Trying to eat healthy is so much harder when you are in a restaurant. I love to eat out so I would never suggest giving up a dinner with friends just because you are watching what you eat. My best advice is to get on the restaurant’s website and check out the menu and nutritional information before you go. That lets you choose a healthy meal so that when you get to the restaurant, you won’t even have to open the menu. These chains offer several low-calorie choices so they are always a great choice for a meal.
Applebee’s has locations in many cities across America and they have a low-calorie section on their menu. Many of the items clock in at under 600 calories, but don’t come in itty bitty portions. You’ll be satisfied without wrecking your diet goals. Choose from menu selections that include cedar grilled lemon chicken, Thai shrimp salad, savory cedar salmon and grilled onion sirloin.
This is one of my favorites because they have such good chips and salsa. You want to skip that if you’re trying to eat healthier, but there are loads of flavor-packed meals that won’t leave you with enough calories for the entire day. Many of them are so decadent that you won’t even feel like you’re dieting. Choose from pasilla chile chicken, ancho salmon or mango chile tilapia. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
3. Village Inn
You wouldn’t think that eating in a breakfast place like this could be a healthy choice. True, most of what’s on the menu is off limits if you’re watching your calorie intake, but there are delicious virtuous options too. Try a simple egg white omelet with veggies or a salad and cup of tortilla soup if you don’t want breakfast.
4. Red Lobster
Order off the Lighthouse menu and you can put together a really healthy meal that is also super tasty. Red Lobster is a place to go when you’re celebrating, but that doesn’t mean you have to sabotage your eating goals. With options like garlic grilled shrimp, rock lobster tail or peppercorn sirloin, you can enjoy a meal that you can feel great about eating. Just don’t ruin it by eating a bunch of cheddar biscuits.
5. Ruby Tuesday
The fresh garden salad bar at Ruby Tuesday is just one way to enjoy a healthy meal without taking in too many calories. Just use caution when it comes to things like cheese, bacon, ham and other high calorie add-ons. Not in the mood for salad? There are several other low-calorie menu offerings, including petite blackened tilapia, grilled zucchini, grilled salmon and the coastal trio. Just watch the sides because some of them are not low in calories.
6. Olive Garden
Who doesn’t love indulging in a great Italian dinner at Olive Garden? Their salad is enough for me to want to eat until I pop. You don’t have to make Italian night your cheat day because there are plenty of ways to stay healthy and still get to enjoy a favorite indulgence. The lighter fare menu at Olive Garden has such delights as shrimp scampi, tilapia piccata and garlic rosemary chicken. There’s something for everyone.
7. P.F. Chang’s
It can be hard to find ethnic food that isn’t swimming in sauce that ratchets up the calorie count. However, P.F. Chang’s is a great choice if you’re watching what you eat. You can pair your entrée with steamed brown rice instead of fried and you have lots of options when it comes to meats and veggies. Try the items on the small plates menu, which includes chicken satay, lettuce wraps and kale and quinoa dip.
Which of these places is your favorite?