The Delicious 6-Week Weight Loss Plan for the Real World
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP has counseled thousands of his patients on healthy, sustainable weight loss. Now he's compiled his best tips and recipes into a six-week plan for you to learn how to eat great food that just happens to be great for you.
Get the prescription for better health as well as healthy weight loss, including:
What to eat
How to cook it
When to eat it
What to eat at a restaurant
What to eat if you're in a hurry
and best of all....
Why eating great food is the best health decision you'll ever make.
I seldom eat at chain restaurants. I much prefer to eat great food and it’s worth the time to either cook it myself or find a good restaurant.
Even though I travel a great deal, part of my success in avoiding mediocre food away from home is the same as when I am at home – planning! Both chain and fast food restaurants are now pretty expensive and not only do I save money by, say, bringing my own lunch on the plane, I have a much better meal: it both tastes better and is better for me.
I have reviewed some healthier options from common chain restaurants. Generally you'll find that the recommended dinner meals will fall under about 500 calories or so. Unfortunately, many such chains do not stint on sodium, so if you're on a low sodium diet, be aware!
The following are the reviews of those acceptable meals, along with the nutrition information we've been able to obtain. Note that many chain restaurants no longer provide nutrition information on their websites, so we've posted their nutrition information when it's available to us.
Notes: Menu selections may vary according to restaurant location. If there's a chain restaurant you'd like us to review, let us know about it by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can't guarantee that Dr. Harlan will test all of your restaurant suggestions, but he'll can certainly try to visit them when he is near one.
The last time I ate at Applebee's it was really awful food. I was traveling and stopped because it was the only option in the middle of nowhere somewhere in Pennsylvania. At the time I thought that it was a shame because a company as large as they are, with all their resources ought to be able to do better.
Reading the nutrition information from chain restaurants can be truly dismaying. In the past few weeks we've looked at some OK choices at Panda Express, Chopt, Sweetgreen, and Boston Market, but places like Chick-fil-A and Olive Garden are, to put it bluntly, sodium bombs.
Back in 2010, when we last researched the menu at Chevys Fresh Mex, it was easier. They made their nutrition information available through a website called HealthyDiningFinder.com. I suppose that was a ploy to deflect bad news on their own website. It makes sense, I suppose: put some distance between yourself and terrible nutrition numbers.
If anyone wonders why there are so many health problems in America, they don't need to look much further than chain restaurants. "Fast Casual" restaurants, as they are known in the business, are amazingly bad for you and Chili's is the granddaddy of food that leads to illness and the shortening of your lifespan.
This is a chain that we have reviewed before, back in 2010, and they have some good choices, but they have now developed a menu with dishes under 600 calories. There were too many great choices for us to try them all, but these options include such things as a simple grilled salmon or petite filet.
I have eaten at a Legal Sea Foods chain restaurant once and was not terribly impressed. This was about 6 years ago and the restaurant smelled like fish. Fish restaurants shouldn't smell like fish. Seafood restaurants should smell like the ocean.
When I think about the columns I write that look at chain restaurants I always wonder at myself, because the research I do on these types of restaurants makes me want to write, "Just go to McDonalds or even Subway!" Mind you, I am no fan of the vast majority of fast food restaurants, but compared to Maggiano's Little Italy, Subway is downright healthy.
Most chain restaurants in the last ten years or so have actually worked on their nutrition, especially in lowering the amount of added salt. Olive Garden has not, and has in fact increased the amount of sodium in their dishes.
They are one of the restaurants that has been making nutrition information available on their website. In the early days the information wasn't complete: it lacked reporting on sodium. They do now, and wow! - it is pretty shocking.
It has been over 10 years since our first review of Red Lobster. Today we were going to look at their menu critically to find your healthiest choices at Red Lobster, but spoiler alert! - I can't recommend you eat there at all. Why? They don't have any nutrition information other than calories on their website.
I have created this list of selected items for you to use when you must eat out at chain restaurants. The items listed fall generally under 400 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 600 milligrams of sodium, so if you are going to be stuck eating at such restaurants, this is a fairly good guideline.
Wildfire Grill is one of the restaurants in the super-chain from the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group. They have a half dozen Wildfire Grills (most are in Chicago). What drew us to this place was their gluten free options: they have a gluten free pizza.