Diet Friendly Dining: Bob Evans


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

Since the response to our Food on the Run series has been so positive, we thought it would be nice to sit down and relax a bit.

Casual dining restaurants are not as good about sharing their nutrition information as the fast food folks. However, there is still guideline information that can help you make diet friendly choices when sitting down to dine. So, our new series will take a look at specific restaurants and provide information that we hope will help the next time you go out for a casual meal.

Welcome to our new series – Diet Friendly Dining!

We have previously established in the Food on the Run series that we are trying to select entrees that are around 250 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving or less. For Diet Friendly Dining guidelines, we encourage you to aim for a complete meal that is 500 calories and 15-20 grams of fat or less. For many people that will be about one third of their daily calorie allowance. While this is not unreasonable, it can be challenging and may require some adjustments with other meals and snacks throughout the day depending on your typical eating pattern. Remember that adjustments can always be made if you plan ahead so one of the best tips for diet friendly dining is to make your dining out plans ahead of time. Not only will this allow you to be smart with your meal selection planning for the day, it will also allow you to make exercise plans as well. Fitting in an extra 10-15 minutes or splitting a workout into a morning and evening session can be beneficial on dining out days and helpful tools for success while enjoying dining away from home.

Today we will start our new series by providing some guidelines to consider when dining at Bob Evans Restaurants. Please keep in mind that sodium intake will always be on the high side when dining away from home. One of reasons we are starting this series with Bob Evans is because they are great about sharing their nutritional information. So, if sodium content is of special concern because of a health condition, be sure to plan ahead and review the nutrition information closely before heading to the restaurant.

It is possible to select a healthy breakfast without blowing your calorie and fat budget for the rest of the day but it starts with smart choices. Some of the healthier choices include hot cereals like grits and oatmeal, yogurt and fruit combinations and the new Fit from the Farm Breakfast combinations. If omelets are your thing, ordering your own with a focus on vegetables like a 4 oz omelet with peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions instead of a menu highlight that includes cheese and other sauces would be the way to go. If cholesterol is a concern, be sure to ask for egg substitute for your omelet when ordering.

Many of the salads provide good nutrition. At the same time, they also provide many calories and grams of fat because of their large portion size. The Cobb salad for instance provides just under 600 calories and 37 grams of fat without dressing. While this is a nutrient rich choice compared to french fries or hash browns, when you are trying to watch your weight - calories are calories. Your best choice will be a Savor size salad with a side of dressing such as vinegar & oil, Lite Ranch or Hot Bacon.

Most sandwiches provide over 500 calories and 20 grams of fat. When selecting a sandwich choose a half sandwich like the Half Chicken Salad, Half Turkey Bacon Melt, Grilled Cheese or Grilled Chicken sandwiches.

Dinner selections can get quite high in calories, fat and sodium. Selecting items a la carte instead of featured meal can save you calorie wise but may cost a bit more. Remember to avoid the fried entree options, ask for sauces or gravies to be left off or served on the side. There are many healthy side items to make your meal complete. Some of the best side choices to select include a plain baked potato, fruit cup, applesauce, green beans, carrots, or broccoli florets. Select a dinner roll instead of a biscuit and take one home with you if you are served more than one.

A cup or bowl of soup can be a filling and lower calorie selection so be sure to check on the soup of the day. Most are less than 300 calories and less than 10 grams of fat. The exception to that would be the Cheddar Baked Potato and the Sausage Chili and these would not be your better choices since they are higher in both calories and fat.

Finally, for smaller serving sizes for young and old alike, be sure to check out the Kids Menu as well as the Senior Menu. Many restaurants do not stick to the age limit as printed so be sure to ask your server if you can select from these menu options letting them know you are interested in the smaller serving sizes they provide.

What are some of your diet friendly choices at Bob Evans? What restaurants would you like us to look at for Diet Friendly Dining?

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    Unfortunately, the quality of calories is also important and most of their selections are made with processed ingredients. While it is possible to find something to eat, trying to stay as natural as possible isn't easy at Bob Evans. - 5/29/2009   8:20:58 AM
  • 41
    I had never heqrd of Bob Evans until I joined Sparkpeople. I saw items on the food list for the nutrition tracker and I thought Bob Evans was a line of frozen and packaged foods; I thought it was a product line available in the south or midwest - I live in the Northeast. Then I found out that it's a restaurant. Obviously, there isn't one near me. It would be interesting to check out. - 5/29/2009   8:17:56 AM
  • 40
    I am shocked that alot of people have never heard of Bob Evens. I thought it was a nation-wide restaurant.

    With that being said they have fantastic coffee! And since I go there maybe twice a year at the most I always make sure to get a buttermilk biscuit with honey. Yum!! I keep my breakfast portion small with 1 scrambled egg on the side.

    OTG - 5/29/2009   7:25:42 AM
  • 39
    I've never heard of a Bob Evans' Restaurant. I imagine it is something like a Perkin's or Denny's? - 5/29/2009   7:15:41 AM
  • 38
    I have yet to eat at a Bob Evans Restaurant. In the short time sinc I've been a Sparkie I've eaten twice at B.J.'s because I enjoy their barbeque chicken salad. Now I find out from the nutrition tracker that the salad is extremely high in the water retention causing culprit, SALT!!! - 5/29/2009   3:43:19 AM
  • 37
    My husband and I eat at Bob Evans a couple times a month. My favorite dinner there is the grilled salmon dinner, which the two of us often share. We order it (with the garlic or wildfire bbq sauce on the side) with a baked potato and split the meal, adding in an extra side of vegetables. We have found that this satisfies us with moderate portion sizes and we don't leave feeling like we have porked out. - 5/29/2009   12:48:33 AM
  • 36
    I like to have their fresh banana bread or other seasonal flavor, with a plate of fruit. I love the wildfire chicken salad, but it is way to large. I usually only eat half of the salad and save the other half or split with someone. It cuts the calories down to around 300 before you add dressing. - 5/28/2009   10:59:17 PM
  • 35
    How about Friendly's? - 5/28/2009   10:51:02 PM
  • 34
    I have never heard of this restaurant. I'd love to see a review for Olive Garden or Red Robin. - 5/28/2009   10:42:43 PM
    Do they have any low carb selections? - 5/28/2009   10:06:41 PM
  • 32
    Ok so I read this article and couldnt help but leave a comment. I work at Bob Evans,have for many years. We always keep nutritional info on hand. All you have to do is ask a server and they will give you a copy to look at. We offer many nutritional items. The only thing is you can order off seniors for no additional charge, but to order the kids meals will cost $2 extra. So many people get upset about that but it would be hard to stay in business if everybody ate for under $4. - 5/28/2009   10:00:39 PM
  • 31
    I would love to see some mexican food chains (Chevy's, Garcia's, etc) - 5/28/2009   9:44:50 PM
    I love Bob Evans and always get my omelets made with just egg whites!! Big savings on the calories - 5/28/2009   8:51:07 PM
  • 29
    How about Cheddars or Ichabon chinese restaraunt. - 5/28/2009   8:46:30 PM
  • 28
    I've really enjoyed the Bob Evans omelets with their egg substitutes. I need to limit my cholesterol and these omelets (no cheese) have been a great help when we have breakfast out. - 5/28/2009   8:39:36 PM
  • 27
    i dont eat out as much as i used to but cool - 5/28/2009   7:36:59 PM
  • 26
    This is a great series of articles. I would like to hear some best choices at Denny's, especially on their night menu. If we are out late, this is the only place open in our area and it is so difficult to find something on their night menu that doesn't seem to be loaded with fat. - 5/28/2009   6:46:57 PM
  • 25
    How about checking out places like Golden Corral or Ruby Tuesday's? - 5/28/2009   5:47:01 PM
  • 24
    These articles are great. Please keep them up.
    Outback. - 5/28/2009   5:27:24 PM
  • 23
    Please review IHOP. I think they're pretty widespread. - 5/28/2009   5:15:41 PM
  • 22
    Thanks for starting with Bob Evans - it's a nice family restaurant - I suspect that they don't have much that is okay for most of us to eat without making substitutions; however...I'm looking forward to reading the results. - 5/28/2009   4:53:38 PM
  • 21
    Cracker Barrel doesn't provide nutritional information either.

    To those requesting restaurants -- if you can find nutrition facts on the restaurant's web site, it's easy to make your own recommendations and healthy choices. Read the SP article titled "The Bikini Diet" if you haven't already, because it tells you how to build a healthy meal simply by where you put different things on the plate and how much space you allot. You can employ those strategies at buffets or at other sit-down restaurants by ordering something with a lean protein that fills 1/4 of an 8 or 9" plate, starch (bread, rice, etc.) that fills 1/4 of the plate, and fill the other half with veggies. It usually ends up around 500 calories. - 5/28/2009   4:44:09 PM
    Sorry, JOEJOES1960. TGI Friday's does not provide nutritional info on its website. - 5/28/2009   4:36:48 PM
  • 19
    New rules have gone into effect in the county around Seattle requiring all restaurants to post or provide nutritional information. I first saw this while grabbing a quick breakfast at the airport before a flight. It gets hard to order when you have to look at the calorie counts posted right on the menu board of Burger King and Starbucks. - 5/28/2009   4:00:12 PM
    other states might want to apply some pressure to their legislators. In New York, California and Washington State there are laws requiring restaurants to post nutrition information. Kind County (here in WA State) Requires a minimum of Calorie content, fat, sodium and carbohydrates be posted for every restaurant that has more than 10 chains nationwide.

    It's made eating out MUCH easier for me. - 5/28/2009   3:58:11 PM
  • 17
    i'd love for you to review Maverick's Steak House, thanks so much - 5/28/2009   3:51:35 PM
  • 16
    I eat a Bob Evans regularly and their food is really good over all. I always get Savor Size salads becuase they cost less. I've tried their egg substitute and I think it's disgusting, so if you go and are in the mood for eggs then have the real eggs. They are also very good about making special orders (No cheese no problem) or substitutions (garden salad instead of fries no problem) - 5/28/2009   3:50:18 PM
  • 15
    Please, please, please review T.G.I.Friday's. It is my mom's and my daughters' favorite restaurant, and I always hate going there because it is so hard to find accurate nutritional information on the web. Also, Bob Evans is not a national chain; I've only seen them when I lived in Ohio. Don't know if they have an equivalent down south or out west. - 5/28/2009   3:38:26 PM
  • 14
    I always check ahead to see if a restaurant offers nutritional info. If they do, I just plan everything in advance, and it's easy. But most don't. OK, how about Macaroni Grill? They are all over, and you are totally left guessing! - 5/28/2009   3:28:45 PM
  • 13
    Check out /. You can find nutrition facts there from dozens of restaurants. Applebees has a Weight Watchers section for their menu, and Chili's has a "Guiltless Grill" section that is also good. - 5/28/2009   3:28:00 PM
  • LITHE11
    How about IHOP (International House of Pancakes)? - 5/28/2009   2:49:01 PM
    Please check out the calorie counts at Cracker Barrell. - 5/28/2009   2:36:57 PM
  • 10
    Thanks for the info on Bob Evans. I'd really be interested in smart(er) choices at Texas Roadhouse. - 5/28/2009   2:34:54 PM
  • 9
    Good article. My husband and I eat there every Wednesday night after church. You can also check out their nutrition facts on thier webpage. I try to do this before I go out to eat anywhere so that I know what I am able to eat. - 5/28/2009   2:30:53 PM
  • 8
    Bob Evans is a pretty widespread restaurant in the midwest/east. Octolush, there are many areas that don't have a TGI Friday's, not to mention the fact that they also don't provide nutrition facts, making it difficult to get the information to write an article like this. - 5/28/2009   2:24:18 PM
  • 7
    We don't have Bob Evans in AZ that I am aware of, at least no where I have seen. Still you provided some very universal tips to help me when I order out. Thank you! - 5/28/2009   2:14:17 PM
  • 6
    Never heard of the place but thanks - 5/28/2009   2:07:52 PM
  • 5
    What the heck is Bob Evans? It would be nice if you reviewed something found a little more widespread. Like TGIF ? - 5/28/2009   2:01:03 PM
  • 4
    We go to Bob Evans often, as they are affordable and have choices for every taste. I normally order the Spinach, Bacon & Tomato Biscuits, I ask for no hollandaise sauce and for fruit instead of potatoes. I get everything I need, protein, carbs, vitamins and a little fix of bacon ... what else can somebody ask for???!!! :) - 5/28/2009   1:40:16 PM
  • WRITER28
    My husband and I like Bob Evans and we eat there on occasion. My favorite meal is the turkey dinner but I know it's high in salt, and probably fat as well. But I eat 1/2 the meal and take the rest home; it's very filling. - 5/28/2009   1:28:27 PM
  • 2
    Please check out Waffle House. My wife likes to go there a lot. I thought I was doing ok but was shocked to learn how high in calories the hash browns were. I hope you can recommend some alternatives. - 5/28/2009   1:17:46 PM

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