Wednesday, August 18

Beware! Just Because It Sounds Healthy Doesn’t Mean It Is

Ah, restaurants, you gotta love ‘em. I certainly do. Especially since I do the majority of the cooking in my family. I relish the opportunity to be waited on, to have someone else prepare a meal, and most of all, to walk away from the dirty dishes littering the table without a care in the world. Plus, with everyone ordering exactly what they want, there’s no whining about the food. No comments like, “Do I have to eat the broccoli?”  “Can I just eat the tops or do I have to eat the stems too?” “If I eat three pieces of broccoli can I have dessert tonight?”

Ugh! The stream of commentary coming from my seven-year-old daughter is endless, but when we dine out she gets to choose her own meal which 99% of the time is mac n’ cheese, and I hear nothing but, “Mmm, that’s yummy. Do they have free refills?”

Who knew serenity could be found in a booth at Red Robin.

But dining out has its pitfalls, most notably, high-caloric, high-fat, sodium-laden food. 

Now however, in an effort to please health-conscious customers, restaurants have devised nutritious-sounding menu options. It's a move in the right direction, but not all healthy entrees are created equal. Just because an item has a heart or a low-fat icon next to it doesn’t mean it’s a good choice. And even some of the better options are still loaded with salt. As always, it’s buyer beware.

Below is a list of some healthy-sounding entrees that you’d be better off skipping, along with some alternate suggestions.


Watch out for this:

Grilled Shrimp and Spinach Salad, without the dressing (720 calories, 53g of fat, 1700mg of sodium)

Crispy Shrimp Caesar Salad, without the dressing (610 calories, 31g of fat, 1520mg of sodium)

Add dressing to these salads and the total calorie count jumps up another 150-220 calories, depending on the dressing.

Eat this instead (and tell them to go easy on the salt): 

Weight Watchers Paradise Chicken, with the dressing (340 calories, 4.5g of fat, 2060mg of sodium)

Weight Watchers Steak and Portobellos, with sides (330 calories, 10g of fat, 1610mg of sodium)

Chili’s Grill & Bar

Watch out for this:

Quesadilla Explosion Salad, with dressing (1400 calories, 88g of fat, 2360mg of sodium)

Eat this instead:

Guiltless Grill, Grilled Salmon with sides (530 calories, 19g of fat, 1640mg of sodium)

Guiltless Grill, Caribbean Salad, with dressing (520 calories, 24g of fat, 630mg of sodium)

Outback Steakhouse

Watch out for this:

New Zealand rack of Lamb with seasonal veggies and garlic mashed potatoes (1816 calories, 148.7g of fat, 2593mg of sodium)

Eat this instead:

Grilled Chicken on the Barbie, with seasonal veggies (587 calories, 26.2g of fat, 1357mg of sodium)

Fresh tilapia with pure lump crab meat and seasonal veggies (649 calories, 39.6g of fat, 755mg of sodium)

California Pizza Kitchen

Watch out for this:

Baja Fish Tacos (976 calories, 50g of fat, 1796mg of sodium)

Ginger Salmon (979 calories, 53g of fat, 2299mg of sodium)

Eat this instead:

Small Cravings Asparagus & Arugula Salad (173 calories, 13g of fat, 442mg of sodium)

Wild Caught Mahi Mahi with Wok-Stirred Vegetables (586 calories, 29g of fat, 1591mg of sodium)

Interested in finding out how your favorite "healthy" dish stacks up? Go to and look it up.

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