Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Knowledge is Power: 6 < 25 (it's true!)

I'm not picking on Pax Natural Foods; it just happens to be one of the places conveniently located near my office.  The service is great, the food tastes/looks good and it's a modern/attractive eatery.  But like most restaurants, it can be dangerous and treacherous for the unprepared.  

Up to a couple of years ago, my favorite meal at Pax was the Chicken Fajita Wrap and a 16 oz Vanilla Parfait (as I also mentioned this in my breakfast post, the parfait clearly had become a day-long staple).  I chose those
 two items because they seemed like pretty healthy choices.  Consider the wrap:  no cheese, no evidence of mayo slathering, no bacon (sadly), etc.  The parfait looked mostly like yogurt with a little bit of granola and some fruit.  Looks can clearly be deceiving:  the wrap comes in at 16 POINTS (ouch!), and the Vanilla parfait has about 9 POINTS (hurt me!).  All-in-all, 25 POINTS for lunch.  Wait a minute.  Isn't that pretty much my allotment for the day?  Oooooops.  

In an effort to get my act vaguely together, I went to the Pax website, pasted their data into an Excel spreadsheet, and calculated the POINTS values for everything they sold (geeky, I do realize).  

In choosing my new Pax lunch, my objectives were 1) lots of
 food/bulk/volume and 2) minimal POINTS.  My winners:  the Southwestern Chicken Salad with fat-free raspberry vinaigrette and a LARGE fruit salad.  The salad has 3 POINTS, 1 for the dressing and 2 for the L A R G E fruit salad (it really is big).  That's only 6 POINTS for BIG and tasty food.  

Now Pax is my friend and not my enemy.  Most restaurants can be if I simply put the effort into navigating them.  


  1. I love that you made a spreadsheet to calculate the points. That is so funny. If I knew how to work the spreadsheets I would do that with every menu I could find. Too cool. :) Geeks unite!

  2. wtg Dave! *looks at that big gob of honey at the bottom of the parfait. It's not even necessary. What's a shame about sandwich places overall in Manhattan is that everything is premade and you can't tell them to leave an ingredient out of your wrap. It's good you found some alternatives there. I like Pax' build-a-burrito because you can control exactly what goes into it.