How many calories are in a chicken lettuce wrap from Pei Wei?

Pei Wei’s chicken lettuce wraps are a popular low-carb option for people looking for a lighter, healthier meal. But just how many calories are actually in one of these wraps? Let’s take a closer look.

The Chicken Lettuce Wrap Basics

A Pei Wei chicken lettuce wrap consists of stir-fried chicken, vegetables, and sauce wrapped in a large lettuce leaf. The standard veggies are carrots, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and green onions. The sauce is often a ginger soy sauce or spicy Thai chili sauce.

You can customize your wrap with different proteins like shrimp or tofu, additional veggies like bean sprouts or cabbage, and various sauce options. The lettuce wrap comes with a side of white or brown rice.

Calories in the Chicken

The main source of calories in the lettuce wrap comes from the chicken. Pei Wei uses white meat chicken breast that is lightly breaded and stir-fried.

A standard chicken breast contains about 230 calories. When breaded and cooked, the calories increase slightly. A 6 oz breaded, cooked chicken breast contains approximately:

  • 260 calories

The portion of chicken in Pei Wei’s wrap is approximately 6 oz. Therefore, the chicken contributes around 260 calories to the overall count.

Calories in the Vegetables

The vegetable medley in the wrap contains carrots, onions, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and sometimes other veggies. These are all very low calorie options.

Here are the approximate calories for the standard vegetables:

  • Carrots: 25 calories (for 1/2 cup sliced)
  • Onions: 15 calories (for 1/4 cup sliced)
  • Mushrooms: 15 calories (for 1/4 cup sliced)
  • Water chestnuts: 25 calories (for 1/4 cup sliced)

In total, the 1 cup vegetable medley adds about 80 calories to the wrap.

Calories in the Sauce

The sauce is where most of the remaining calories come from. Pei Wei has different sauce options:

  • Ginger soy sauce: About 60 calories per 2 tbsp
  • Thai chili sauce: About 40 calories per 2 tbsp
  • Spicy Korean sauce: About 45 calories per 2 tbsp

They are all fairly comparable, ranging from 40-60 calories for the sauce amount provided with a wrap. We’ll estimate approximately 50 calories for the sauce.

Putting It All Together

Based on the main ingredients, here is the approximate calorie total:

Ingredient Calories
Chicken (6 oz) 260
Vegetables (1 cup) 80
Sauce (2 tbsp) 50
Total Calories 390

So a chicken lettuce wrap from Pei Wei contains approximately 390 calories, based on the standard ingredients.

Ways to Reduce the Calories

If you’re looking for ways to lighten up the wrap, here are some options:

  • Skip the rice (about 200 calories for brown rice)
  • Use lettuce leaf as wrap instead of flour tortilla (saves about 150 calories)
  • Choose lighter sauce like ginger soy over spicy Thai chili
  • Load up on extra veggies instead of chicken
  • Ask for sauce on the side and use sparingly

Making these simple swaps can help reduce the total calories in your chicken lettuce wrap by 100-300 calories!

Nutritional Benefits

While not extremely low in calories, the Pei Wei chicken wrap does have some great nutritional benefits, including:

  • Lean protein – chicken provides satiating protein without too much saturated fat
  • Fiber – lettuce and veggies supply fiber for digestion and fullness
  • Vitamins & minerals – carrots, onions, mushrooms provide vitamins A, C, potassium
  • Heart healthy fats – small amounts of healthy fats from the chicken and nuts/seeds in sauce

So while it may not be a diet meal, Pei Wei’s chicken lettuce wrap can be a lighter and more nutritious option when eating out, especially when customized to reduce calories, increase vegetables, and avoid heavy add-ons like rice and tortillas.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Other Restaurants

Pei Wei isn’t the only place to enjoy lighter chicken lettuce wraps. Many Asian-inspired and fusion restaurants have similar menu items. Here’s how they compare calorie-wise:

Restaurant Calories
Pei Wei Chicken Lettuce Wraps 390
PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps 490
Panda Express Chicken Lettuce Wraps 170
Freshii Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps 284
California Pizza Kitchen Thai Lettuce Wraps 370

As you can see, calories can vary quite a bit depending on the restaurant. Panda Express comes in lowest at just 170 calories per serving, while PF Chang’s popular lettuce wraps are significantly higher at 490 calories. When comparing menu options, be sure to check the nutrition facts!

Healthy Homemade Lettuce Wraps

You can also easily make healthier lettuce wraps at home. Just buy ingredients like ground chicken, shrimp, or tofu along with fresh veggies and lettuce leaves. Look for reduced sodium soy sauce or peanut sauce and control the portions for a wrap under 300 calories.

Some fun recipes to try:

  • Turkey, apple and bacon lettuce wraps
  • Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps with Greek yogurt sauce
  • Southwestern veggie lettuce wraps with avocado
  • Spicy Thai shrimp lettuce wraps with mango

Making lettuce wraps at home can satisfy the same craving while allowing you to control the ingredients and calories.

The Bottom Line

A Pei Wei chicken lettuce wrap contains approximately 390 calories based on standard ingredients like a 6 oz grilled chicken breast, 1 cup mixed veggies, 2 tbsp ginger soy sauce, and a lettuce wrap instead of flour tortilla.

While not the lowest calorie option out there, it makes for a lighter choice than fried dishes or heavy entrees. You can further reduce the calories by skipping the rice, choosing lighter sauce, adding extra veggies, and using lettuce instead of a tortilla wrap.

So enjoy Pei Wei’s chicken lettuce wraps guilt-free, as they can be a wholesome and nutritious option when dining out if customized properly!

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