Thursday, May 9, 2013


From now on this post will run on Thursdays. But since it's late in the day.. okay almost bedtime, I'm posting this to run tomorrow in place of Weekly Recap.

Three or four years ago I picked up a book at Sam's Club called EAT THIS - NOT THAT. (Link takes you to the 2013 edition) There are several books in this series. One of the things I like about the book by David Zincezenko and Matt Goulding is they back up their choices with nutritional information. The reason for renewing every year is because as restaurants especially begin to take note of the healthier trends both by their patrons and FDA regulations, they are keeping on top of those changes.

Over the next few Thursdays I'll be focusing on Eating Out. With summer approaching, we'll be on the go more (if that's possible) It's good to be armed with the information before hand. But, you don't have to take this book as gospel. Check out websites of the places you like to eat. Find the item on the menu you would normally order, then look for a healthier alternative. Sometimes the things you THINK you're selecting as 'healthy' are not the best choice. Like any other product you purchase, approach your meal options with a 'buyer be ware' attitude and you'll be ahead of the game!

Today we're checking out APPLEBEES. While they offer very little nutritional information on their site, over the years, they are one establishment that has tried to offer healthier combinations. Remember when they worked with Tyler Florence for great grilling options? Yum! The Food not Tyler... well, okay, maybe. I'd LOVE to work in the kitchen with that man just once in my life. Maybe that should be a 'bucket list' item for me.

I started with the items the book offered up (Keep in mind, my copy is 2010).

Chicken Fajita Rollup
1,050 calories
Chipotle Chicken rolled in a flour tortilla with melted montery jack and cheddar cheeses, shredded lettuce and pico de gallo and served with a Mexican Ranch dipping sauce.
We have this mindset - and you'll hear me make this reference often - that tortilla's are the better choice over break. Not true in most cases. Unless you're using a corn tortilla, than the option is a little better.

Italian Chicken Portobello Sandwich
360 Calories
Now there's a swap for you. A drop of almost 700 calories!
While this item is no longer listed on their menu, I can tell you what makes it a better pick. Lean Protein, Fresh Vegetables and a side of fresh fruit.

My Choice
Classic Turkey Breast
Though no calorie count is given, for a sandwich option this is one of the better choices. Thick slices of lean turkey, lettuce, tomato on a Ciabata bun - A light, airy bun. I recommend asking for the Smokey Mayo on the side and use it sparingly. Add an Unsweet Tea and you have a light lunch.

Most of their sandwiches are heavy in BACON (I know) and CHEESE. Keep in mind, even if you're striving for H Protein, L Carb, the bacon is okay but the cheeses they use are HARD cheeses and best eaten in moderation.

Other Options:
Weight Watchers
They offer 3 options:
Grilled Jalapeno Lime Shrimp (8 WW points)
          Served with black bean corn salsa on a bed of grilled zucchini and marinated tomatoes
           w/ a side of white rice
Creamy Parmesan Chicken (12 WW points)
           Grilled chicken breast, creamy au gratin parmesan sauce.
            Served w/ steamed spinach and mushroom rice pilaf
Lemon Parmesan Shrimp (13 WW points)
           Blackened shrimp sauted with tomatoes, onions and basil.
           Served on a bed of white rice

The problem with each of these is not what you might think. It is NOT the rice. Rather when it comes to calories, the problem is with the shrimp in options 1 & 3 and the CREAM sauce in option 2.

As you can see by the WW points, #1 is the best option here.

Under 500 Calories
If you're going out to dinner, you're going to splurge a little. And based on an avg. calorie count spread out through the day, an extra 100 Calories for 1 meal isn't all that bad... but wait... you've not taken into account an appetizer (PASS  - Really! You're getting enough food on the plate), your beverage (unless you drink water or unsweet tea) and possibly dessert. Okay, I'm the first too admit it's really hard to pass up the Dessert Shooters. They are tiny so I guess that's my 'give'.

Your Under 500 Options are:

Roasted Garlic Sirloin
     7 oz. Sirloin marinated in garlic, grilled to perfection
     Served over sauteed onions. Herbed potatoes and a grilled Portabello mushroom cap stuffed
      w/ creamed spinach round out the plate.

Napa Chicken and Portabello
    Grilled chicken breast topped with portabello mushrooms and onions smothered in a red wine reduction
    Served over sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, red onions and crispy red potato chunks.

Signature Sirloin w/ Garlic Shrimp
     Seasoned shrimp in a light cream sauce top this 7 oz sirloin, grilled to your preference.
     Served with herbed potatoes, seasonal vegies and fresh-made breushetta with sliced almonds

Zesty Roma Chicken and Shrimp
     Grilled chicken breast w/ blackened shrimp.
     Served over red potatoes, zucchini, red onions, Roma tomatoes,  basil and peppers.

All great options. And safe.. until you think about the additives. If you MUST have an appetizer, request a To- Go box WHEN YOU ORDER. As soon as your order arrives, immediately portion the meal in half. Two meals for the price of one. That's two nights you don't have to cook!

I do this when I go to my favorite Mexican restaurant. The amount of food is ridiculous! I bring half home, transfer it to a freezer-safe container and date it. Then I have a meal for later in the week when I have a super busy day in the office and just want to heat something up and veg in front of the TV after I've shut the computer down.

Next Week - We're off to visit HARDEES.
Until then... Enjoy the Journey!

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