Healthy Options when Eating Out

Often times it is hard for people to stay on the healthy eating band wagon when they go out to eat. Whether it be a fast food place filled with greasy fries or a fancy restaurant that lays out a spread of different breads for you to eat as an appetizer BEFORE you order an appetizer, eating out can be tough.
It IS possible, however, to enjoy a good meal at a restaurant and still eat healthy. The first thing you should do, is either skip the bread, or take one piece for each person and if there is any bread left, have the waitress/waiter take it back to the kitchen. Out of site, out of tummy.

The following is a list of some healthy alternatives you can order at some popular fast food and chain restaurants.

The Olive Garden. The Olive Garden scares a lot of ‘dieters’ because of the endless bread sticks with Alfredo dipping sauce and all that pasta. Carbs, Carbs, Carbs. However, I think that if you are on a “diet” you SHOULD be scared, period. Diets do not work. Eating healthy, exercising and having the occasional treat every few days is the way to go.

As far as the bread goes, either skip it or just have one piece and enjoy it with your salad. My favorite dish to get there is the minestrone soup. If your on Weight Watchers it is only 2pts. If your not on Weight Watchers, it is still a very healthy vegetable soup with tiny pasta that is very filling. It’s the best Minestrone soup I have ever had.

Now most Olive Gardens have the option of choosing whole wheat pasta over the regular white pasta. So now you can get some whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce, one bread stick and a side salad and have a nice meal. I suggest cutting your portion in half and taking it home though, as the portions are huge.

Also, the menu at The Olive Garden has some dishes that are marked “Garden Fare” which means they are lower in fat and a healthy alternative to some of the heavier, more cheesy and saucy dishes.

Applebees. Applebees even has a Weight Watchers selection menu that includes some yummy salads and some great chicken and fish dishes, as well as desserts. Again, even if you are not on WeightWatchers, these dishes are properly portioned and can be a healthy alternative to a big giant bacon cheeseburger.

Applebees has a great selection of salads that would be great if you got the dressing on the side. I suggest ordering one with grilled chicken. You could also always order something like the Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwich minus the cheese and bacon, and get a small side garden salad with low fat or fat free dressing.

Subway. Subway obviously has a lot of healthy alternatives you can get. If you are watching your carbs, you can get a Subway wrap, or a salad. They also have their line of six grams of fat or less subs including ham, turkey, oven roasted chicken breast, etc.

My favorite sub is the six inch oven roasted chicken breast on wheat bread with olives, a little sweet onion sauce, and tomato’s. You can also get sliced apples instead of the baked chips now if you wanted to.

When going to places like McDonald’s, or Burger King, pick their grilled chicken sandwiches and get them plain with a side garden salad and fat free or light dressing. I can’t speak for the actual Quality of the chicken at these places, but they are the better choices. Wendy’s is great place for lower fat options. They have baked potato’s, low fat chili, a salad bar, pre-made salads, grilled chicken sandwiches, etc.

TGIF has a low carb/low fat side of their menu which includes a Santa Fe Chicken Salad, Chicken and broccoli, Shrimp Key west, and an angel food dessert.

Pizza Hut offers a fit and delicious pizza, which is a very thin crust pizza with lower fat topics. I suggest getting a veggie fit and delicious pizza and having two or three slices with a side salad with low fat dressing.

You can find lower fat options at most restaurants and fast food places, you just have to look, and possibly be a bit picky and a bit of a pain by asking them to hold the mayo, cheese, etc.

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