Are You Making ‘Healthy’ Menu Choices?


Photo by ulmer.frank

If you’re trying to lose weight I’ll bet you are good all during the week until the weekend comes when friends or family want to go out and eat. At the restaurant you either lose all self-control and have a pig-out fest or you order what you believe to be the healthiest option on the menu.

Either way you could be throwing a wrench in your weight loss progress. Obviously if you have a pig-out of massive proportions you’ll derail all of your hard work from earlier in the week. Even the foods that seem to be “healthy” might be anything but.

Last week I ate at Applebee’s with my husband and mother-in-law (MIL). MIL ordered a trio platter, Trey ordered a rack of ribs and I ordered an under 550 calorie chicken entree. MIL thought some of her food, like the spinach dip, was “healthy,” while Trey thought he ordered the lowest calorie option that wasn’t on the low-calorie menu.

So when I got home I looked up the nutrition facts and was flabbergasted by what I found.


MIL had eaten around 1,600 calories (more than her daily needs) and Trey had consumed between 1,600 and 1,820 calories. While my choice was the lowest calorie, you wouldn’t believe the sodium count – somewhere north of 1,000 mg. Further investigation revealed that the highest calorie salads on the menu were between 900 and 1,310 calories in total. Shocking, right?

Interestingly, aside from the low-calorie menu, the kids plates had by far the lowest calorie options. Go figure. The portion sizes are smaller, after all.

Now I’m not trying to pick on Applebee’s. You’ll find the same shocking nutrition facts at any restaurant these days.

So, here’s the lesson for those of you trying to lose weight:

  1. When eating out, chose foods on the low-calorie, “guiltless” menu, or order kids plates.
  2. But most importantly, before you go to a restaurant, get online and look up their menu nutrition information. All of the chain restaurants have them now. You’ll have no excuse to order something that you’ll regret later.

Now go and make wise food choices this week. You’ll be glad you did.


2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Jen

    Great post! Thank you for the tips.. I often have a hard time restraining myself in restaurants, so the reminder that I can do my research beforehand is great.

    May 16th, 2011

  2. Monica

    I know. Restraint can be so hard. Keep your mind on the prize!

    May 18th, 2011

Reply to “Are You Making ‘Healthy’ Menu Choices?”