Boston Market has about 530 company-owned restaurants, and touts their food as “fresh, delicious, home-style meals just like you would prepare and serve at home if you had the time–without the hassle of preparation and clean-up.”
When you do cook at home, I hope you don’t add as much salt.
However, what impressed me most about the Boston Market online nutrition information is that they publish the ingredients in their food! (Scroll down past the spreadsheets)
That’s the first time I’ve seen that from any chain, and I’ve got to say that — long lists of additives notwithstanding — it’s a huge level of transparency that I applaud.
They also list some meal combinations under 550 calories. That’s a good start, but all the “individual plates” (what you might get for dinner) have at least 1.030mg sodium, and two of the three lunch combos are 970mg or more.
Individual Plates – Better Choices
Roasted Turkey Breast (Regular 5-ounce portion)
180 cal, 1g sat fat, 3g total fat, 620mg sodium, no carbs, 38g protein
Beef Brisket (Regular 4-ounce portion)
230 cal, 3.5g sat fat, 13g total fat, 570mg sodium, no carbs, 1g sugars (?), 28g protein
Quarter White Rotisserie Chicken, No Skin
240 cal, 1g sat fat, 4g total fat, 890mg sodium, 1g carbs, 50g protein
Individual Plates – Worst Choices
Whoa. The Pot Pies have more than an entire day’s max of saturated fat…not to mention the calories and sodium.
Pastry Top Turkey Pot Pie
790 cal, 23g sat fat, 46g total fat, 1,220mg sodium, 60g carbs, 6g sugars, 4g fiber, 34g protein
Pastry Top Chicken Pot Pie
810 cal, 24g sat fat, 48g total fat, 1,280mg sodium, 60g carbs, 6g sugars, 4g fiber, 33g protein
Meatloaf (Regular 7.5-ounce portion)
480 cal, 13g sat fat, 2g trans fat, 30g total fat, 1,090mg sodium, 25g carbs, 3g sugars, 6g fiber, 28g protein
Any Combination of Thighs and Drumsticks
No matter how you combine these, they’re loaded with sodium and fat.
Turkey, Meatloaf, or BBQ Chicken Sliders
These are okay, I guess – they’re lower in sodium than most other options, but they’re also loaded with refined flour. The BBQ Chicken slider has about half the fat (6 grams) as the others, but it’s also the highest in sodium of the three (720 mg) and sugars (14 g).
Family Meals – Better Choice
These numbers are per serving, and are only for the meat and do not include cornbread or sides.
Roasted Turkey (5-ounce serving)
180 cal, 1g sat fat, 3g total fat, 635mg sodium, no carbs, 38g protein
Family Meals – Worst Choices
Meatloaf (7.7-ounce serving)
480 cal, 16g sat fat, 1.5g trans fat, 36g total fat, 1,030mg sodium, 21g carbs, 4g sugars, no fiber, 29g protein
Rotisserie Chicken (6-ounce serving)
310 cal, 4.5g sat fat, 15g total fat, 930mg sodium, no carbs, 44g protein
If you get this without the skin, it’s lower in fat and a little better overall — but still much higher in sodium than the Roasted Turkey.
Soups – Avoid
So… much…. sodium: Broccoli Cheddar (1,370mg), Chicken Noodle (1,420mg), and Chicken Tortilla (2,100mg with toppings, 1,690mg without).
If you must get soup, get the Chicken Noodle or Chicken Tortilla Without Toppings — at least they’re lower in fat & calories than the Broccoli Cheddar.
Sides – Better Choices
Fresh Steamed Vegetables
60 cal, no sat fat, 2g total fat, 40mg sodium, 8g carbs, 3g sugars, 3g fiber, 2g protein
Fresh Fruit Salad
60 cal, no fat, 20mg sodium, 15g carbs, 13g sugar, 1g fiber, 1g protein
170 cal, 1g sat fat, 4g total fat, 95mg sodium, 37g carbs, 10g sugars, 2g fiber, 6g protein
Garlic Dill New Potatoes
140 cal, 1g sat fat, 3g total fat, 120mg sodium, 24g carbs, 2g sugars, 3g fiber, 3g protein
60 cal, 1.5g sat fat, 3.5g total fat, 180mg sodium, 7g carbs, 1g sugars, 3g fibers, 2g protein
Sides – Worst Choices
Sweet Potato Casserole
460 cal, 4.5g sat fat, 16g total fat, 270mg sodium, 77g carbs, 39g sugars, 3g fiber, 4g protein
Macaroni and Cheese
300 cal, 7g sat fat, 11g total fat, 1,100mg sodium, 35g carbs, 6g sugars, 2g fiber, 11g protein
280 cal, 15g sat fat, 23g total fat, 580mg sodium, 12g carbs, 1g sugars, 4g fiber, 9g protein
210 cal, no sat fat, 3g total fat, 15mg sodium, 47g carbs, 42g sugars, 3g fiber, no protein
270 cal, 5g sat fat, 11g total fat, 820mg sodium, 36g carbs, 2g sugars, 4g fiber, 5g protein
Fresh Vegetable Stuffing
190 cal, 1g sat fat, 8g total fat, 580mg sodium, 25g carbs, 4g sugars, 2g fiber, 3g protein
Beef Gravy (3-ounces)
35 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 500mg sodium, 4g carbs, no sugars, no fiber, 1g protein
Think of this as pouring liquid salt on your already-salty meal.
Poultry Gravy (4-ounces)
50 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 2g total fat, 690mg sodium, 7g carbs, 2g sugars, no fiber, no protein
Think of this as pouring liquid salt on your already-salty meal.
Sandwiches – Better Choices
These numbers are for HALF Sandwiches. Even these Better Choices are still pretty high in sodium.
Half Roasted Turkey & Swiss Carver Sandwich
350 cal, 4g sat fat, 13g total fat, 850mg sodium, 32g carbs, 2g sugars, 2g fiber, 25g protein
Half Rotisserie Chicken Carver Sandwich
375 cal, 4g sat fat, 14.5g total fat, 980mg sodium, 32g carbs, 2g sugars, 1g fiber, 28g protein
Sandwiches – Worst Choices
Half Homestyle Meatloaf & Cheddar Sandwich
470 cal, 9g sat fat, 1g trans fat, 20g total fat, 1,215g sodium, 48g carbs, 6g sugars, 5g fiber, 23g protein
Half Turkey BLT Sandwich
515 cal, 6g sat fat, 0.5g trans fat, 29g total fat, 1,095mg sodium, 45g carbs, 10g sugars, 6g fiber, 24g protein
Half Rotisserie Chicken Pesto Sandwich
515 cal, 5g sat fat, 0.25g trans fat, 26g total fat, 1,145mg sodium, 45g carbs, 9g sugars, 6g fiber, 31g protein
Half All White Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwich
520 cal, 5g sat fat, 0.5g trans fat, 30g total fat, 890mg sodium, 44g carbs, 10g sugars, 6g fiber, 21g protein
Half Brisket & Swiss Dip Sandwich
420 cal, 6g sat fat, 23g total fat, 830mg sodium, 31g carbs, 2g sugars, 2g fiber, 23g protein
Salads – Better Choices
All four salads come with chicken and cornbread. These numbers are for HALF salads, including the chicken but not the cornbread. The Better Choices are lowest in sodium and calories.
A 2-ounce serving of Cornbread adds 180 cal, 1.5g sat fat, 5g total fat, 320mg sodium, 32g carbs, 12g sugars, no fiber, and 2g protein.
Half Asian Salad
290 cal, 2.5g sat fat, 16g total fat, 640mg sodium, 17g carbs, 8g sugars, 3g fiber, 20g protein
Half Mediterranean Salad
340 cal, 5g sat fat, 22g total fat, 690mg sodium, 14g carbs, 6g sugars, 1g fiber, 20g protein
Salads – Worst Choices
Half Caesar Salad
360 cal, 4.5g sat fat, 22g total fat, 960mg sodium, 21g carbs, 4g sugars, 2g fiber, 23g protein
Half Southwest Santa Fe Salad
350 cal, 4.5g sat fat, 21g total fat, 780mg sodium, 20g carbs, 5g sugars, 2g fiber, 20g protein
Menu Mondays are my recommendations for the most healthful options at chain restaurants. Although it may be tough to find “perfect” options when eating out, it’s important to choose “better” whenever possible, and I hope these guides will help make that easier for you.
indicates the “best-of-the-best,” and indicates the “worst-of-the-worst,” more or less.
Photo by Morton Fox.