In my purse, I keep a list of food choices for when I am out and about. This way, I can still make good food choices even at restaurants. (They also make various smart phone apps that do the same thing.)
But many times there are places that I cannot justify going to. Either the "food" is so far removed from actual food that I don't want to eat it, or the calories in the meals are just too high to bother. Two restaurants were on my "No Go!" list. Until now.
The Olive Garden
With superhuman size portions and blood sugar skyrocketing bread sticks, the last time I went, I tried to order off the kid's menu just to find something reasonable. But my waiter didn't cooperate. So I haven't been back in 3 years. But last week, friends wanted to go, so I checked out the nutrition facts again and was delighted to see something that looked yummy and met my caloric needs:
Venetian Apricot Chicken
At only 400 calories (dinner portion), and with two veggies, it was a winner for me. I asked for my own salad (dressing on the side saves 160 calories, skipping the cheese and croutons saves even more) and skipped the bread sticks (150 calories) and saved my hunger for the chicken. Which was really, really good.
Kenny and Zukes
A Portland, Oregon institution, Kenny and Zukes is a Jewish style deli that offers enormous portions. Martin and I tried sharing something once, and it was still too big for us. And afterwards, I felt bloated and ill. Recently, after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, chef, Ken Gordon has created a "Healthier Options" portion of the menu. Trimmed down and full of whole grains and veggies, these choices are much more my style. And the nutrition facts are listed on their website.(Yay!)
I intend on rewarding them for their forward thinking menu by stopping by soon.
Update: On June 9, 2012 I finally got my butt over to Kenny & Zukes. The healthy burger was no longer on the menu (because no one was buying it) so I had the Chicken Toastie instead. It was really, really good! My husband had the Pastrami, and our friend had the turkey club. And they said the sandwiches were excellent.
While very firmly on my "Go!" list, Chipotle has recently given me even more reason to like it by adding brown rice to their menu.
Things are getting better out there, we nutrition wise consumers just need to keep asking for it!