Eating healthy and watching your calorie intake is important for overall wellness. When dining out at restaurants, it can be challenging to make informed choices about menu items. Understanding the calorie content of popular dishes like the Pick Up Stix House Special Chicken can help you stay on track with your nutrition goals.
What is in the Pick Up Stix House Special Chicken?
The Pick Up Stix House Special Chicken is one of the restaurant’s signature entrees. It consists of battered and fried chicken pieces tossed in a sweet and tangy orange sauce. The meal comes with steamed rice and fresh steamed broccoli on the side.
Specifically, the House Special Chicken meal contains:
- Battered and fried chicken breast, thigh, and wing pieces
- Sweet orange chicken sauce
- Steamed white rice
- Steamed broccoli florets
The portion sizes for each component will vary depending on whether you order a small, medium or large. The chicken is lightly battered and fried until golden brown before getting coated in the sticky orange sauce.
Calories in Pick Up Stix House Special Chicken
The calorie content of the Pick Up Stix House Special Chicken meal will depend on the size ordered. Here are the approximate calorie counts for each size:
- Small House Special Chicken – 560 calories
- Medium House Special Chicken – 810 calories
- Large House Special Chicken – 1,020 calories
These calorie counts are based on the standard recipe for this menu item. The actual calorie content may vary slightly depending on the specific ingredients and preparation method used at each restaurant location.
Calories in the Chicken
The chicken makes up the bulk of the calories in this dish. Battering and frying the chicken adds a significant amount of calories:
- Small chicken – 330 calories
- Medium chicken – 470 calories
- Large chicken – 590 calories
The chicken is breaded in a flour batter, which absorbs oil when fried. Frying adds a large amount of calories compared to other cooking methods like baking or grilling.
Calories in the Sauce
The sweet orange sauce also contributes a good portion of calories:
- Small sauce – 110 calories
- Medium sauce – 160 calories
- Large sauce – 210 calories
The sauce is made with orange juice concentrate, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and cornstarch. The sugar content from the orange juice concentrate is mostly responsible for the high calorie count of the sauce.
Calories in the Rice and Vegetables
Compared to the chicken and sauce, the rice and broccoli add fewer calories to the meal:
- Small – 120 calories
- Medium – 180 calories
- Large – 220 calories
- Small – 20 calories
- Medium – 30 calories
- Large – 40 calories
Plain steamed rice and broccoli are relatively low in calories, so they make up a smaller portion of the meal’s overall calorie content.
Nutritional Profile of House Special Chicken
Beyond just calories, the House Special Chicken delivers a mix of nutrients:
The majority of calories come from carbohydrates and fat. There is also a good amount of protein from the chicken. However, the meal is low in fiber, with most carbs coming from refined grains and sugar instead of whole food sources.
How Does House Special Chicken Fit Into Your Daily Calorie Needs?
To determine if the House Special Chicken fits into your daily calorie budget, you’ll need to consider your individual needs. The right calorie intake for you depends on factors like:
- Activity level
- Weight goals
The average sedentary adult needs around 2,000 calories per day. Very active adults may require 3,000 or more calories. Children, teens, seniors and pregnant or breastfeeding women have different calorie needs as well.
A small House Special Chicken meal represents around 25% of a 2,000 calorie diet. The medium provides 40% of calories, while the large has over 50%.
Whether or not this meal fits into your overall daily calorie goal depends on what else you eat that day. If most of your other meals and snacks are low-calorie, then the House Special Chicken can potentially work. However, it would be difficult to fit this higher calorie meal into a 1,200-1,500 calorie per day diet.
Tips for Fitting House Special Chicken in Your Diet
Here are some tips if you want to enjoy the House Special Chicken while still meeting your daily calorie goal:
- Order the small size. This provides the fewest calories.
- Enjoy it as your only major meal of the day, with lighter snacks for breakfast and lunch.
- Pair it with lower calorie sides like steamed veggies instead of rice.
- Split it and share with a friend or take half home for leftovers.
- Skip sugary drinks and dessert to save on additional calories.
Healthier Alternatives to House Special Chicken
If the House Special Chicken doesn’t align with your nutrition goals, Pick Up Stix has some lighter options you can consider instead:
- Grilled chicken – Skip the batter and frying to save on calories, fat, and carbs.
- Steamed vegetable bowl – Base your meal around low-cal veggies instead of rice.
- Salad with grilled chicken – Build a salad with lean protein and your choice of healthy fixings.
- Wonton soup – Choose a broth-based soup with wontons instead of fried chicken.
You can also create a lighter version of the House Special Chicken at home. Bake or pan fry the chicken instead of deep frying. Make your own fresh orange sauce with reduced sugar. Serve with cauliflower rice instead of white rice. This allows you to control the ingredients and nutrition.
The Bottom Line
The Pick Up Stix House Special Chicken provides 560-1,020 calories depending on size ordered. It’s high in refined carbs and fat from the batter-fried chicken and sugar-laden sauce. This popular menu item can fit into your daily calorie goals, but is best enjoyed in moderation alongside other wholesome meals and snacks. Opting for lighter preparation methods and sides can help reduce the calorie count.