The beef patty at Randy’s Take-Out is famous among patty lovers in this city. For a beef-filled flaky pastry, the nutrition numbers aren’t so bad.
At least once a week, Elizabeth has a Jamaican beef patty for lunch.
“Well,” she reluctantly admits, “I usually have two.”
The Toronto resident wrote to the Dish to find out whether her favourite patty was helping or harming her waistline.
“I wanted to see its nutritional content because we eat it so often,” she explained, preferring to keep her last name anonymous. “It’s a Jamaican staple. We all grew up eating a patty for lunch every day.”
Like many of her friends, Elizabeth prefers the patties from Randy’s Take-Out above all others in the city.
Her opinion is shared by food critics, online foodie boards and the proprietor himself, who declares them “delicious” on the unfurnished, under-construction website. (It also states that Randy has been supplying “patties for the people since 1979”).
“It’s just right,” says Elizabeth of the patty. “The pastry isn’t too greasy, it’s flaky. The pastry of some other patties that I’ve tried, it just falls apart. This is firm, but not too firm. And the meat inside is quite substantial and flavourful.”
On a recent Monday at midday, Randy’s was doing a brisk business. Those in the lunchtime lineup patiently waited for patties hot from the oven. Few left with just one.
The nutritional analysis was a surprise to registered dietitian Carol Harrison.
“I was bracing myself for high fat and sodium numbers,” she says. “But when I saw them I thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty good for a fast food choice.’ ”
With 336 calories, 15 grams of fat and 432 milligrams of sodium, the beef patty is not on the same health plane as, say, a crisp green salad loaded with vegetables.
But Harrison says the patty does rate better than many other fast food choices. A walk-in slice of pepperoni pizza at Pizza Pizza, for example, has about 590 calories, 18 grams of fat and 1,630 milligrams of sodium. While Taco Bell’s beef burrito supreme has 420 calories, 17 grams of fat and 1,260 mg of sodium.
“This is a good example of how meat can be flavoured without going over the top in terms of sodium,” Harrison says. “Other restaurants should take note.”
If a Jamaican beef patty is your regular lunch choice, Harrison suggests eating just one — slowly, enjoying every bite — and pairing it with a piece of fruit and a carton of milk to up its health factor.
Eating two at a time, like Elizabeth often does, puts the calorie count close to 700 — about 200 more than the average person should aim for at lunch. And eating a pair would push the fat content close to the average woman’s 75 gram maximum daily allotment.
But no matter the numbers, Elizabeth is likely to continue to get her weekly patty fix.
“They’re delicious,” she sighs, “especially when just out of the oven, piping hot.”
VERDICT: Stick to eating a single patty at a sitting. Yes, we know, tough advice to follow for something so tasty.
Find out how other popular take-out meals stack up:
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