Weight Loss Support - Another Eating Out Disaster




View Full Version : Another Eating Out Disaster


Renwomin
04-14-2010, 07:55 PM
Is it really that hard to make decent low calorie food?

My SO was trying to be nice and went by Long John Silvers to get us some food since it had some lower calorie grilled options. I told him to pick up the Salmon meal with no breadstick or rice and with double veggies with no butter/sauce. What I got was a platter of mushy veggies swimming in some sort of oily sauce topped with dryish salmon. They couldn't keep the sauce of the veggies because it was pre-packaged. The vegetable serving was relatively small and 50 calories (probably mostly from the sauce).

We really should have just cooked at home. We could have made nice flaky salmon with firm steamed vegetables. Yum. There are just very, very few places that I go to eat anymore that I enjoy or am satisfied with and I used to love eating out. Though my waist line showed it! This is just one area I'm really struggling with a lifelong alternative. :mad:


motivated chickie
04-14-2010, 08:17 PM
I hear you. I find restaurants irritating in that we pay so much for the lite option, which doesn't taste that good. Another thing I dislike about eating out is all the sitting. In the time it takes to eat out, I could cook a meal at home and get some exercise.

Petite Powerhouse
04-14-2010, 09:05 PM
There are more and more places offering good light fare, though. I am heartened by that. There is still a long way to go, but of the five or six places I last ate, only one could be said to have a lower-calorie healthy option that wasn't good. That said, though, these were not fast food places a la Taco Bell and Long John Silvers and the like, but more places like Friday's and Applebee's. Fast food is still lagging in that area.

I still prefer the food I make at home. But I don't find it too hard to find an enjoyable, healthy meal when I eat out. I'm grateful for this because I do enjoy going out with friends and spending an evening catching up.

I'm hoping that whole wheat pasta and brown rice will become more of an option than it currently is. Cheesecake Factory actually has a wonderful chicken meal that is quite good for you and about 500 calories, but they do use white rice. (They save money by purchasing only white rice for their menu items.) I was glad, however, to find that Noodles & Company allows you to order whole wheat pasta (and extra vegetables) with any pasta bowl now.

I do understand the frustration of an underwhelming healthy meal. I got the healthy option turkey dinner at Mimi's Cafe the other day and was frustrated that they didn't try to make it more taste tempting. It was just dry turkey with a little bit of cranberry sauce on the side and a giant serving of nutrition-less white rice.

In the future I will ask if the meal comes with white rice and substitute vegetables if need be. But that still doesn't change the fact that I would like to see every place putting more of an effort into their healthy menu options.


ars
04-14-2010, 09:17 PM
My favorite "fast food" place to eat from is Panera Bread. The food is fresh, tasty, and they have a great nutrition tool online to determine calories and more. The one I go to locally even has the calories posted right up on the menu, so I like steering friends there for unplanned/spur of the moment meals out.

MikoMarcia
04-14-2010, 09:23 PM
I have cut out fast food all together. (Well anything I can order at a window...Panera and Subway and the like don't count.) But I can usually find something I can eat and enjoy at any sit-down place. I like that Applebees has the lower cal menue, but GOSH the put so much salt on EVERYTHING- including the veggies!

duckyyellowfeet
04-14-2010, 09:30 PM
I have this issue all the time. I ordered a shrimp salad at a mexican food place the other day that sounded good. It was ok, but they didn't even have to cook anything! the shrimp were pre-cooked, then they threw on a couple tomato slices, 1/2 an avacado and some bagged lettuce. It tasted ok but at $8, i felt like I paid too much for something I could have tossed together in about three minutes.

Its just frustrating that healthy eating seems to be dumbed down menu items.

Petite Powerhouse
04-14-2010, 09:30 PM
I have cut out fast food all together. (Well anything I can order at a window...Panera and Subway and the like don't count.) But I can usually find something I can eat and enjoy at any sit-down place. I like that Applebees has the lower cal menue, but GOSH the put so much salt on EVERYTHING- including the veggies!

Too true. Sodium remains a huge problem even in healthier items when eating out. It isn't good for you and I also don't like the taste of it. I rarely salt my food when I cook, and then only lightly.

mkendrick
04-14-2010, 10:29 PM
I have found some very tasty low cal options at various restaurants. However, I usually don't feel 100% confident about it because I didn't prepare the food, and I don't know exactly what's in it. Not to mention, even though it may be low cal, there's always an outrageous amount of sodium.

One meal that has impressed me was the Southwest salad from McDonalds. Now don't get me wrong, it's not an A+ for healthy food by any means, but it's a decently safe option. With no crutons and half the dressing packet, it's about 400 cal. And it is tasty! I'm not even much of a salad eater, but I love this salad. But of course, way high in sodium.

Avezy44
04-14-2010, 10:37 PM
I hear ya! I was reading this eat this not that thing on yahoo health and it said they have a "fit 'n delicious" pizza at pizza hut.. so I was going to order it for my dinner and the girl didn't know what size a medium was or had heard of it.. it was soo annoying because according to the website it's like.. the only pizza on the menu where a slice is only 150 calories.. I think restraunts need to get with the growing weightloss trend..

mkendrick
04-14-2010, 10:47 PM
Agreed, Avezy, I looked up the fit 'n delicious pizza and our local Pizza Hut hadn't heard of it either!

It actually surprises me that more restaurants don't jump on the bandwagon. I guess some do, offering "healthy" salads and such, but there's a huuuge market for diet options at restaurants.

FreeSpirit
04-14-2010, 10:55 PM
I would pay good money to be able to sit down at a restaraunt with my family and be able to eat healthily and enjoy my food and be satisfied at the end (besides the fact that I'm vegan, that's a whole nother issue eating out!)

It's easy for restaraunts to not worry about the amount of oil/salt/sugar that they use in things because people will pay for it! But to actually have to watch the amount of oil, salt, etc, is alot of work and would slow down the cooks. I can sympathise with the restaraunts, but it's not an excuse.

CarbsAreEvil
04-15-2010, 12:55 AM
I'm doing low carb so it's slightly easier to find good food when eating out, but it's still a pain. I find myself cooking alot more.

mandalinn82
04-15-2010, 01:03 AM
I would pay a LOT of good money to any restaurant that provided me with a healthy, from-scratch meal. A LOT. But I just can't find it, so I cook myself almost every night. And almost invariably, what I make is so much healthier and more satisfying than what I get out.

Even now for special events, like anniversaries, I'll cook a meal at home - our most recent Valentine's Day featured a starter of Shrimp Cocktail, followed by a 4 ounce, perfectly seared filet mignon with a balsamic reduction, roasted asparagus with parsley, lemon, and garlic, and a small baked potato. A glass of wine and a scoop of our favorite ice cream for dessert, and it was heavenly...higher calorie than a normal day, sure, but way lower than it would have been out, and cheaper. And in my opinion, tastier too!

When we need to grab something fast, we found a salad bar that works pretty well...it's in a local grocery store, and it's easy to get some greens, veggies, chicken, drizzle with a little balsamic, and go.

SCraver
04-15-2010, 10:59 AM
OMG. I hear ya. We went out to Wood 'n' Tap one day for lunch at work. I knew it was coming up, so I asked the trainer at the gym what she thought would be a good option. (you can't find any nutritional info online for this resturant) She sugested the Turkey burger (no sauce, no cheese) and veggies instead of fries (I hate fries anyways, so I usually get veggies or a salad instead)

Now... Turkey burger tend to be a little bit drier than beef burger because of their lower fat content. WELL! Not this one. I think it was the juiciest/greasiest burger I have EVER eaten. (it was quite tasty!)

And the broccoli... I like butter as much as the next guy, but my 'steamed' broccoli was DROWNING in butter. It was really kinda gross.

Anywho - my point is, I feel your pain. It is hard to eat out and be healthy. Sometimes I just try to really focus on having a very small portion of what I want.

Petite Powerhouse
04-15-2010, 12:29 PM
I have found some very tasty low cal options at
One meal that has impressed me was the Southwest salad from McDonalds. Now don't get me wrong, it's not an A+ for healthy food by any means, but it's a decently safe option. With no crutons and half the dressing packet, it's about 400 cal. And it is tasty! I'm not even much of a salad eater, but I love this salad. But of course, way high in sodium.

I like this one, too! It's the only thing I buy at McDonald's.

Renwomin
04-16-2010, 11:43 AM
OMG. I hear ya. We went out to Wood 'n' Tap one day for lunch at work. I knew it was coming up, so I asked the trainer at the gym what she thought would be a good option. (you can't find any nutritional info online for this resturant) She sugested the Turkey burger (no sauce, no cheese) and veggies instead of fries (I hate fries anyways, so I usually get veggies or a salad instead)

Now... Turkey burger tend to be a little bit drier than beef burger because of their lower fat content. WELL! Not this one. I think it was the juiciest/greasiest burger I have EVER eaten. (it was quite tasty!)

And the broccoli... I like butter as much as the next guy, but my 'steamed' broccoli was DROWNING in butter. It was really kinda gross.



I had something similar happen to me at Ruby Tuesday's! I ordered a Buffalo Burger since buffalo is supposed to be leaner meat than beef. I ordered it without mayo, bacon, and cheese. When I got the burger it was swimming in grease. I swear they dipped it butter before serving it! I sent back the butter toasted bun and got fresh vegetables from the salad bar for my burger since the others were coated with fat goo.

Thanks for the suggestions mkendrick, ars, and petite. I've never thought about McDonald's salads being good. I'll have to check out the Southwest one! I do really like Panera, but I must admit that some of the things I've gotten there in the past are not so good for me. I'll just have to study their nutrition info more carefully and steer clear of the pastries! We have a Noodles & Company here as well and the food is good. (Unfortunately we don't have a Cheesecake Factory around here, but that is a good thing for me. I love cheesecake.)

I think I should start focusing what I CAN have instead of what I can't. I've just really like trying out new restaurants and different menu items at restaurants. When I got out to eat I want the food to be something special that is generally better or more interesting than what I would make at home. That used to mean eating high calorie food that I wouldn't make at home or buy to bring home (High fat, deep fried, high sugar). Now I would just love to have a place to go that does inventive things with lower calories foods to inspire me. I want to go to a restaurant and have the feeling of being pampered by nutritious, low calorie, tasty, guilt-free food.

I worked in the restaurant industry for over 10 years. I really see the need in the industry for a place that serves delicious, nutrious foods as the MAJORITY of their menu. I really wish I had the money to start up a great restaurant in my area that could branch off into chains.

spirit2010
04-16-2010, 01:25 PM
I hear you all.

I'm at the point where if I don't get what I order, I send it back. Period. If I order plain veggies and get them soaked in butter/oil, I'll have the waitress send it back to the kitchen.

I'm at the point where my health and preferences take priority over any lazy chef or waitress. And I am convinced that sometimes they just don't hear or don't care, since my specifications are very clear and simple (and emphatic). I'm paying money for the meal and tipping. This is one area in my life where I gotta come first (working on the others!!!)....

Avezy44
04-20-2010, 11:54 PM
I agree with you guys on that. I get sooo annoyed when I go to a sit down restraunt and instead of looking for what would be the most satisfying I look for the least damaging meal on the menu... ugh.

danitzastars
05-02-2010, 09:01 PM
i had to cut fastfood all together because thats what got me sooo fat in the first place.i ate it about 2 to 3 times a day.once i saw the scale at 282 i wanted to die i had gained over 100 pounds in 3 years.now since i had my breaking point i want to learn how to cook healthy and inexpensive since im unemployed any one have any easy cheap quick recipes for me?

RunnerChemist
05-03-2010, 09:54 AM
I second this entire post, and like mandalinn, I am always happier with what I cook. With the exception of a couple of places, no matter what I order I think I could have done it better, cheaper and probably faster at home. Even when I want to "splurge", the calories are so over the top that a little splurge erodes a week of work.

Around here, I do well at Panera, Noodles and Co and Busboys and Poets, which is a local place downtown.

Current challenge: indian food that doesn't break the caloric bank but still tastes good.

renwomin - I would faithfully frequent such a restaurant. I was thinking something similar just the other day. I'd just love a calorie count on the menu.

Glory87
05-03-2010, 11:09 AM
For indian food, I usually order chana masala (chickpeas) or baingan bharta (curried eggplant) and a whole wheat roti (no butter). I skip the rice. Dal is also a good choice (like a lentil stew). If the restaurant has a tandoor oven, tandoori meats can be okay, depends on how much yogurt they use to marinate, you can always ask!

I would avoid anything that mentions korma (usually made with cream), makhani (butter), pakoras (fried), samosas (fried) or paneer (cheese)! I also avoid the naan, because I love it so, I have a hard time stopping at a reasonable bit.

Asherdoodles87
05-03-2010, 11:52 AM
I would much rather cook at home as well. However, my University requires students to have at least a $250 meal plan if they are taking full time classes. So I ate a chargrilled chicken sandwich from chick-fil-a sometimes. It was healthy and very tasty. The sandwich would fill me up. I think it's 430 calories and 37 carbs. It's probably one of the better healthy fast food options I have tasted.

EDIT: actually it's 300 calories and 38 carbs. Sodium is a little high, but protein is 29 so that's a good source. That's a healthy option for those around a chick-fil-a if you are in a hurry. ;)

koceank29
05-03-2010, 12:02 PM
I don't even waste my $ anymore on going out. I like to know where my food comes from and whats in it and I never know what has occured in the process of getting my food to my table when I'm at a restaurant or fast food place. I haven't eaten fast food since Aug. 2009 and have only eaten at a handful of restaurants while at the beach. This works for me and I have felt much better since doing it, and saved $$.

Ash1ey
05-06-2010, 12:00 PM
Fast food is so hard. I usually try to stick with Subway. Another go-to for me is a fast food Mexican Chipotle-like place. Their veggie tacos are about 130 calories each (that's with cheese; I usually order without). Not too bad, and they are SO good.

nelie
05-06-2010, 12:22 PM
I never liked fast food so never had a problem with avoiding it or trying to choose 'healthier' options there.

I do go out to eat once a week, sometimes more but rarely.

Chipotle is my absolute favorite diet friendly place to go. I can choose what exactly to put in my bowl and it is just fun. Of course I could do the same at home but it is more of a 'hey let's do lunch out during the work week' type of thing.

We also go out to eat to a restaurant during the weekend, usually when we are out running errands. I know this ahead of time and plan it. We often go to a Chinese place and I have a couple rules:
1) No fried stuff
2) Order steamed options over not. We don't always order a steamed dish but sometimes we do.
3) Eat light the rest of the day.
4) Even though we order 3 dishes, no seconds. Place food on my plate and eat.

jendiet
05-06-2010, 06:56 PM
well, fast food put weight on me in a hurry--I remember why i avoid it now.

I did eat at IHOP today. I had a spinach and mushroom omelete. It was huge. but delicious and the spinach was very green! which is how i like it.

i hate it that restaurants make you pay the SAME for food if you ask for less. Remove the bun, and add an extra lettuce and tomato--and they charge you extra for the lettuce and tomato!

Karen925
05-06-2010, 09:59 PM
I did eat at IHOP today. I had a spinach and mushroom omelete. It was huge. but delicious and the spinach was very green! which is how i like it.


I hate to be known is the IHOP basher but according to 1 site, that omelet was 1620 calories with NaCl of 2860 gm this is from an app on my iTouch. Another site says 1210 hungry girl site (http://www.hungry-girl.com/news/newsdetails.php?isid=1425) or a third Daily Plate (http://www.thedailyplate.com/nutrition-calories/food/ihop/spinach-and-mushroom-omelette-no-pancakes) of 679. I think the higher counts are probably more accurate considering that pancake batter that is used.