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Surprising healthy/unhealthy restaurant meals

bigbandjohnbigbandjohn Posts: 565Member Member Posts: 565Member Member
So, everyone. What meals have you found to get when eating out that are either healthier or lower in calories than you would think. In that vein, what about items that are surprisingly unhealthy/high in calories? I know a lot of salads out there tend to be the highest calorie items on the menu once they add all the extras on them.

If you have links to supporting info, please provide them. Thanks.
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Replies

  • estherdragonbatestherdragonbat Posts: 4,203Member Member Posts: 4,203Member Member
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.
  • zeejane03zeejane03 Posts: 177Member Member Posts: 177Member Member
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!
    edited January 10
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Posts: 19,767Member Member Posts: 19,767Member Member
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!

    Candied pecans are so delicious, but it's absolutely shocking how quickly the calories can ad up for them. I don't care, I still eat them a few times a year! That sounds like a really tasty salad.
  • zeejane03zeejane03 Posts: 177Member Member Posts: 177Member Member
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!

    Candied pecans are so delicious, but it's absolutely shocking how quickly the calories can ad up for them. I don't care, I still eat them a few times a year! That sounds like a really tasty salad.

    I'd pretty much be getting the salad for them lol. I took another look at their menu and they do have tasty sounding fish tacos with shrimp so now I'm going back and forth between the two. We've been to this restaurant once before and they do very generous sized portions-last time I got the build your own mac n' cheese bowl and I about died when they brought it out-it was like 3 servings.......and I ate it all o:)
  • no1racefan1no1racefan1 Posts: 277Member, Premium Member Posts: 277Member, Premium Member
    I was surprised to see how different the calories are between Olive Garden and Carrabba's Italian Grill. OG was my favorite for years and years, but after DH and I both developed food sensitivities (onions, tomatoes, and most grains for him; dairy, eggs, wheat, and soy for me) there wasn't much on the OG menu we could enjoy. A year or so ago we decided to check out a Carrabba's while traveling and I was so surprised that not only were there a lot more menu options we could fit into our needs, but the calorie counts were a LOT less than OG's menu. We don't have any chain restaurants other than fast food where we live, so its a treat when we are traveling and get to go to our new favorite!
  • skram01skram01 Posts: 386Member, Premium Member Posts: 386Member, Premium Member
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!

    Here in Pittsburgh it's even worse. Most places add fries and cheese (which I know you mentioned) to their salads, and that's in top of fun things like nuts and fruits.

    I'll add, depending on the place, baked fish. If it had a sauce you can ask to not have it and just squeeze lemon in top. Even with higher calorie fish like salmon, to me it's worth it because it's tasty. I'll take half home if it's a big portion and put it in a salad for lunch the next day. Shrimp are crazy good for their calorie cost. Relatively low calorie and high in protein. Shrimp cocktail for the win!
  • Francl27Francl27 Posts: 26,385Member Member Posts: 26,385Member Member
    The problem with shrimp is that they are either fried or covered in oil, lol - except in shrimp cocktails.

    Appetizers are often a calorie bomb, so I laugh at the 'just have an appetizer' comments sometimes. Salads... unless I crave something specific, I skip them, because they always add nuts/seeds or fruit, and IMO neither of those things should be in salads. And the chicken ones often have fried chicken... and dressings have a bazillion calories.

    I totally agree with the poster that mentioned how much butter is in veggies too. A side of broccoli at Texas Roadhouse is like 120 calories. Ridiculous. Make sure to ask for no butter when you order veggies.

    My go-to is often a small steak with baked potato and veggies as well. I do remember going in vacations though and having a VERY hard time finding something low calorie to eat - the only low calorie options were side salads and I got sick of those after 2 days.

  • hesn92hesn92 Posts: 5,186Member Member Posts: 5,186Member Member
    Pretty much any main entree salad is just plain stupid. I'm not a huge fan of salads as my meal, and I would expect a salad to be lower calorie. But oftentimes they put so much stuff on salads at restaurants that you may as well just get a damn burger or steak or something. I never order an entree salad at a restaurant for this reason. At 54th street they have a buffalo chicken salad that is really good, and it's like 1200 calories. Wtf?
    edited January 11
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Posts: 19,767Member Member Posts: 19,767Member Member
    skram01 wrote: »
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!

    Here in Pittsburgh it's even worse. Most places add fries and cheese (which I know you mentioned) to their salads, and that's in top of fun things like nuts and fruits.

    Fries . . . on a salad? I'd try it!
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 962Member Member Posts: 962Member Member
    skram01 wrote: »
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!

    Here in Pittsburgh it's even worse. Most places add fries and cheese (which I know you mentioned) to their salads, and that's in top of fun things like nuts and fruits.

    Fries . . . on a salad? I'd try it!

    Yeah, that I haven't seen! (I wouldn't mind seeing it, although I'm not convinced it would seem tasty, would have to see the other ingredients.)
  • estherdragonbatestherdragonbat Posts: 4,203Member Member Posts: 4,203Member Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    skram01 wrote: »
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!

    Here in Pittsburgh it's even worse. Most places add fries and cheese (which I know you mentioned) to their salads, and that's in top of fun things like nuts and fruits.

    Fries . . . on a salad? I'd try it!

    Yeah, that I haven't seen! (I wouldn't mind seeing it, although I'm not convinced it would seem tasty, would have to see the other ingredients.)

    I've seen them on pizza, but.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Posts: 19,767Member Member Posts: 19,767Member Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    skram01 wrote: »
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!

    Here in Pittsburgh it's even worse. Most places add fries and cheese (which I know you mentioned) to their salads, and that's in top of fun things like nuts and fruits.

    Fries . . . on a salad? I'd try it!

    Yeah, that I haven't seen! (I wouldn't mind seeing it, although I'm not convinced it would seem tasty, would have to see the other ingredients.)

    I've seen them on pizza, but.

    I had a burrito with french fries in it in California. It was good, my co-worker told me it was a pretty common thing in that area of the state.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 962Member Member Posts: 962Member Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    skram01 wrote: »
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!

    Here in Pittsburgh it's even worse. Most places add fries and cheese (which I know you mentioned) to their salads, and that's in top of fun things like nuts and fruits.

    Fries . . . on a salad? I'd try it!

    Yeah, that I haven't seen! (I wouldn't mind seeing it, although I'm not convinced it would seem tasty, would have to see the other ingredients.)

    I've seen them on pizza, but.

    I think I must be sheltered. ;-)
  • bigbandjohnbigbandjohn Posts: 565Member Member Posts: 565Member Member
    I have found that a 6 ounce sirloin, baked potato and vegetable is much less in calories than most salads on restaurant menus.

    Yes! I went to Texas Stekhouse for lunch and planned on getting a salad, but a steak with 2 sides of steamed broccoli came in under 400, where everything else was much higher!

    skram01 wrote: »
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!

    Here in Pittsburgh it's even worse. Most places add fries and cheese (which I know you mentioned) to their salads, and that's in top of fun things like nuts and fruits.

    I'll add, depending on the place, baked fish. If it had a sauce you can ask to not have it and just squeeze lemon in top. Even with higher calorie fish like salmon, to me it's worth it because it's tasty. I'll take half home if it's a big portion and put it in a salad for lunch the next day. Shrimp are crazy good for their calorie cost. Relatively low calorie and high in protein. Shrimp cocktail for the win!

    Forgive my spellings...

    Premini[sic] Brothers is known for that on their sandwiches. In France, I stopped to get a sandwich. At that stand, A ham sandwich was "Jambon". Add fries and they called it "Jambon Y Frites American". They also deep fried the ham slice.

    Anyone got some other specifics they can name?
  • glassyoglassyo Posts: 3,162Member Member Posts: 3,162Member Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    skram01 wrote: »
    zeejane03 wrote: »
    Shakshuka (Middle Eastern, poached eggs in tomato sauce) is usually healthy and low-cal.

    Restaurant salads can be calorie bombs. Even if you ask for the dressing on the side, many have ingredients like candied nuts, olives, dried fruit, seeds, avocado... all of which are fine in moderation, but can result in significantly more calories than you thought you were getting from "just a salad with dressing on the side". And if it's a tossed salad and, like me, eyeballing amounts is already a challenge, it's just that much harder.

    We're eating out either tonight or this weekend, to use up a gift card, and the main meal salad I'm probably getting is going to be a calorie disaster lol! They don't post calories on their website/menu but its ingredients-Organic mixed field greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, blue cheese, strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette

    And that's after I share an order of Fried Cheese Curds-Crispy fried white & sharp cheddar cheese curds, spicy garlic aioli & Gravity pub sauce, with my husband :p

    It's one meal so I'm not worried about it, but yeah salads can be calorie bombs for sure!

    Here in Pittsburgh it's even worse. Most places add fries and cheese (which I know you mentioned) to their salads, and that's in top of fun things like nuts and fruits.

    Fries . . . on a salad? I'd try it!

    Yeah, that I haven't seen! (I wouldn't mind seeing it, although I'm not convinced it would seem tasty, would have to see the other ingredients.)

    I've seen them on pizza, but.

    I had a burrito with french fries in it in California. It was good, my co-worker told me it was a pretty common thing in that area of the state.

    This sounds so good. There used to be a place (not sure if it's around anymore) that sold hot dogs and pastrami and cheese in a burrito and it was soooooooooooooooooo good. The place was called Danny Dogs, I think.
  • skram01skram01 Posts: 386Member, Premium Member Posts: 386Member, Premium Member
    @bigbandjohn Primanti Brothers puts fries and coleslaw on their sandwiches. It's pretty awesome. @lemurcat2 it actually is good. Frequently it's steak and fries or Buffalo chicken and fries. Both good with ranch dressing or balsamic vinegarette for the steak salad. Neither lends itself to bring low calorie.

    @Francl27 that's why it really depends on where you go. Even if you can get the shrimp sauteed with veggies on pasta (which I've seen), it's not too bad calorically and you can eat less of the pasta. Usually I've seen better (less calorie dense) shrimp options in larger cities that have decent Italian places and/or are asking coastlines (aka - have good seafood restaurants). I grew up at the head of the Chesapeake Bay so you couldn't spit without hitting twelve good seafood places. Although for a large portion of the US you are correct, most of the time shrimp are fried or in a heavy sauce.
  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Posts: 193Member Member Posts: 193Member Member
    For me, takeout is also challenging to keep within my plan for the day. Whenever people around me want to order takeout, I have learned can get normal-sized dinner portions by ordering:

    1. Two Chicken tacos from an authentic taco join (diced chicken with a great marinade, cilantro, onions, and I add avocado)
    2. An avocado roll and a sweet potato tempura roll with spicy mayo from a sushi place
    3. A salad with grilled chicken, no cheese, dressing on the side, and I pick the croutons out
    4. A burger (usually don’t eat the bun) with a side salad

    It’s honestly awesome that I can still have delicious food I love and make it work in my plan. If I want something different, I’ll pack half away.
  • bigbandjohnbigbandjohn Posts: 565Member Member Posts: 565Member Member
    skram01 wrote: »
    @bigbandjohn Primanti Brothers puts fries and coleslaw on their sandwiches. It's pretty awesome. @lemurcat2 it actually is good. Frequently it's steak and fries or Buffalo chicken and fries. Both good with ranch dressing or balsamic vinegarette for the steak salad. Neither lends itself to bring low calorie.

    @Francl27 that's why it really depends on where you go. Even if you can get the shrimp sauteed with veggies on pasta (which I've seen), it's not too bad calorically and you can eat less of the pasta. Usually I've seen better (less calorie dense) shrimp options in larger cities that have decent Italian places and/or are asking coastlines (aka - have good seafood restaurants). I grew up at the head of the Chesapeake Bay so you couldn't spit without hitting twelve good seafood places. Although for a large portion of the US you are correct, most of the time shrimp are fried or in a heavy sauce.

    Primanti! That's it. It's on my bucket list to try one of their sandwiches.
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