Tag: Dining Out

In Search of the Healthiest Dish on the Menu? Help Is on the Way.

by in Food News, August 25, 2014

chalkboard menu

You’re feeling hungry and hankering for some comfort food, so you slip into your local diner and scan the menu, looking for healthy options. You know they’re in there, hidden among the burgers and fries, shakes and floats, waffles and three-egg omelets loaded with cheese. A spinach salad? A fresh fruit plate? A low-cal veggie soup, not too heavy on the sodium? The trick is to find them.

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5 Restaurant Ruses to Watch Out For

by in Healthy Tips, January 13, 2014

cleaver

A recent survey found that Americans eat 4.8 meals a week at restaurants instead of at home — which means we all have several opportunities to get duped into eating too much and making poor choices. And many times, the restaurants themselves are conspiring against our diet and our health. Here are five tricks to try to avoid.

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The Healthiest Restaurant Mexican Food Options

by in Dining Out, June 11, 2013

steak taco
If you think a night out at a Mexican restaurant will sabotage your healthy eating plan, think again! With a little knowledge and planning, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Chipotle Mexican Grill
After playing around with their nutrition calculator, I found the most balanced option was a salad with lettuce, 1 serving of steak, black beans, green tomatilla salsa and fajita veggies.

Nutrition Info: Calories: 355; Total Fat: 8 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 40 grams; Carbohydrates: 34 grams; Sodium: 975 milligrams

If you’re in the mood for a taco, choose the soft corn tortilla and one protein (chicken, steak, barbacoa, or carnitas) and top with veggies (lettuce and fajita veggies) and your favorite salsa. This will give you a nutritious meal for around 400 calories.

Check out more healthy Chipotle options.

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Order This, Not That: Five Guys

by in Dining Out, March 7, 2013

5 Guys Burger
This chain has been popping up all everywhere — there are over 1,000 locations nationwide. Find out what you should order when you stop by this booming burger and fry joint.

ORDER: Simple and “Little”

It’s tough to navigate this predominately high-calorie and high-sodium menu if you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan but it is possible.

If you’re itching for the Five Guys famous burger, the Bunless Little Hamburger is your best bet with 220 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 50 milligrams of sodium. Ask for veggie toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, onions, jalapeno, lettuce and tomatoes for between 3 to 10 calories each per serving.

If you’re more of a hot dog fan, the Bunless Hot Dog weighs in at 285 calories, 26 grams of fat and 800 milligrams sodium. Again, add veggies to add bulk to your meal with minimal calories.

Looking for a meatless dish? The Veggie Sandwich has 440 calories, 15 grams fat, and 1040 mg sodium.

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Low-Calorie Fast-Food Menu Items

by in Dining Out, February 12, 2013

chicken sandwich
You’re stuck on the road, or didn’t have a chance to eat and end up in some fast-food joint that’s all too conveniently placed in your neighborhood. What should you choose? Your best line of defense is to be prepared. I checked out popular fast-food restaurants and found options that can fit any calorie requirements; whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a sensibly-sized meal, I’ve got you covered.

Meals
A reasonable lunch or dinner has about 400 or 500 calories, depending on your overall calorie needs.

500 Calories

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The Most Extreme Restaurant Meals in America

by in Dining Out, Food News, January 16, 2013

restaurant menu
The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) just released the “winners” of its annual Xtreme Eating Award, which tracks the calorie, saturated fat, sodium and sugar content of meals served at chain restaurants across the US. Amongst such expected “dis-honorees” as double-bacon cheeseburgers (that’s the 1,770-calorie Bacon Cheddar Double at Johnny Rocket’s) and heavy, sugar-laden chocolate cake (the Chocolate Zuccotto Cake at Maggiano’s Little Italy, which has over 1,800 calories) were some unexpectedly healthy-sounding foods. Who would have thought that a large Peanut Power Plus Grape smoothie from Smoothie King would weigh in at 1,460 calories – three-quarters of the generally recommended 2,000 daily calories? The smoothie also contains 22 teaspoons of added sugar  — enough for three and a half days! Could you have guessed that The Cheesecake Factory’s seemingly nutritious Bistro Shrimp Pasta – with its shrimp and fresh arugula, tomato, and mushrooms – would in fact have the highest calorie count (3,120 calories!) of any entrée on the menu?  The 89 grams of saturated fat in the pasta is four and a half times the recommended daily maximum of 20 grams.

With options like this out there, it would be easy to inadvertently sabotage your New Year’s resolutions by picking such virtuous-sounding dishes. Make sure you check the calorie count, as well at the fat, sodium, and added sugar content, of food that you consume while out; also, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on portion size. Or even better, make restaurant-style meals at home so you control the ingredients and thus the fat, calories and portion size.

Check out the full list of CSPI’s annual “winners.”

Build a Better Burger at Home and on the Road

by in Robin's Healthy Take, November 30, 2012

Burgers aren’t banned from Healthy Eats! In fact, healthy burgers dish up tons of high-quality protein. Just be savvy about what you choose.

  • Choose lean ground sirloin and add no fillers (good beef needs nothing extra).
  • Grill burgers on a stove-top grill pan or griddle and use cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  • Spike lean ground turkey and chicken burgers with fresh and dried herbs (fresh: parsley, basil, cilantro, dried, oregano, sage, thyme). Fresh herbs add not just flavor but moisture too.
  • Serve all burgers on whole grain buns, inside pita pockets or choose flatter, whole wheat sandwich thins.

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5 Scary High-Calorie Menu Items

by in Dining Out, October 29, 2012

restaurant menu
Like many of you, I check the nutrition facts on menus when I’m out to eat. Every so often I come across such high-calorie menu items that it makes me shake in my boots! Check out these 5 menu items with frighteningly high calorie counts plus see which restaurant wins our scariest calorie award.

#1: IHop: Country Fried Steak & Eggs with Sausage Gravy
Nutrition Info: 1650 calories; 45 grams total fat; 14 grams saturated fat

This breakfast combo includes 8 ounces of fried beef steak smothered in sausage gravy, two eggs, hash browns and two buttermilk pancakes. Order this and you’ll eat almost all your recommended daily calories before your day has begun. I love steak and eggs, but there’s a healthier way to serve them up.

#2: California Pizza Kitchen: Pesto Cream Penne with Chicken and Shrimp
Nutrition Info: 1620 calories; 105 grams total fat; 58 grams saturated fat

This dish has chicken, shrimp and pasta drenched in freshly made basil pesto cream sauce. Although the freshly made cream sauce sounds appetizing, drowning food in cream sauces racks up the calories and hides the flavor of all the other foods.

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Restaurant Dishes vs. Homemade Dishes

by in Dining Out, May 11, 2012
restaurant meal
Thinking of dining out? Consider staying in to save loads of calories.

Want to save money and eat healthier? We’re taking your favorite restaurant dishes and pitting them head-to-head with healthy make-at-home alternatives. Who do you think the winners are?

Dining Out:  P.F. Chang’s Beef with Broccoli
Although the nutrition facts lists this dish as 290 calories, 12 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat and 1,573 milligrams of sodium, each dish put in front of you contains three portions. It’s less likely you’ll keep portions in check when they’re all served in one big plate. If you down the entire dish, that’s 870 calories, 36 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat and a whopping 4,719 milligrams of sodium – more than double your daily recommended sodium intake.

Dining In: Ellie Krieger’s Emerald Stir-Fry With Beef
Ellie’s lightened-up dish made with lean beef, fresh broccoli, edamame and snow peas has 400 calories, 15 grams of fat, 2 grams saturated fat and 625 milligrams of sodium.

By making your own at home, you control the portions and the high salt ingredients. Here’s what you’ll save:

  • Calories: 54%
  • Fat: 58%
  • Saturated Fat: 78%
  • Sodium: 87%

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Order This, Not That: Panera Bread

by in Dining Out, March 29, 2012
panera bread sandwich
Panera's Breakfast Power With Ham on Whole Grain is one of the healthier options on their menu.

It seems like Panera Bread is a healthy restaurant choice — they serve mostly soups, salads and sandwiches. But with so many options available, it can get confusing. Let us help you navigate the menu, with an easy-to-understand list of what to order at this chain, and what to avoid.

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