Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Olive Garden Help?




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phantastica
10-18-2005, 07:10 PM
This Friday, I have plans to meet some friends at Olive Garden. Does anybody have a suggestion on what some of their healthier choices might be?

I'm not an Atkins girl (hence not anti-carb), but I hear horror stories about the all-you-can-eat breadsticks. I typically follow a "Mediterranean diet", with more seafood than red meat, lots of vegetables, and fewer refined carbs.

I figure it would be good to pre-plan my food choice rather than open the door for another runaway meal. Thanks in advance ...


happydaisy
10-18-2005, 07:33 PM
Their garden fare is supposed to be low fat and some items have calorie counts posted. They are all still pretty high. If I was you I would get a salad with lite dressing and half the meal and save the other half for lunch the following day. Have fun! ;)

funniegrrl
10-18-2005, 08:07 PM
The have low-fat items marked on the menu, and you can get low-fat salad dressing rather than the dressing the salad bowl comes with automatically. Also, you can go to www.calorieking.com and look up the nutritional info for a lot of their dishes. Remember that one of the best ways to control intake at a restaurant is portion control -- Olive Garden is one of those places where an entree is easily 2 or 3 (or more!) times more food than a person should eat at a single meal.


Ilene
10-18-2005, 08:09 PM
Plan ahead and visualize refusing the bread sticks, practice what you will say even... Good luck and let us know how it goes...

GreenT
10-18-2005, 10:29 PM
I agree with funniegrrl - go to calorieking.com, click on "browse fast foods", and select Olive Garden from the "choose a brand" drop-down menu. And definitely fill up on salad.

hefty1
10-19-2005, 10:48 PM
try finding the olive gsrden web site glen

WaterRat
10-20-2005, 01:57 PM
They have a pasta with an awesome fresh tomato sauce that's reasonable calorie-wise. My advice is to get a to-go box immediately and put 1/2 in it and enjoy the rest, along with a salad with lf dressing and no breadsticks. :)

phantastica
10-21-2005, 04:09 PM
Thanks so much for the tips!

I've opted to go with a low-fat (though high-calorie) entree of shrimp primavera. It has 700+ calories, but I am going to follow the advice of Pat and order a to-go box when I get the meal. Olive Garden also offers a whole-wheat pasta substitution, so I am going to opt for that. I think I am going to choose their minestrone soup (164 calories) instead of salad ... it's soup weather here in Minnesota. I can't skip on the breadsticks, I just can't. But I can limit them to two or three. And I'll probably have a glass of wine. It won't be a low-calorie meal, but it's better than my usual non-planned meals at restaurants!

Ilene
10-21-2005, 04:22 PM
Great go on the planning and good luck. Please let us know how it goes, good or bad...

phantastica
10-22-2005, 12:15 PM
Well, we went last night and here's what I had:

4 breadsticks :rolleyes:
1 bowl of minestrone soup
of the shrimp primavera entree
1 glass of wine
2 glasses of water

I forgot about ordering it with whole-wheat pasta. I drank only one glass of wine with the meal, and I had 1-2 extra breadsticks because we sat there for quite a while.

For breakfast, I had peanut butter toast and lunch was a side salad and about 15 peanuts in the shell, so I think the calorie balance was OK on the extra breadsticks. I should probably plunk it into fitday.com just to see. I did notice a binge-like tendency when I was there, because I'd had such a small lunch and breakfast.

Thanks, everybody, for the advice!

Ilene
10-22-2005, 12:42 PM
phantastica - I think you did pretty good considering everything... For ME eating very little before an occasion is the worse thing I can do, because like you say it leads to bingeing when you get to the occasion. I now will have a protein shake or even a salad with some protein. The protein keeps me full till the meal actually arrives, it also keeps me away from the dang breads!

phantastica
10-24-2005, 11:44 AM
I definitely can see the strategy in eating something a little before-hand! I did feel myself go into "binge mode". It's one thing to go in with an appetite, quite another to go in starving!

hefty1
10-24-2005, 11:54 AM
that is a good idea especialy when people are goib to buffet so your stomach don't get bigger than your eyes. :lol: glen

Heather
10-25-2005, 12:47 AM
phantastica -- I have the same problems you do and have found that planning is really important, as well as eating something satisfying beforehand. I think you did great, and maybe next time, 1 or 2 less breadsticks... as long as you're feeling in control, that's the important part!

One other thing I am trying to think about -- to reprogram myself actually -- is that going out with friends can be about the people, and not just the food. It sounds odd to say it, but I do overly focus on the food.

Sporadic_Moods
11-03-2005, 06:11 PM
I know your trip to the OG has already passed, but I have a good idea for the next time anyone goes.. usually I save ration out my calories for the day so that if I go to the Olive Garden I can get their "Chicken Giardino" for lunch - 460 calories - or the dinner version - 560-600 calories. However, it's fillng and you could always take some of it home, it's delicious.

If you don't want to save a lot of cals for the meal, though, just order the Kid's Grilled Chicken entree. I've done it before and they don't mind. It comes with a tasty chicken breast, a small side of noodles with tomato sauce, and broccolli. The whole thing is just 350 calories. :hun:

Elanajel
11-04-2005, 06:51 PM
Getting the kids' item is a great idea. I've also shared the salmon or tilapia entree w/someone, definitely enough food to share and it came w/side of vegetables.

I didn't know you could order the salad w/a different dressing--good to know for next time.

Sheri~C
11-09-2005, 02:30 PM
You are right about the Chicken Giordino, it is great and reheats wonderfully for lunch the next day. I also love to order my meals from the seniors or childrens menu portions are so big these days and it can hard to leave food sitting on the plate.

Lucky13
03-03-2006, 01:09 PM
the minestrone soup is heavenly at Olive Garden...I could eat that all day long...

I always keep the breadsticks on the opposite side of the table from me. I get one, tear it in half and give the other half to DH. I make that breadstick last the entire meal. Definitely a difficult task, but worth bragging about that NSV!!!