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BellaOnline's Cooking for Kids Editor

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Eating Healthy While Eating Out

Guest Author - Brandii Lacey

If your family is trying to eat healthier but still want to enjoy your favorite restaurants, don't fret! I compared the nutritional content of four entrees that I order regularly at a restaurant called Chili’s (one of my favorites).

I love many items on Chili’s menu, but I also love getting healthier by watching my calorie and fat intake. I was surprised at how the calorie, fat, and sodium content differed between similar entrees.

Guiltless Chicken Platter, 1 serving:

• 580 Calories 9 grams of fat 2780 mg of sodium

Guiltless Chicken Sandwich, 1 serving:

• 490 Calories 8 grams of fat 2720 mg of sodium

The sodium figures are not typos! Both of these dishes contain more sodium in one serving than the recommended daily sodium intake. I had no idea I was consuming that much sodium in one serving of these meals. If I order either of these in the future, I will know to be extra careful about my sodium intake for that day.

Chili’s also has great salads. I picked two of my favorite, and compared their nutrition content.

Quesadilla Explosion Salad with Ranch Drizzle

• 980 calories 48 grams of fat 2410 mg of sodium

Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette (served with salad), 2 fluid ounces:

• 340 calories; 33 grams of fat 300 mg of sodium

Total calorie/fat content for one serving of the above salad with dressing:

• 1320 calories 77 grams of fat 2710 mg of sodium

Grilled Caribbean Salad:

• 440 calories 10 grams of fat 1410 mg of sodium

Low fat vinaigrette:

• 40 calories 0 gram of fat 520 mg of sodium

Total calorie/fat content for one serving of the above salad with dressing:

• 480 calories, 10 grams of fat 1930 mg of sodium

All of the above meals are delicious. However, the Grilled Caribbean Salad with low fat vinaigrette seems like a better choice if you are watching calories. In addition, Chili’s offers steamed seasonal veggies with are very tasty.

Here are some additional tips for eating healthy while eating out:

• Substitutions! Opt for the low fat dressings and sauces.

• If you have to have a little mayonnaise, ask for it on the side.

• Make sure to study the nutritional information of dishes that seem like they’d be the obvious selections for low fat or light. You just might be surprised—I know I was!

Chili's did an excellent job in providing detailed and accurate information on all of their menu items. They are a very family friendly restaurant and have a wide variety of items to eat.

I appreciate it when restaurants take the time to include their nutritional information on their websites. Thanks to the nutritional information provided, you and your family can eat healthy while eating out.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Brandii Lacey. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Brandii Lacey. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Kymberly Morgan for details.

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