Ooh, yes. I love the venetian apricot chicken! It's probably my favorite. Also at Olive Garden, I usually get the no sugar added Torta di Chocolate. No sugar added or not, I think it's up there with my favorite desserts ANYWHERE... haha. I wish I could make it at home or find a place that would sell them to me.
P.F. Chang's Ma Po Tofu is also really good. The dish is huge and you could easily take half home, especially if you eat some brown rice with it.
I used to be a big fan of the weight management salads at The Cheesecake Factory, but they've altered them and they're no longer as good. I think they perhaps were getting too heavy handed on the yummy toppings and they had to cut down to adhere to their nutritional guidelines. It's still a nice option, though. My favorite is definitely the Spicy Chicken Salad.
McCormick and Schmick also as a lighter plate menu where they serve you a smaller portion. There's no nutritional information given, but I've had the Tuna Nicoise which was simply seared ahi tuna, chilled cooked green beans, tomato, quartered hard boiled egg, a few kalamata olives and anchovies drizzled very lightly with a vinaigrette.
For those in the Washington, D.C. area I'm a huge fan of Rock Creek. They post all of their nutritional information right there on the menu and they're very healthy conscious. Their menu changes seasonally, but some things that I've had were a roasted vegetable papardelle, sweet potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms and a cherry sauce, butternut squash soup, and seasonal fruit creme brulee (made with yogurt instead of cream!). A bit pricey, but if you want a nice meal out and don't want to squash your diet, it's a good place to go.
Last edited by LindseyLouWho : 10-25-2008 at 05:52 PM.
Well, there are two Rock Creek locations, one of which is in Bethesda, MD and within walking distance of the metro stop there and the other is in the Mazza Gallerie shopping center, which is in D.C. technically.
When I go out to eat I usually try to wrangle it so we either go to sushi or the local seafood shack on the water. Sushi with brown rice and some seaweed salad and edamame is so completely healthy it's practically water, and it's my favorite dinner to boot. Seafood place, I can get raw oysters in the half shell, and for my entree a perfect grilled or blackened dolphin sandwich. AND, if everyone else insists on Mexican, I get... shrimp fajitas to share, with a side of black beans and rice!
The ocean is my friend. A friend I like to devour. But since I don't eat meat and rarely cook seafood at home, it's my one chance, so I go to town. It just so happens that it's great for my diet as well.
I will never underestimate the value of having an accessible, amazing salad bar...in my town, we actually have two. Whenever I need a quick meal on the run, I go there - load up a bowl with a mess of greens, broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, roasted corn or fennel, kidney beans, grilled chicken, maybe some sunflower seeds...delicious.
Sweet Tomatoes is my go-to lunch place. A HUGE salad is only about 350 calories (of course you can't load it with cheese or creamy dressing). I put every raw veggie known to man on mine, then sprinkle olive oil, red wine vinegar, and some blue cheese crumbles on it ... heaven!
Another favorite (what I'm eating right now in fact) is Chick-fil-a's breast of chicken soup. A large is 240 cals, 7g of fat, 15g of protein and it's sooooo filling and yummy. Since it's only 30 deg out today and windy, I needed soup for lunch.
At Chili's - a bowl of the chicken tortilla soup is 270 calories and a bowl of the southwestern veggie is 220 cals. Pair that with a side salad with house dressing for 140 cals and that's a decent lunch. Just don't eat the bread or crackers. A steak fajita pita is 460 cals, which is more than I'd like normally, but if you have the calories to spare, it's what I sometimes order.
Olive Garden's minestrone soup has about 170 calories to the bowl. Pair that with a salad with their light Italian dressing for another 200 calories. (I ask for the dressing on the side, since I think they put too much on anyway.) Avoid the breadsticks at all costs.
PF Chang's chicken lettuce wraps are 377 calories. One appetiser order does quite nicely for a lunch portion for me - often with some left over. The steamed veggie and steamed shrimp dumplings are 265 cals an order. A cup of hot and sour soup is 85 cals. (Sometimes I do the steamed veggie dumplings and a cup of soup.) The Buddha's feast steamed veggie platter is 140 cals.
Jason's Deli Turkey Slimwich is about 300 calories. You can get a half of one and a cup of soup (my favorite lunch there): A cup of French onion soup (with crouton and cheese) is 192 calories. A cup of the fire roasted tortilla soup is 162 calories. I always tell them no chips - I don't want them on the plate as a temptation. If you have to have chips, though, an order of their blue corn tortilla chips are 200 cals (I sometimes share an order) and pair them with a serving of salsa at 35 cals.
Those are the places that are closest to my office and that I go most frequently.
Last edited by PhotoChick : 10-28-2008 at 12:45 PM.
went to Applebee's for dinner and planned my meal beforehand. got their Weight Watchers version of Onion Soup (150 cal) and their Portobello and Steak meal (350 cal) which comes with a side of roasted potatoes and steamed veggies. I was stuffed when I walked out of there!
Panera - Black bean soup with veggie sandwich on whole grain, no cheese, apple as a side.
Chipotle - Veg salad - lettuce, black beans, grilled peppers, chopped tomatoes, corn salsa, red salsa and a dab of guacamole (either scrape off extra or ask for it as a side)
Sit down places - I usually don't go to chains when I go out to eat as I don't care for most chains too much. Although with coworkers/family, I sometimes go.
Soup Plantation - When I go to California, I make as many stops at this place as I can. Last time, in a week, we went 3 times. It is the same chain as Sweet Tomatoes. I basically load up a salad, no dressing and a piece of sourdough bread. I might try a bit of their veggie soup too.
Red Robin - It depends how I'm feeling but one good thing is their lettuce wrap veggie burger, no cheese, no mayo with salad on the side. If I'm feeling it, I may have their veg burger on their whole grain bread. You can also add anything to the veg burger that is offered on their menu so sometimes I'd add guacamole, grilled onions or something else.
Ruby Tuesday - Now this isn't a restaurant I really appreciated until the last few months. There is really only one thing on their menu I can have which is their veggie burger. Last time I went, I thought about having a veggie burger with the salad as a side. Instead, I just had salad and was happy with that.
Sushi - I love vegetable sushi. I usually buy it to go though at either Whole Foods or a local Korean market that has a sushi chef on site. Its about half price at the Korean market.
Chinese - I'm blessed with great chinese restaurants. If I want to pack on the calories, I'll go to the really authentic one as anything seems to go there Normally, I get dishes that aren't fried, aren't too saucy and mix in some steamed veggies. I have a vegetarian chinese restaurant that makes wheat gluten products which are really good but also has a variety of dishes.
Thai - I'll avoid the curry unless I'm ready for something a bit caloric, the coconut milk packs on calories quickly. So stir fried veggies with tofu, steamed veggies with tofu, etc. It depends on the menu. I'll usually pass on the rice.
Indian - Sadly, I avoid Indian food these days for the most part because they do like to sneak in butter (ghee) and yogurt into their dishes. If I have decent confidence I can avoid either, I'll gladly go because they have awesome dishes such as lentils and chickpeas in spicy sauces. Curried vegetables (no sauce) are good as well.
Other - Honestly, my diet naturally cuts out a lot of calories if I keep strictly to it. I also don't get a lot of choices in restaurants but the choices I generally get are lower in calorie than the average dish. Unless I go to a vegetarian/vegan place, then the calories can range from very low to very high with lots of options. I've basically just learned to navigate restaurants.
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
I tried the chocolate di torta at Olive Garden yesterday. It's amazing! Two thumbs up, peeps! It's a lot like the Cooking Light chocolate decadence I had on a cruise -- I'm making this for Thanksgiving for moi.
Never start a diet you can't live with for the rest of your life!
Do any of you ever "worry" that "light" dishes in restaurants aren't actually light. I find myself thinking about it often when I am out if I order something besides like a dry salad or grilled chicken or fish. I have started bringing my own salad dressing so I am no longer guessing about what the waiter brings. I also read last week that the salmon dish at Chili's has supposedly 400 calories. A man went undercover and actually tested what they brought him and it was 1200 calories! Am I just being pathetic for thinking about it?