Most of us know that chain restaurants aren’t the healthiest choices, but they also offer healthier options, have nutritional information readily available and will customize orders on request, writes Julie Upton, a registered dietitian and co-author of The Real Skinny: Appetite for Health’s 101 Fat Habits & Slim Solutions.
“When I’m eating out, I try to make my choices add up to no more than 500 calories, 20 grams of protein and a serving of fruit or veggies, and made with fresh ingredients,” Upton writes. “Some of my go-tos: burrito bowls with grilled chicken and veggies, veggie omelets, burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches in lettuce (no bun).”
Here’s what other nutrition professionals choose when they eat out at chain restaurants:
- Subway Veggie Delite (6”). “I like it because it’s fresh, fast and filling. With American cheese, black olives, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, avocado, and a little honey-mustard dressing,” it totals 360 calories, 7 grams of fiber, 630 mg sodium,” says Katherine Booking.
- Cheesecake Factory Incredible Eggplant Sandwich. “I eat half of it and take off the extra dressing. It’s made with grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers and onions so it is veggie packed,” says Elisa Zied.
- Chipotle Made-to-Order Salad. “I make my salad with lettuce, black beans, fajita veggies, tomato salsa, corn salsa and guacamole,” says Cynthia Sass. “... And the nutrition facts are impressive: 400 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, 23 grams of fiber, 15 grams of protein.”
- Starbucks Protein Bistro Box. “For lunch, I get a protein bistro box from Starbucks for 380 calories, 13 grams of protein, 37 grams of carbs and 5 grams of fiber,” says Jessica Crandall.
- Dunkin’ Donuts Veggie Egg White Flatbread. “I’ll order this without cheese. These have less than 300 calories and 16 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber,” says Keri Gans.
- Cheese pizza. “If you get a thin crust pizza it will generally be less than 300 calories a slice,” says Karen Ansel.
— Adapted from “What Nutrition Pros Eat at Chain Restaurants,” Julie Upton, The Huffington Post.