Taste of Chicago 2012: Eating Your Way Around the Taste Without Expanding Your Waist.

Taste of Chicago 2012: Eating Your Way Around the Taste Without Expanding Your Waist.

Chicago, Monday, July 9, 2012. With Taste of Chicago just two days away you may already be counting calories. Although food festivals can pack on extra pounds, if you're not careful, surprisingly it is possible to sample a variety of choices at Taste of Chicago without blowing your calorie count into the stratosphere.

Sure, you're thinking--maybe if I eat an apple or a slice of watermelon from Dominicks--when what you really want is a slice of Eli's cheese cake. However, if you plan ahead and make careful choices, you can still sample your favorites. First budget your calories, just as you do your money.

If you really want that piece of Eli's cheese cake, get one slice of plain cheese cake for 210 calories instead of Eli's Baked Vanilla Cheesecake that weighs in at over double the calorie count at 454 calories. If it's Lou Malnati's pizza that you're craving, stay away from the deep dish deluxe with a whooping almost 500 calories and 590 mgs. of sodium per slice and opt for a slice of the thin crust cheese pizza at a trim 220 calories and 357 mgs. of sodium.

Harold's Chicken can add calories fast but you can ease your cravings with two wings at 395 calories (watch the sodium at 715 mg.) or cut the calories in half with one wing--not enough to fly--but enough to get a taste with a slim 197 calories (357 mg of sodium). Billy Goat is offering a Taste of Chicago special of 1/2 cheeseburger with baked potato chips...calories TBD (to be determined).

Good news, bad news, if you were hoping to gobble up the Taste's iconic giant turkey leg at 1,136 calories--it won't be on the menu this year as Tim McGivern who first introduced his bbq barbecued leg to Taste back in 1981 and offered it in partnership with several different restaurants every year since then is sitting out this one...with no pinch hitters in the wings. So right there you have saved enough calories to enjoy a number of different Tastes.

In addition to the above selections, Humana has put together a menu of Humana's Healthier Choices that will be available at this years' Taste of Chicago...so bookmark this page and take it along to the Taste.

Appetizers/Starters – Less than 320 calories, 300 mg sodium and 2 g saturated fat
.

Beet and Endive Salad – Inspiration Kitchen (Pop-Up, July 12th only)
Celtic Corn on the Cob – O'Brien's Restaurant
Corn on the Cob – Dominick's Finer Foods
Roasted Corn on the Cob – Abbey Pub
Taste of Mustard-Fried Catfish – BJ's Market & Bakery
Taste of Chopped Salad – Pazzo’s
Taste of Malnati's Chopped Salad – Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
Taste of Watermelon Gazpacho – LM Restaurant (Pop-Up, July 13th only)
Watermelon Gazpacho – LM Restaurant (Pop-Up, July 13th only)

Main Dishes – 500 calories or less; 500 mg sodium or less; and less than 4 g saturated fat
.

All Natural "Ragin Cajun" Chicken Sausage – Bobak Sausage Company
Baked Crab Cake Nuggets –- Polo Café and Catering
Caramelized Citrus Onion Flatbread – Inspiration Kitchen (Pop-Up, July 12th only)
Chopped Salad – Pazzo’s
Grilled Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce – Star of Siam
Mustard-Fried Catfish – BJ's Market & Bakery
Sweet Potato Chips – BJ's Market & Bakery
Taste of Black Bean Burger Slider – Inspiration Kitchen (Pop-Up, July 12th only)
Taste of Marinated Grilled Chicken Taco – Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill

Snacks/Desserts – Less than 320 calories, 300 mg sodium and 2 g saturated fat
.

Cherries – Dominick's Finer Foods
Dark Chocolate-Dipped Banana – The Fudge Pot
Taste of Pineapple Bites – Dominick's Finer Foods
Red/Green Grapes – Dominick's Finer Foods
Red, White and Blue Italian Ice – Reggio's Pizza
Taste of Guava Sorbet – Caffe Gelato (Pop-Up, July 15th only)
Taste of Italian Ice – Reggio's Pizza
Taste of Limone Sorbet – Caffe Gelato (Pop-Up, July 15th only)
Taste of Watermelon 1/2 Slice – Dominick's Finer Foods

Taste Information and Food Tickets.

Taste Opens 11a.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 and continues through 9p.m. Sunday, July 15, 2012. Admission and events are free (with the exception of seats for headliners in Petrillo Music Shell), but you must buy tickets to purchase food. Tickets are sold in strips of 12 for $8 (or $7 previous to the event at all Dominicks locations). Large items are usually 9 or 10 tickets, side portions are 6 or 7 tickets and soft drinks go for 4 tickets each. Restaurants also offer smaller "Taste Portions" for less tickets and smaller tastes.  Grant Park (Jackson & Columbus): 11a.m. to 9p.m. each day.

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