Eating healthy and monitoring calorie intake is important for overall health and wellness. When dining out or ordering takeout, it can be challenging to track calories accurately. Boston Market’s menu offers a variety of entrees and side dishes, including their popular creamed spinach side. So how many calories are actually in Boston Market’s large creamed spinach?
Boston Market Creamed Spinach Nutrition Facts
According to Boston Market’s online nutrition information, here are the nutrition facts for their large creamed spinach side dish:
So a large order of Boston Market’s creamed spinach contains 260 calories.
Creamed Spinach Ingredients
To understand where those calories come from, let’s take a look at the ingredients that go into Boston Market’s creamed spinach:
- Heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Monterey Jack cheese
- Spices and seasonings
The main sources of calories in creamed spinach come from the heavy cream, butter, and cheeses used to make the dish rich and creamy. The spinach itself is very low calorie, but gets most of its calories from being cooked in the high-fat cream sauce.
High Fat and Calorie Ingredients
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the highest fat and calorie ingredients in Boston Market’s creamed spinach:
Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream is high in saturated fat and contains about 50 calories per tablespoon.
Butter gets over 80% of its calories from fat. Each tablespoon of butter contains about 100 calories.
Cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, and mozzarella are high in calories, with 70-110 calories per ounce on average. The high saturated fat content contributes significantly to the calorie count.
Portion Size Matters
When looking at the calorie content of any dish, portion size is an important factor. Boston Market’s creamed spinach side order is available in small, medium, large, and extra large portions. Naturally, the more creamed spinach you consume, the more calories you will be eating.
Here is a breakdown of the approximate calorie counts for different portion sizes of Boston Market’s creamed spinach, based on the nutrition information provided:
|Portion Size||Approximate Calories|
|Extra Large||390 calories|
As you can see, the extra large creamed spinach has nearly triple the calories of the small size. When ordering out and tracking your calorie intake, pay close attention to portion sizes.
Tips for Lightening Up Creamed Spinach
If you want to enjoy creamed spinach but are looking for ways to lighten it up, here are some tips to reduce the calories and fat:
- Use reduced-fat milk or half-and-half instead of heavy cream
- Replace some of the butter with olive oil or vegetable oil
- Use reduced-fat cheeses like mozzarella or Swiss
- Flavor with garlic, onions, shallots, lemon, or spices instead of extra cheese
- Add some protein from diced chicken, beans, or nut pieces
- Use whole-grain flour or cornstarch as a thickener instead of extra butter and cream
- Fold in some chopped tomatoes, wilted spinach or kale for extra volume
Healthier Creamed Spinach Options
If you want a lighter creamed spinach, here are some healthier restaurant or homemade options:
Panera Bread’s creamed spinach side has 140 calories in a full serving. It’s made with fresh spinach, onions, garlic, and reduced-fat cream cheese.
California Pizza Kitchen
CPK’s creamed spinach contains 110 calories per serving. It’s made with spinach, garlic, low-fat milk, and just a touch of cream and Parmesan cheese.
Homemade Light Creamed Spinach
Make your own healthy creamed spinach at home with just a few simple ingredients: fresh spinach, garlic, onions, reduced-fat milk, whole-wheat flour, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese for flavor. Simmer until the desired consistency is reached.
Ways to Enjoy Creamed Spinach
While creamed spinach is high in calories and fat, it can still be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle. Here are some tasty ways to work it into your meals:
- Pair it with a lean protein like grilled chicken or fish
- Use it as a bed for seared scallops or shrimp
- Fill an omelet or frittata with creamed spinach
- Layer it into a veggie lasagna
- Top a baked potato with creamed spinach
- Stuff it into chicken breast or pork tenderloin
- Add some to a soup or stew
Creamed Spinach Calories in Context
While Boston Market’s creamed spinach is high in calories and saturated fat, a small portion can be worked into your diet along with other nutritious choices. For example, a lunch meal with a grilled chicken breast, side salad, and small creamed spinach comes in around 500 calories. Not too bad!
However, the creamed spinach really packs in additional calories and fat compared to steamed vegetables or a simple green salad as a side. For the spinach itself, a one cup serving of raw spinach has only about 7 calories. So creamed spinach ends up having nearly 40 times more calories than plain spinach!
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, Boston Market’s large creamed spinach side order contains approximately 260 calories. This dish gets a majority of its high calorie and fat content from the cream, butter, and cheese used to make the spinach creamy and rich.
If you’re looking to lighten it up, try lower-calorie substitutions and keep portions moderate. Or, find alternative ways to add spinach to your diet through simple steamed, raw, or salad preparations. Overall, be mindful of calories and fat content when ordering restaurant creamed spinach, and balance it out with other healthier meal options.