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Hungry Girl Today: 3.21.14
GIRLS BITE OUT
Hungry Girl's Olive Garden Survival Guide
A bunch of fresh new items were recently planted on the Olive Garden menu! Some are great picks... others not so much. We've got your most up-to-date guide for navigating a meal at O.G. -- read up and get hungry!
Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
1 order: 80 calories, 5g fat, 200mg sodium, 5g carbs, 3g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 2*
This is the best option on the new Tastes of Italy small-plates menu. Skip the fatty aioli it's served with, but enjoy the balsamic drizzle and sprinkling of Parm. WARNING: Don't mistakenly order your Parmesan Asparagus "Crispy," a.k.a. deep fried. That version has 420 calories and 29g fat. HUGE DIFFERENCE!
Garden-Fresh Salad with Low-Fat Dressing
1 serving: 90 calories, 3.5g fat, 610mg sodium, 11g carbs, 2g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 2*
You might not even realize it's available, but you can order the classic house salad with low-fat dressing! You'll save 60 calories and 6.5g fat per serving (which can add up if you go the unlimited-soup-salad-and-breadsticks route). If you wanna skip dressing altogether, a serving of the salad has just 60 calories and 2g fat.
Soup Selections: Minestrone, Pasta e Fagioli, or Zuppa Toscana
1 serving: 100 - 170 calories, 1 - 4g fat, 680 - 1,020mg sodium, 17 - 24g carbs, 4 - 10g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 3 - 5*
If you love a light broth-based soup, it's all about the Minestrone. If you watch your sodium intake, the Pasta e Fagioli is your best bet of the three. And if a creamy broth with sausage and potatoes sounds good to you, the Zuppa Toscana is just what you need!
1 order: 260 calories, 9g fat, 910mg sodium, 17g carbs, 28g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 7*
Ummm, YUM! The portion size isn't huge (you get 2 meatballs), but it's mostly protein, which we love. Not bad as part of a meal...
Grilled Chicken Spiedini with Red Wine Sauce
1 order: 330 calories, 6g fat, 520mg sodium, 28g carbs, 40g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 8*
Another HG warning: Make SURE you specify the Red Wine Sauce, not the Creamy Alfredo -- that version has 23g fat! Why goop up your nice grilled chicken like that?
1 breadstick with garlic-butter spread: 140 calories, 2g fat, 370mg sodium, 26g carbs, 5g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 4*
If you've gotta have it, stick with ONE. But skip those dipping sauces -- the buttery breadsticks are good enough on their own!
SHOCKER! Tuscan White Bean Hummus
1 order: 760 calories, 31g fat, 1,430mg sodium, 99g carbs, 24g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 21*
You might never suspect that the small-plate starter with the highest calorie count would be the hummus plate. Even if you share it with a buddy, that's 380 calories and 15.5 grams of fat before your entrée even arrives. A carby bummer...
Olive Garden Lighter Italian Fare
Everything on this menu has less than 575 calories. Here are a few standouts...
Baked Tilapia with Shrimp
1 dinner portion: 340 calories, 11g fat, 1,070mg sodium, 14g carbs, 48g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 9*
A nice, simple meal done right. A double dose of seafood in white wine sauce, paired with some garlicky broccoli. Perfect!
1 dinner portion: 520 calories, 32g fat, 500mg sodium, 9g carbs, 49g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 14*
This may be the healthiest option on the whole menu. The omega-packed fish is finished with Italian herbs and just a bit of extra-virgin olive oil. A side of seasoned broccoli completes the meal. Smart stuff!
Garlic Rosemary Chicken
1 dinner portion: 540 calories, 20g fat, 1,560mg sodium, 30g carbs, 62g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 14*
Three words: caramelized garlic cloves. Mmmm! To slim down the stats even more, request extra veggies in place of the cheesy mashed taters.
Center Cut Filet Mignon
1 dinner portion: 440 calories, 22g fat, 1,470mg sodium, 21g carbs, 42g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 12*
Nothing about this recent addition feels like deprivation -- you get a steak with sautéed Italian veggies and roasted garlic. Yum. Yum. Yum.
And now a moment of silence... The Venetian Apricot Chicken is no more. If you miss it, grab a copy of HUNGRY GIRL TO THE MAX! or HG 1-2-3 and make the Glaze-of-Sunshine Apricot Chicken!
Pasta Sauce PSA!
While one might think a serving of pasta with a tomato-based sauce might not be so bad, the sauces at O.G. are FREAKISHLY fattening. Yes, even the Fresh Tomato Pomodoro and especially the Primavera -- the latter has 390 calories and 26g fat!!! And that's JUST for the sauce. If you must have pasta at the Garden, go for the Tri-Colored Vegetable Penne (350 calories, 3g fat) with a side of the Marinara Dipping Sauce from the appetizer menu (80 calories, 3.5g fat).
It's all about the Dolcini mini desserts! There are five options, each with 210 - 290 calories (PointsPlus® value of about 6 - 8*). The Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake is the lightest of the bunch. The full-sized desserts are bad news, unless you're splitting them with a crowd.
HG FYIs: No doubt about it, the sodium counts are pretty high on most chain-restaurant meals. If excess sodium is a concern, you may want to avoid dining out at chain restaurants, or do a lot of special ordering (avoiding sauces, seasonings, etc.). Also, Olive Garden doesn't provide sugar or fiber counts, which is why those aren't listed here. PointsPlus® values were calculated with 0g fiber; the exact values may be slightly lower.
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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. For more info on the new PointsPlus® program, visit weightwatchers.com.
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