Did you know the average American adult eats at restaurants about six times a week? Even more staggering is the fact that 92% of meals at major restaurants have more calories than the average person is recommend to eat in a full day. Yikes! We spoke with nutritionist Jolene Goring, who showed us some of the healthiest options at our favorite places.
First on our list is Applebee’s! Just as Applebee’s is one of our favorite eateries, fish is one of our favorite sources of protein. Eating fish can be healthy, but it all depends on how it’s prepared. On your next trip to Applebee’s, opt for the Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon as a low-calorie meal. This dish offers a woodsy flavor without all the extra frying oil. This salmon along with a side of two vegetables will only set you back 650 calories!
Jolene offers a fantastic rule of them when ordering a nutritious meal. Just look out for the rainbow! “If you look at this [salmon] dish, it looks like a rainbow,” shares the nutritionist. “I always say eat the rainbow, because you're getting so many nutrients [and] so many antioxidants.”
Applebee’s salmon is super healthy, but on the other end of the spectrum is their fish and chips. Not only does this dish have about two thousand calories, but it also contains three days’ worth of sodium in just one plate. So stick to the salmon!
Number two on our list is Outback Steakhouse, where Jolene says you can still eat healthy – if you know what to pick! “If you order a couple of skewers of grilled shrimp, you can mix and match your sides,” explains our expert. This combination isn’t just tasty – it also contains less than 600 calories!
On the flip side of the coin, beware of the Bloomin’ Onion. While this appetizer is one Outback’s most popular snacks, it also hides about two thousand calories. To illustrate that amount of fat, Jolene warns that eating this dish is almost equivalent to drinking a cup of oil.
3. Red Robin
The final stop on our list is Red Robin! Jolene says you can go ahead and order your favorite burger or chicken sandwich here – but wrapped in lettuce! “[This alternative] still has cheese, still has sauce, and little fried onions,” Jolene explains – making it finger lickin’ good, yet lower-calorie! And if you’re craving something sweet, you can add fruit as your side, which will help quell those milkshake cravings. Can you believe his whole meal is just 600 calories?
Now onto what not to eat! Red Robin offers one menu item that's been voted the most unhealthy meal in a chain restaurant in America: the A1 Peppercorn Monster Burger with a side of fries and a milkshake! What makes this dish so caloric? Well, first they take the sides of the buns and sear them with margarine. This alone adds about 600 calories to a meal that totals nearly 4000 calories and 205 grams of sugar. Can you say diabetes?!
Unless you’re planning on ordering a cheat meal, we highly recommend sticking the lighter options on our list while dining out. Bon appetit!
Which one of these chain restaurants is your favorite? Join the conversation on our Facebook page at @TheListShowTV.