When some restaurants introduce a “healthy” or “diet” menu, it’s almost hard to believe they have anything in their kitchen that a nutritionist would approve of. These 10 chain restaurants have impressively healthy menus that still retain their signature flavors. Check out these diet menus from chain restaurants.
The salads are an obvious choice when trying to cut calories, but you can still enjoy what they do best and stick within your calorie budget: pizza! CPK’s new gluten-free menu has many of the favorites, like the original barbecue chicken, the margherita and the mushroom pepperoni sausage, but the gluten-free crust is lighter than the regular crust. Calculating this for someone who splits the pizza in half, you can take in just over 600 calories if you order the original barbecue chicken (whole pizza is 1240 calories).
Who would have thought a place best known for its giant burgers would add an entire vegetarian menu? Yard House built an entire menu using gardein — a chicken or beef substitute made from soy, wheat, pea proteins, vegetables and grains. And it’s an extensive menu, so vegan diners can satisfy almost any craving. A few standout items include the orange peel chicken, the mac ‘n cheese, and the spicy Thai chicken pizza. Throughout the regular menu, you can also spot a grey “U” which signifies a dish that’s less than 600 calories.
Could Sizzler be your new favorite salad spot when you’re on the go? Their new Weigh to Go option lets you get as much salad from the salad bar as you like, pay by weight, and take it to go. They have some hearty salads too, like a seafood salad and Greek salad.
Mimi’s now has an under 550-calorie menu, and some surprising items fit the bill like strawberry waffle perdu for breakfast, the Marseille omelette and the hickory-smoked bacon and eggs. Lunch and dinner items for under 550 calories include grilled salmon and French lentils and the chicken salade croissant.
You may not think of Mexican food when you think of diet food, but since most of El Pollo Loco’s items are minimal in the number of ingredients, you can easily find items under 600 calories off the regular menu. A few include the Chicken caesar bowl, the classic chicken guacamole burrito, and the tostada salad without a shell. The chain has also launched its under 500-calorie menu, with items like a mango Grilled tostada, a black bean bowl and a fire-grilled skinless breast meal.
If you can avoid the delicious pies, you can leave Coco’s feeling perfectly satisfied, but not stuffed. Their Healthier Choices menu is flavorful and has several options, like the grilled herb chicken, the fit & lively bistro salmon with fresh tomato relish, and the natural angus top sirloin steak. Yes — there’s steak on there.
We are very impressed with Red Robin’s interactive allergen menu. If you’re trying to avoid certain ingredients, go on their website before visiting the restaurant and pull up this tool. You simply select the items you’re trying to avoid, and the site will tell you which items you can eat. The site doesn’t just cross out items for you, but customizes them so you can still eat your favorites. For example, as an experiment we marked eggs, dairy, fish, wheat and soy as items we’re avoiding, and one option we were given was the tavern burger-cantina Jack with no bun, no green chile sauce, no pepper jack cheese and no red robin seasoning.
Denny’s recently introduced the Fit Fare menu and get this: it offers more than 300 ways to build a grand slam breakfast for under 500 calories. Other tasty items on the menu include the banana pecan pancake breakfast, the sirloin steak and the Cali Jack turkey burger.
For the seafood lovers out there, you can still indulge with Red Lobster’s LightHouse menu. Calorie count on most items is surprisingly low. The wood-grilled fresh rainbow trout (half portion) has only 200 calories, a rock lobster tail has only 210 calories and a Bar Harbor salad without dressing has just 160 calories.
Chili’s Lighter Choices menu features dishes that contain 650 calories or less, and some are still pretty decadent. Standout items include the six-ounce classic sirloin, with only 250 calories, the Margarita grilled chicken with 640 calories and the mango-chile chicken with 550 calories.
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