Biscuits and gravy is a popular breakfast dish, especially in the Southern United States. It consists of soft, fluffy biscuits covered in a creamy, peppery sausage gravy. While certainly delicious, biscuits and gravy is also quite calorie-dense. So just how many calories are in a typical order of biscuits and gravy? Let’s take a closer look.
Calories In Biscuits
Biscuits are the base of a biscuits and gravy order. They are essentially savory scones made with flour, baking powder, milk, and fat like butter or shortening. The number of biscuits served per order can vary depending on the restaurant. Most places will serve anywhere from 1-3 biscuits.
Here are some estimated calories for common biscuit sizes:
|Small – 2″ diameter
|Medium – 2.5″ diameter
|Large – 3″ diameter
As you can see, a single large homemade biscuit can contain around 245 calories. Restaurant biscuits may have even more calories depending on size and specific ingredients used.
So if a biscuits and gravy order comes with 2 biscuits, that’s roughly 400-500 calories just from the biscuits alone.
Calories In Sausage Gravy
The sausage gravy is where the bulk of the calories come from in a typical biscuits and gravy dish. Gravy is made from meat drippings, flour, milk, and often butter or other fats. It’s a very calorie-dense sauce.
The main factors that determine the calories in gravy are:
– Type of meat used – Pork sausage or chicken sausage can vary in fat and calorie content. Pork sausage generally contains more fat and calories than chicken.
– Amount of meat drippings – More drippings means more fat and calories in the finished gravy.
– Thickness of gravy – Thicker, creamier gravy requires more flour and butter or oil as a thickening agent. This adds additional calories.
– Portion size – The amount of gravy ladled over the biscuits will impact total calories. Most restaurants provide around 1/2 to 1 cup of gravy.
A typical 1/2 cup serving of homemade sausage gravy can provide around 300-500 calories. So a full cup on a restaurant order may contain 600-1000 calories just from the gravy alone!
Total Calories In Biscuits and Gravy
Now let’s put it all together to estimate the total calories in a restaurant order of biscuits and gravy:
|2 Medium Biscuits
|1 Cup Sausage Gravy
Based on standard serving sizes, a single order of biscuits and gravy can contain around 1100 calories.
This is over half the daily calorie needs for most adults!
Some key factors that may increase or decrease calories:
– Biscuit size – Larger or extra biscuits can add 200+ more calories
– Gravy amount – More gravy piles on more calories
– Meat type – Chicken sausage gravy may have 100+ fewer calories than pork
– Additions – Add-ons like cheese or eggs will increase the total
So in summary, a typical restaurant order of 2 biscuits and 1 cup gravy generally provides around 1000-1200 calories. Lighter versions with chicken sausage or less gravy may clock in around 700-800 calories.
Either way, it’s easy to see why this Southern comfort food classic is so high in calories!
Nutrition Facts For Biscuits and Gravy
Now let’s take a detailed look at the nutrition facts of a standard biscuits and gravy order, assuming 2 medium biscuits and 1 cup of pork sausage gravy:
|% Daily Value*
\* Based on a 2000 calorie diet
As you can see, a single order delivers more than half of the calories and saturated fat that most people should consume in an entire day. It also contains high amounts of sodium, cholesterol, and carbohydrates with minimal fiber.
Ways To Make Biscuits and Gravy Healthier
While certainly indulgent, there are some simple ways to lighten up this breakfast favorite:
– Use chicken sausage or turkey sausage in the gravy
– Go easy on the sausage drippings when making the gravy
– Use milk and flour instead of heavy cream for a thinner, lower cal gravy
– Stick to 1 biscuit instead of 2 or 3
– Ask for gravy on the side to control portion size
– Share the order with a friend!
– Substitute a whole wheat biscuit for white flour biscuits
– Top with veggies like sautéed mushrooms or onions
– Skip the butter on the biscuits
Making these simple tweaks can save you hundreds of calories while still letting you enjoy the classic flavors of this hearty breakfast.
Healthier Biscuits and Gravy Alternatives
If you want something lighter than a full plate of biscuits and gravy, consider these healthier alternatives:
– Yogurt parfait – Layers of yogurt, fresh fruit, and crunchy oats or granola
– Omelet – Filled with veggies and a small amount of cheese
– Whole grain cereal or oatmeal – Topped with fruit and nuts for crunch
– Avocado toast – A fiber-rich whole grain toast topped with smashed avocado
– Breakfast tacos or burritos – Filled with eggs, beans, salsa, and a small amount of cheese
– Protein smoothie – Blended yogurt and fruit with nut butter or protein powder
Each of these options deliver a nutritious dose of fiber, protein, and nutrients with far fewer calories than biscuits and gravy.
The Bottom Line
Biscuits and gravy may be delicious, but this Southern comfort food weighs in at over 1000 calories per hearty serving. A typical restaurant order of 2 biscuits and 1 cup of sausage gravy can have 1100 calories or more along with high amounts of saturated fat, sodium, carbs and cholesterol.
There are ways to tweak the dish, such as using chicken sausage or going light on the gravy, to make it a bit healthier. But in general, biscuits and gravy is one of the heavier breakfast items you’ll find. Going with a lighter alternative is your best bet if you’re trying to manage your weight or improve your nutrition.
But enjoying the occasional indulgent treat of biscuits and gravy is perfectly fine too, as long as it fits within your overall balanced diet. Just be mindful of portion sizes to keep the calorie count reasonable.