Counting calories in Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, and other cuisines

How many calories do you get when you eat out? Researchers analyzed main dishes at independent and small-chain restaurants in Boston to find out. The average entrée (with sides) had roughly 1,300 calories, says Susan Roberts, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “And that’s with no drink, appetizer, or dessert.”

How many calories are in palak paneer? How many calories are in pho? Here's how many calories (on average) the researchers measured in those and other common restaurant dishes, cuisine by cuisine.


greek salad

Greek Salad (with pita): 960 calories

More Greek dishes

  • Gyro: 990 calories
  • Moussaka (with pita, rice or potatoes, & side salad): 1,440 calories
  • Lamb Kabob (with pita, rice or potatoes, & side salad): 1,260 calories
  • Pastitsio (with pita, rice or potatoes, & side salad): 1,470 calories


chicken tikka masala

Chicken Tikka Masala (with rice & naan bread): 1,430 calories

More Indian dishes

  • Lamb Vindaloo (with rice & naan bread): 1,170 calories
  • Palak Paneer (with rice & naan bread): 1,410 calories
  • Butter Chicken (with rice & naan bread): 1,470 calories


bowl of beef pho

Beef Pho: 940 calories

More Vietnamese dishes

  • Chicken Chao:530 calories
  • Lemongrass Chicken: 1,270 calories
  • Pork Vermicelli: 900 calories
  • Chicken Lo Mein: 960 calories


chicken fajitas platter

Chicken Fajitas: 1,320 calories

More Mexican dishes

  • Beef Tacos: 870 calories
  • Quesadilla: 1,070 calories
  • Bean Burrito: 1,190 calories
  • Nachos: 2,170 calories


drunken noodles

Drunken Noodles with Chicken: 1,120 calories

More Thai dishes

  • Vegetable Red Curry (with rice): 870 calories
  • Chicken Pad Thai: 1,480 calories
  • Chicken Kaprao (with rice): 1,050 calories
  • Beef Macadamia (with rice): 1,300 calories


vegetable tempura

Vegetable Tempura: 1,180 calories

More Japanese dishes

  • Beef Yaki Udon: 790 calories
  • Chicken Teriyaki: 1,150 calories


General Tso's Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken (with rice): 1,960 calories

More Chinese dishes

  • Beef and Broccoli (with rice): 830 calories
  • Kung Pao Chicken (with rice): 1,150 calories
  • Pork Fried Rice: 1,670 calories
  • Peking Duck (½ order): 1,750 calories



Lasagna (with bread): 1,530 calories

More Italian dishes

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs (with bread): 1,450 calories
  • Veal Marsala (with bread & a side of pasta): 1,570 calories
  • Eggplant Parmesan (with bread & a side of pasta): 1,950 calories
  • Fettuccine Alfredo (with bread): 2,270 calories

Photos: and (where noted) CSPI. Greek Salad: © Jacek Chabraszewski (salad), © starkovphoto (pita), Tikka Masala: © Alexander Yakovlev, Pho: © ArenaCreative, Fajitas: © andersphoto (tortillas), © Joshua Resnick (fajitas), CSPI (sides), Drunken Noodles: Jorge Bach/CSPI, Tempura: © Andrey Starostin (tempura), © weseetheworld (rice), General Tso’s Chicken: © Brent Hofacker (chicken), © weseetheworld (rice), Lasagna: Jorge Bach/CSPI.