The Healthiest Dishes at 10 Major Restaurant Chains – You can eat out and still eat healthy food. Find out from Food Network the best things to order at these popular chain restaurants.
For calorie-appropriate portions, look for Applebee’s Lighter Fare, which are all under 700 calories per dish. Among the options are Cedar-Grilled Lemon Chicken and Thai Shrimp Salad. Your best bet is probably the Pepper-Crusted Sirloin & Whole Grains — served with spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes, it seems to be the most well-rounded meal. Almost all of these meals pack a day’s worth of sodium, so if you’re watching that, opt instead for a Fire-Grilled Shrimp Skewer, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli from the regular menu, which trims the sodium while keeping calories in check.
The classic offerings at this sandwich chain aren’t especially vegetable-heavy, so get them where you can. The Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad tops iceberg and green leaf lettuce with sliced turkey, pepper bacon and shredded cheddar. Choose the balsamic vinaigrette, which brings the calorie total to a light 360. If you’re more in the mood for a sandwich, the Classic Roast Beef is a safe bet, delivering 360 calories and 23 grams of protein and half the sodium (970 mg) of some of the turkey sandwiches. Pair it with a side salad to round out your meal.
Buffalo Wild Wings
We wouldn’t want you to NOT have the wings at Buffalo Wild Wings. And lucky for you, they may just be the healthiest thing on the menu! Just a few tips for ordering: Go for traditional wings, rather than boneless (they’re more whole foods-based) and get the snack size. For the least added sugar and sodium go for the buffalo, chipotle, desert heat, lemon pepper and salt & vinegar flavors. The snack-size buffalo traditional wings deliver 340 calories, 6 grams of saturated fat, 530 mg of sodium and 41 grams of protein. Make sure you eat the carrot and celery sticks, too, for a small dose of vegetables. The fiesta pork tacos are another good choice providing 450 calories, 30 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, 1100 mg of sodium and 3 grams of fiber.
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Finally, a veggie burger on a fast food menu! At Burger King you can get a Morningstar veggie burger, along with the usual toppings of lettuce, tomato and onions. As a standalone item, it has 390 calories, 22 protein, 6 grams of fiber and 1060 mg of sodium. Get bonus points for ordering a side salad, but if you do go for fries, choose the Value size, which is the smallest option available.
California Pizza Kitchen
It’s not all pizza at California Pizza Kitchen. They recently rolled out two new Power Bowls that pair whole grains, veggies and protein. The Banh Mi Bowl tops quinoa and baby kale with grilled chicken, watermelon radishes, avocado, cucumbers, carrots, bean sprouts, scallions, cilantro, mint and sesame seeds. It’s high in fiber (9 grams), rich in protein (30 grams), and lower in sodium than many restaurant dishes (460 mg of sodium). If you’re not feeling the bowl thing, order a half-sized California Cobb salad (still a hefty portion), or check out the cedar-planked salmon.
Go for the Famous Star® burger at Carl’s Jr., but hold the cheese and mayo, order it on a plain bun, and ask for extra lettuce and tomatoes. These swaps will save you on calories and saturated fat, giving you a healthier burger. This option, which falls under their “Trim It®” menu, clocks in at 390 calories, 17 grams of fat, 610 mg of sodium, 3 grams of fiber and 23 grams of protein. If lettuce-wrapped burgers and sandwiches are your thing, you’re in luck! Carl’s Jr. says you can “Low Carb It.® by swapping the bun for a large lettuce leaf in sandwiches such as the Low Carb Charbroiled Chicken Club.
Carraba’s Italian Grill
At Carraba’s Italian Grill most of the dinner-sized pastas pack in a day’s worth of sodium. So either share a pasta to halve the sodium, or opt for one of the seafood or chicken entrees. The Tuscan Strawberry Salad With Chicken, Salmon or Shrimp is a good option, or order off the appetizer menu: the Italian Lettuce Wraps, featuring balsamic-drizzled grilled chicken, veggies and ricotta salata would pair nicely with the Bruschette Siciliani, for a balanced meal.
Chick-Fil-A’s Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap® is a solid choice. The chicken is layered with cheese, lettuce, red cabbage and carrots, and the wrap is a super-high fiber flatbread. The nutrient profile is extraordinarily balanced, giving you 15 grams of fiber, 14 grams of fat and 37 grams of protein for 350 calories. Despite the high-ish amount of sodium (960 mg), it’s still one of the healthiest things on the menu. If you want even more produce in your meal, opt for the Grilled Market Salad, which adds blueberries, strawberries and apples to the lettuce/cabbage mix. Go easy on the dressing, though, which adds quite a bit of sugar to the meal.
Dive into the Guiltless Grill menu at Chili’s to find balanced meals under 600 calories. Options include Mango Chili Chicken, served with Mexican rice and steamed broccoli, and the Margarita Chicken, which is like a burrito bowl. Just know that these two options have about a day’s worth of sodium. So a better bet may be the Grilled Chicken Salad, with 440 calories, 6 grams of saturated fat, 1100 mg of sodium and 38 grams of protein.
Your best bet at Chipotle Mexican Grill is the burrito bowl, since you can tailor it exactly as you want. For the most nutrition, we’d order it with tofu or steak, black or pinto beans, brown rice and fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa, guacamole and lettuce. You’ll get 16 grams of fiber and 31 grams of protein with this combination, making it a meal with staying power. A quality alternative is the tacos. Surprisingly, the crispy corn tortillas are a healthier option than flour tortillas — they’re lower in calories, higher in fiber and have no sodium — but