how many points, I just try to save as many weekly as possible.

That Renee said...

It is so hard when restaurants don't provide nutritional info and increasingly hard when all the healthier options are subpar. Great job of staying on track!

I use those crazy high point items as a way to stay on track -- 47 points for a few measy wings....etc. It makes me really think - is it worth it?


Tina said...

You wrote out one of my pet peeves.. when restaurants make their NI near impossible to find. Cheesecake Factory and Ruth's Chris are both culprits of this.

I too think you did the best with what you had. The WW commercial was playing in my head as you wrote. The part where they talk about we as a society eat together but we diet alone.

I love that you went out with your friends, used your flexies and moved on. That's all you can do.

You rock girl!

Lora said...

I think you discovered something that we all need to remember - it's not the FOOD that makes the event - it's the people! Good for you.

Lynn said...

Yep, same complaint here. My husband's a big fan of Red Robin's and they are not just NOT providing the NI, they're HOSTILE about it.

Best I can figure, the burgers run about 24 - 40 points EACH, come with bottomless steak fries (pretty much 1 point = 2 fries) and that's not including the campfire sauce that I love (the only reason I go there, because I don't much care for burgers.)

Our WW leader did some research for Ruby Tuesdays and scared us all by how many points a VEGGIE BURGER was... argh!

I do a lot of low fat, low points cooking these days, and I'm really a good cook (I made lemon souffle last night for dessert and it was FANTASTIC) and I keep toying with the idea of seeing if I can't get some venture capital together and open a small healthy foods store.

Tammy said...

We have BWW nearby, but I never go there. Isn't it amazing how those little, innocuous looking wings can be so loaded with calories?! But congrats on making the best choices available. That is definitely a victory! My hubby and I have a date night once a week and we usually frequent places like Applebee's (who has a WW menu) or Bob Evans, where we get the spinach salad.

Anyway, keep up the great work!!

Kate said...

I totally love (loved) BWW, I used to go every friday night with one of my friends, and I would order 6 wings, a couple beers and plus their buffalo chips with cheese...yum! I can't even imagine how many points I was consuming. Surprised I didn't gain weight faster, lol. Now if I do go, which is rare, I get the naked tenders, with a side dipping sauce, and get a diet pop lol.

Ashley said...

136.7 today!? WOW! :)

Ashley said...


My knees are okay. They are stong, but they wear down in the last few minutes. When it gets too bad, I slow down or stop for a bit.

I love this plan, though. It's tough, but I feel great! Good luck tonight/tomorrow with week 2!

Grumpy Chair said...

I was going to mention "naked" wings.

I make a pizza using a flatout wrap. Add 4 oz.s of grilled chicken breasts and a little bit of Frank's hot sauce. Sort of a hotwings pizza.

ThickChick said...

I get angry too about the poor quality of healthy options. It isn't THAT difficult to make a tasty, reasonably healthy meal, and yet at so many restaurants I've felt ridiculous picking at a bland pile of lettuce while my dining partners are wolfing down lasagne going on and on about how good it is.

Anyway, good for you for having the right attitude about it!

Roni said...

We just got a BWW here. We tried it and of course it's awesome. It just the kind of place the "old" me would LOVE. Now I'm like, eh, its alright.

40 by 40 said...

Isn't it amazing how fast the darn points add up!!!?! Especially when eating out..It's great that you looked into the "healthier" choices there! Cheesecake Factory doesn't disclose either.. probably b/c it's sooooo high.Dining out always puts my points way up high... Listen, you can't be 100% ALL the once in a go to bww as a treat....maybe you'll just have the ww 0 point soup and some low point items that day...It's all about moderation. You are doing great!! I hope to join you in the 30's eventually..(might be a while..but one day..)Have a great weekend!!

Kathy said...

It may have been a rant, but there is very good information in there! You planned ahead, you made a reasonable choice, you stuck to it once you made the decision, and you enjoyed yourself...that is great and a fine example of how to do this right!

I think it is obvious why these restaurants don't want to list their NI's...they're just too scary and they would drive people away if they were aware of them. I also think that we a very friendly way...continually remind these establishments that we are serious about getting tasty healthier foods when we visit them and that we are a market that will stay true to them and spread the word to other bloggers...great free advertising for them!...when they do offer us those choices.

zandria said...

The amount of calories in certain restaurant meals are definitely insane!

I found your site through BlogHer. Welcome! :)

Laura said...

I totally feel you about BWW. I used to be a regular there before my days of counting points began. I do still go, but when I do, like you, I choose the buffalitos. They are pretty tasty. Here's to us and making healthier choices!

Anonymous said...

As a BWW employee. I will say this: the naked tenders are NOT microwaved, they are served right off the grill, and just give the blackened chicken salad with light italian dressing a try... But it does depend on what area of the country you are in as well. Some locations are corporate and some are franchised.

As for nutritional information being available, I wish they had it too! They possibly might due to the new law passing in California about chains that have so many locations HAVE to post their nutritional facts.

Anonymous said...

The buffalitos are not really healthy. Check out this website gives you some BWW nutrition information. You can calculate the points with the information they provide. You might want to rethink your choice. Hopes this helps!

Anonymous said...

BW Nutrional Content:

Jessie said...

I too am a bit obsessed with my Mango Habanero wings and a few beers!!! Hubbys going to pick the family up some now to have while watching the game - Having tried the naked tender for my kids - they are pretty gnarly. Looks like I'll be having the hubs pick up some sauce for me and try to concoct my own :(
BTW - If you can fill up on some healthy grub512 before going out and can limit yourself to only 6 - 519 cals - def not a filling meal but def a once every few weeks treat.

Anonymous said...

Go to bww site request nutritional info they will send u a pdf