Hello! How are you doing today?! I hope you're having a great Thursday!! At the moment, I'm typing this in my favorite chair with a bowl (big bowl...lol) of fresh fruit and life is good!!!
Overall, we know that eating at home is healthier then eating out. However, there are times when we just don't want to cook and we hop in the car and head to a restaurant! I'm guilty of doing this!! Especially right now, since my kids are back in school and we're still mentally on summer vacation :D On the positive side...did you know that there's a healthy dish on almost any menu? You can eat clean at The Cheesecake Factory and other high calorie restaurants! Yes!! You can :D Keep reading...
It's no secret that menus are full of calorie bombs, with their gobs of melted cheese, deep-fried appetizers, and large amounts of yummy cream sauce. In fact, the average chain restaurant meal and a shared appetizer punches in at 1,500 calories (YIKES), 28 grams of saturated fat (OMGOSH), and 3,512 milligrams of sodium (CRAZY)! The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that it's easy to consume as many as 3,600 calories in 1 setting. BUT don't run away! The following are items and tricks at 5 favorite restaurants, so you can enjoy their food without the guilt!!
The CHEESECAKE FACTORY!
If you're in the mood for a classic salad...try the SkinnyLicious beet and goat cheese salad. You can ask for less cheese or for the dressing on the side.
If you're in the mood for a burger...try a turkey burger from the SkinnyLicious menu. You can also ditch the bun and have it on top of greens instead.
If you want it your way...try an omelet. Mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, and avocado is a good combination.
If I know that I'm going to The Cheesecake Factory and want to order my favorite meal, then I'll eat food with less calories throughout the day. I'll also split the meal with someone because the portions are big ;)
If you're in the mood for a burrito...order 1 with chicken, black beans, sautéed peppers, and onions. Add lettuce, guacamole, and mild salsa.
If you're in the mood for something classic...try the burrito bowl with chicken, beans, brown rice, and double up on the veggies. No toppings.
If you prefer to pile on the toppings...try the vegetarian burrito bowl with double the black beans and half the rice. Add peepers, onions, mild salsa, lettuce, and a sprinkle of cheese :)
If you're in the mood for pizza...try the spinach Florentine flatbread starter as a meal and add a side of broccoli. A LOT of food?! It has only 590 calories total!! Bring it on :D
If you're in the mood for zesty flavors...try the chipotle Yucatan chicken salad. Get the tostadas and dressing on the side and go light on the cheese. Ask for extra vinegar on the side and add it to the dressing. It'll cut the calories and fat.
If you're in the mood for something light and fresh...try the sizzling chicken and spinach. Only 440 calories. It comes with a mozzarella and tomato salad too.
If you're in the mood for a satisfying salad...try a Greek salad with chicken. or try an Asian sesame chicken salad. With the calories right on the menu, they make it easy to choose lighter items at the purchase.
If you're into mixing and matching...try half the chicken cobb salad with avocado and a veggie soup. Add the apple option on the side ;)
If you like to customize your order...order the You Pick Two with black bean soup and the classic salad. Instead of the dressing, make your own :D Ask for avocado and fresh lemon wedges and mash up to coat the greens and vegetables.
If you're in the mood for a dish that feels luxurious...try the baked tilapia with shrimp or the garlic rosemary chicken. Both are under 600 calories!!
If you want a meal with big flavor...try the herb grilled salmon with broccoli. This rich and tasty fish is high in protein and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
If you would rather cozy up to a bowl of soup (Fall is around the corner)...try a minestrone soup with the house salad combo. It's both satisfying and filling :)
Do you have any favorite menu items that you could share in the comments section? I'd like to know what I may be missing...lol! Seriously tho, I love eating out, especially if I'm able to enjoy my favorite foods without the guilt :D
Enjoy the rest of your week! Have an awesome weekend!!
Pamela Stewart, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist