Meals - Healthy, Diet-Friendly Restaurants

Meals prepared at home are not only cheaper than restaurant food; they’re also healthier. For those times when you want to relax with a dinner out, though, there are healthy options. Read on to learn about diet-friendly meals offered at popular restaurants, as well as what to avoid when you dine out.

Best and Worst Choices at Olive Garden

Order: lunch-sized portion of Capellini Pomodoro. Ask for the smaller portion of this classic Italian dish, and you'll shave 360 calories off of your meal. The lunch-sized portion contains just 480 calories and 11 grams of fat, with a mere 2 grams of saturated fat. Because it is relatively low in calories, you can afford to enjoy it with one of Olive Garden's famous breadsticks, which each contain 150 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.

Avoid: Chicken Alfredo Dinner. A veritable dietary disaster, this dish contains 1,430 calories, 82 grams of fat, and 48 grams of saturated fat. Pair it with a drink and a few breadsticks, and you've consumed enough calories for the entire day.

What to Order at Applebee's

Order: Cajun Lime Tilapia. Topped with lime juice and black bean and corn salsa, this dish is bursting with flavor. Served with rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables, the meal contains 310 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Avoid: Oriental Chicken Salad. Don't assume that this dish is healthy simply because it's a salad. The full-sized portion contains 1,310 calories and 95 grams of fat. The meager half-sized portion isn't much better, as it packs 48 grams of fat, nearly meeting the recommended daily maximum of 65 grams.

Diet-Friendly Dishes at LongHorn Steakhouse

Order: Citrus Grilled Chicken. The entree portion of this dish contains just 520 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat.

Avoid: Western Cheese Fries. This appetizer portion packs 1,730 calories and nearly 100 grams of fat, as well as more than twice the maximum recommended amount of sodium for one day. Even if you're splitting the dish, it's still a poor choice, whether you're looking to lose weight or to simply engage in a healthier lifestyle.

What to Eat at Chili's

Order: Guiltless Grill Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. Served on a whole wheat bun with a side of fresh vegetables, this entrée contains 386 calories and 7 grams of fat.

Avoid: Fajita Steak Quesadilla. One order provides nearly 2,000 calories, as well as 106 grams of fat and 5,580 milligrams of sodium.

Even with these healthier options available, it's still important to remember that a majority of restaurant dishes are not particularly healthy or diet-friendly. That being said, restaurant meals should be an occasional treat.

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