Are halal cart ‘chicken over rice’ plates healthy and how many total calories without rice and white sauce?

October 15, 2019 - City

In terms of cheap eats, there’s nothing more common or more affordable than the one dollar slice in New York City. It’s no surprise because pizza is the unofficial food in the Big Apple.

However in a close second are the near-ubiquitous halal carts you’ll find on every corner of commercial, retail and business areas. These food carts usually helmed by Egyptian, Bangladeshi, and Afghan immigrants sell delicious chicken and rice plates for $5-6 in the city that never sleeps.

Calories in a Halal Cart Platter with Everything.

Not to take away from the iconic slice, but pound for pound (and we mean pounds), there’s nothing that can beat the value and flavor one gets from a chicken and rice platter. With the benefit of your stomach being packed comes with its share of regret — mostly the calories that a chicken and rice and the impact on your waistline.

Take a guess at how many calories are going to be in your standard halal chicken and rice platter?  A typical chicken with yellow rice with a healthy portion of red and white sauce will run you over the 1000 calorie mark. Of course with thousands of halal carts in the city, the calorie counts depend on how much rice, oil is added and sauce you have in that Styrofoam container. We think that the typical platter is actually in the range of 1200-1500 calories after all said and done.

Counting Calories in Halal Cart Chicken and No Rice

The good news is that a large portion of those calories comes from the rice and sauces (one packet of Halal Guys sauce is a whopping 330 calories!). So how many calories can one realistically expect from a platter with just chicken and some veggies? The answer to that according to various sources on the internet points to approximately somewhere between 500 – 600 calories.

Of those calories, more than half that comes in the form of fat, with 30g of it in the meal. That is quite a lot because the cut of the meat isn’t particularly lean and is sprayed with a lot of oil.

How to Eat a Healthy Halal Chicken and Rice 

We love a filling lunch that’s healthy, so a Chicken over Rice is an easy and convenient money saver when looking for a quick meal in NYC. From Halal Guys to Rafiqis to Bangladeshi Biryani Carts, there’s a growing culture of street meat options in the form of halal carts.

Now how does one order it without it ballooning to 1500+ calories? The best way to order a Chicken and Rice and keep it on the healthy side is to order it without rice, skip the pita, no sauce and ensure that when they cook your chicken on the grill in the back, that they don’t spray any additional oil onto it. If you’re concerned that the plate will be flavorless, don’t worry, much of the meat is already marinated so it’s already packing a punch of flavor.

Just remember that with chicken over rice, the chicken is much healthier than the rice itself and even without the sauce you are still going to get quite a tasty chicken meal and it will certainly give you enough for your lunch meal while taking in anywhere from 500-750 calories — which is not bad considering the recommended caloric intake of a typical adult is between 2000 (women)  and 2500 calories (men).

› tags: chicken and rice / healthy / white sauce /

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