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Hungry Girl Today: 5.9.14


There are many great picks at chain restaurants... but there are way more misses! Here are a bunch of meals with more than 1,000 calories each, plus some swaps and better bets!

Olive Garden Salmon Bruschetta
1 dinner order: 1,110 calories, 54g fat, 2,270mg sodium, 78g carbs, n.a. fiber, n.a. sugars, 70g protein -- PointsPlus® value of about 29*

The lesson here is not "don't order salmon" -- salmon's great for you and, though it has a fair amount of fat, it's healthy fat. The lesson here is that not all salmon entrées are created equal. This sounds pretty innocent, but it comes on a bed of creamy risotto, a.k.a. a pile of fatty starch. Instead, get the Herb-Grilled Salmon, which comes with seasoned broccoli for 520 calories and 32g fat (PointsPlus® value of about 14*). Request no oil to slim down that fat count. Perfect!

Chili's Crispy Chicken Tacos
1 order: 1,480 calories, 67g fat, 4,470mg sodium, 155g carbs, 12g fiber, 32g sugars, 66g protein -- PointsPlus® value 39*

In case you didn't know, "crispy" is typically code for fried. And while we all know fried chicken's not a great choice, surely this soft-taco plate is a better option than a platter of cheese-smothered enchiladas or an entire order of beef nachos, right? Nope... It's even got more calories than the Country-Fried Steak! The blame lies with that fried chicken, plus cheese, bacon, honey-chipotle sauce, and ranch dressing. Umm... Overkill! We recommend the Mango-Chile Chicken, with 550 calories and 20g fat (PointsPlus® value 14*). Can't kick a craving for fried-food-filled tacos? Our Crispylicious Shrimp Tacos will take care of that!

Denny's Sticky Bun French Toast Breakfast
1 order: 1,230 calories, 68g fat, 1,690mg sodium, 115g carbs, 3g fiber, 60g sugars, 40g protein -- PointsPlus® value 33*

This new dish sounds good. Really good. But with nutritionals like these, a plate of French toast is the last way you want to start your day. The good news is that there are plenty of smart selections at Denny's -- you just need to look carefully. The also-new Fruity 7 Grain French Toast Breakfast with egg whites and turkey bacon has 490 calories and 8g fat (PointsPlus® value 13*). Craving something more decadent? Try our Gooey-Good Cinnamunch French Toast!

California Pizza Kitchen Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Salad
1 full order: 1,500 calories, 99g fat, 1,380mg sodium, 128g carbs, 27g fiber, 80g sugars, 43g protein -- PointsPlus® value 41*

Come on, CPK. When a salad has more calories than most of your pizzas, something has gone terribly wrong. This one appears relatively "safe" -- it's topped with grilled chicken, butternut squash, beets, and red peppers. But it's also topped with avocado, almonds, and chopped egg, among other things. And whatever they're putting in the champagne vinaigrette is clearly a calorie fest... That dressing alone accounts for 477 calories and 47g fat! Instead of this silly salad, snap up the Chinese Chicken Salad, but skip the wontons and trade the dressing for fat-free vinaigrette. Mmmmm!

Applebee's 4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders
1 order: 1,830 calories, 92g fat, 4,300mg sodium, 175g carbs, 11g fiber, n.a. sugars, 77g protein -- PointsPlus® value 49*

This meal takes the "Why Is This a Thing?" award for the day. Whose bright idea was it to put bacon and fried chicken on top of cheese-loaded pasta? Did the crazy person responsible for Friendly's Grilled Cheese Burger Melt get a job at the 'Bees? Luckily, you can get something indulgent without consuming an entire day's worth of calories -- the Napa Chicken & Portobellos is smothered with cheese and sauce and served with potatoes, all for 480 calories and 14g fat (PointsPlus® value 12*). Rather have chicken-topped mac 'n cheese? Whip up this HG swap at home!

Hungry for More?

IHOP's Chicken Fajita Omelette packs an alarming 1,140 calories and 77g fat. We re-created it for under 250 calories and only 3.5g fat!

The Stir-Fried Eggplant at P.F. Chang's has 1,010 calories and 88g fat! Our slimmed-down swap has a small fraction of those crazy stats.

Um, 1,171 calories and 58g fat for a plate of chicken pasta? Not cool, Ruby Tuesday! We'll whip up our Chicken 'Bella Fettuccine Girlfredo for 276 calories and 5.5g fat, thankyouverymuch.

The Sesame Jack Chicken Strips at TGI Fridays are famous, but their calorie and fat counts are atrocious: 1,090 calories and 35 fat grams! The HG version has a lean 320 calories and just 3g fat.

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In honor of Mother's Day this weekend, take a look at the recipes from the "Mom's Favorites" episode of Hungry Girl. Fun fact: Floosh's Stuffed Cabbage is named after Lisa's mom, a.k.a. the mother of Hungry Girl!

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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

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