The 10 Healthiest Restaurant Dishes of 2012

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We hear in the media all the time about the calorie-laden fare that’s regularly served up at fast-food chains and casual-dining restaurants. But what about the sensible options? Are there any truly healthy choices at restaurants anymore? There sure are—and we’ve got a whole list of them! Here are some of the best restaurant meal options of the year to help make your dining-out decisions a little easier. See if any of your favorites made the cut!

Red Lobster: Bar Harbor Salad with Shrimp
(260 calories/9 g fat/350 mg sodium/21 g protein)
This salad entrée is a nutrient-dense choice that is rich in protein and low in fat and sodium. For a healthy dressing choice, select Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette on the side (80 calories/4 g fat/ 170 mg sodium).
Denny’s: ''Fit Fare'' Omelette
(390 calories/18 g fat/870 mg sodium/34 g protein)
This dish allows you to enjoy a filling and nutritious breakfast any time of day. The omelette is also served with two slices of turkey bacon and seasonal fruit, making it a well-rounded meal. This protein-rich choice is low in sodium and cholesterol to boot!
Extreme Pita: Grilled Chicken Pita
(340 calories/5 g fat/720 mg sodium/28 g protein)
This sandwich is rich in fiber and veggies while containing a reasonable level of sodium. You can cut the sodium level even more by selecting a smaller serving size.
Extreme Pizza: White Out Pizza
(For two slices: 240 calories/1 g fat/510 mg sodium/9 g protein)
This pizza is a great low-fat and lower-sodium option when you’re in the mood for a cheesy slice. This is an especially great pizza option for those limiting saturated fat and cholesterol from dairy.
Longhorn Steakhouse: ''Flavorful under 500'' Flo’s Filet 7 oz. dinner
(450 calories/17 g fat/920 mg sodium/ 40 g protein)
Enjoy this juicy filet with a low-calorie mixed greens side salad and fresh vegetables.  This meal is a lower-fat way to boost your iron and fiber while limiting starches. Be sure to skip the bread basket and request that your meal be prepared with no added salt or butter.
Bob Evans: ''Fit From the Farm'' Grilled Salmon Fillet
(426 calories/13 g fat/172 mg sodium/51 g protein)
This dish is one of the healthiest restaurant meal options for sodium-watchers. Select nutrient-rich sides like fresh steamed broccoli, glazed fresh baby carrots or a baked potato. Remember to ask for no added salt or butter.
Noodles & Co.: Small Bangkok Curry
(240 calories/7 g fat/430 mg sodium/4 g protein)
This bowl is a tasty and lower-sodium vegetarian entrée option. Adding tofu (100 calories/11 g fat/310 mg sodium/16 g protein) will boost the protein of the meal and keep you satisfied longer. Bring your own piece of fresh fruit to round out your meal.
Applebee’s: Napa Chicken & Portobello Dinner
(450 calories/12 g fat/1,480 mg sodium/55 g protein)
This dinner is a nutrient-packed choice if you can afford to splurge on the sodium content. The grilled chicken provides a great low-fat protein source while the sautéed vegetables add a boost of fiber.
Mimis Café: ''Fresh & Fit'' Tilapia Dinner
(477 calories/ 12 g fat/ 358 mg sodium/ 46 g protein)
Enjoy this lean entree with brown rice and steamed vegetables for a low-sodium meal that’s balanced in lean protein, whole grains and vegetables.
Subway: 6” Roast Beef Sandwich
(320 calories/5 g fat/ 700 mg sodium/24 g protein)
Customize your sandwich by selecting 9-grain wheat bread without cheese, mustard or sauces. Load up your sub with fresh, crisp veggies, and munch on a side of apple slices (35 calories).
Eating away from home too much can hinder weight-loss success. However, if you limit the number of times you eat out AND make smart choices when you do, you can stay on track with your weight-loss goals.    

What do all of the healthy meals above have in common? In a nutshell:
  • They focus on lean beef, poultry or fish for the entrée.
  • They come with vegetables or whole grains on the side, rather than deep-fried potatoes.
  • They’re limited on added butter, salt, fat, sauces and sugar.
  • They’re not followed by high-calorie desserts!
The next time you’re dining out, check to see if your chosen meal meets all of these guidelines. If so, it’s probably a healthy pick!

What other healthy dining-out options have you found? Have you tried any of the meals listed above?