More and more restaurants are finally spilling their nutritional guts (THANK YOU!), and others are going the extra mile with special "light" menus. Here are a few choice chain-restaurant finds from said special menus. Enjoy!
Olive Garden - Garden Fare Selections
Here are our picks from OG's diet-friendly options...
Sorry to sound cheesy, but this meal is light done right. Pairing saucy chicken with broccoli, asparagus, and diced tomatoes? Now THAT's amore!
Linguine alla Marinara, dinner portion - 430 calories, 6g fat, 9g fiber -- POINTS® value 8*
Need some old-school basic Italian food? This should do the trick without TOO many calories.
Chili's - Guiltless Grill Menu
We don't feel guilty about naming our favorites...
Guiltless Grill Salmon - 480 calories, 14g fat, 1,080mg sodium, 31g carbs, 10g fiber, 54g protein -- POINTS® value 10*
Salmon's ALWAYS gonna be high in fat, but it's the good kind, so don't stress too much. Here, a nice piece of fish comes with black beans and steamed veggies sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Just don't follow this up with Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie. EEEK!
Guiltless Chicken Sandwich - 490 calories, 8g fat, 2,720mg sodium, 63g carbs, 11g fiber, 39g protein -- POINTS® value 10*
Check out this sandwich! It's topped with fat-free honey-mustard dressing, lettuce, pickles, and tomato -- and served with the same beans and veggies as the salmon. Chili's, maybe we'll finally forgive you for that annoying "Baby Back Ribs" jingle.
Guiltless Black Bean Burger - 650 calories, 12g fat, 1,940mg sodium, 96g carbs, 26g fiber, 38g protein -- POINTS® value 13*
If it's gotta be a burger, this one's the way to go. It's loaded with fiber, it's huge, and it's delicious. And while the calorie and fat counts aren't exactly low, this thing's still WAY better than one of Chili's crazy-fatty Big Mouth Burgers. To save a slew of calories, lose the ranch dressing and ask for an unbuttered whole-wheat bun -- that bun's not on the menu, but most locations offer it. Or be really daring and enjoy your burger without any bun at all, protein-style over lettuce -- that shaves hundreds of calories from the total!
Applebee's - Weight Watchers Options
These are Hungry Girl AND Weight Watchers approved...
There is hope for meat & potato people after all! This sirloin comes smothered in a savory sauce with steamed herb potatoes and seasonal veggies. Nicely done, Applebee's!
Italian Chicken & Portobello Sandwich - 360 calories, 6g fat, 11g fiber -- POINTS® value 7
Ooh! Another entry into the "sandwiches that rock our socks" category. This grilled chick-wich has sliced portobello mushrooms, a slice of tomato, and chunky marinara sauce -- all on a wheat bun with fresh fruit on the side. Bellisima!
ALL of us should probably be eating more fish, so we LOVE to see a fish dish that sounds this delish. (Sorry for the irritating rhymes.) Your tilapia comes topped with black bean & corn salsa (Mmmmmmm!) and is served with rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables. Carb-counters might be able to trouble them for double veggies instead of rice.
AAAAAHH! These seafood skewers make us so happy! All these babies need is a quick squeeze of lemon, and you're good to go.
Garden Salad with Petite Shrimp Topping and Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing - 132 calories, 6g fat, 15 carbs, 2g fiber -- POINTS® value 3*
Here's a simple shrimp salad that does the trick. The stats are so low, you can order a double!
Baked Potato with Pico de Gallo - 185 calories, 2g fat, 37g carbs, 4.5g fiber -- POINTS® value 3*
Baked potato + pico de gallo = an awesome idea. Thanks to the crimson crustacean!
Live Maine Lobster - 145 calories, 1g fat, 2g carbs -- POINTS® value 3*
Living large doesn't have to make you large. Here's proof! Just don't drown the stuff in butter, peeps...
Fresh Grilled or Broiled Tilapia, full portion - 346 calories, 10g fat, 0g carbs -- POINTS® value 8*
There's our buddy Tilapia again! Let's hear it for flaky white fish, people.
Not Quite LIGHT...
You're doing it wrong, humans...
Olive Garden, Garden Fare, Capellini Pomodoro, dinner portion - 840 calories and 17g fat! (POINTS® value 17*)
ARE YOU KIDDING US, OLIVE GARDEN? This dish is just tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil on pasta. How big is that pile o' noodles? How much oil is on there?!? Skip it!
On The Border - Border Smart
Everything under 750 calories and 25g fat. Um... try again, please!
IHOP - IHOP For Me
Symbols on the menu indicate whether something has fewer than 600 calories, 15g fat, or 15g carbs. Unfortunately, there's a world of difference between a 300-calorie item and a 599-calorie one, and there's a huge distinction between 3 grams of fat and 14 grams of fat. We want specifics, and we want them on the website. Hop to it!
Outback Steakhouse - Healthy Weight Loss Items
Their website offers tips on how to special order certain items and make them lighter -- but it doesn't give actual stats. Admirable, but we want numbers, Outback. Hear that? NUMBERS!
HG Note: Several of these restaurants do not provide certain nutritional information, such as sodium, sugars, and protein (sheesh!). All available information has been included.
CHEW ON THIS: Today, November 6th, is National Nachos Day! Stay away from restaurant versions and make our Ooey Gooey Chili Cheese Nachos in the safety of your home.
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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.
SmartPoints® value not what you expected?Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.