Skip This Side Dish to Save 20 Grams of Fat

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If you've spent any time looking at restaurant menus online, you probably know that ordering the wrong side dish with your meal can put you way over your calorie limit for the day. Like most family chain restaurants, Applebee's offers a side of either soup or salad with any entrée. Both of these dishes may seem like low-calorie choices at first glance. But be careful—those seemingly innocent sides can pack in hundreds of hidden calories. If you were to choose the lower-calorie side option from the Applebee's menu, which would you select: A small Caesar Salad (with dressing), or a bowl of Tuscan Bean with Chicken and Sausage Soup?

The Winner: Tuscan Bean with Chicken and Sausage Soup!

A small Caesar Salad packs in 310 calories and a whopping 27 grams of fat--that's almost a whole meal in itself! The Tuscan Bean with Chicken and Sausage Soup might sound heartier, but the nutrition stats are much easier to swallow at 180 calories and 7 grams of fat per bowl. But not all of Applebees' soups are created equal: Steer clear of the Baked Potato Soup, which contains 460 calories and 32 grams of fat!

TIP: When scanning the menu for a healthy soup, know your ''watch words." stay away from choices with descriptions such as "creamy/cream-based,'' ''cheesy,'' or ''loaded." Instead, gravitate toward broth-based, veggie-packed soups. When in doubt, check the menu online before you leave the house, or ask the restaurant if they provide nutritional information if it's not already listed on the menu.

What side dish do you usually order at restaurants: Soup or salad?