Don’t Be Fooled by These Seemingly Healthy Restaurant Items

Next time you dine out, don’t be fooled by these five menu items.
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©(c) Thinkstock Images

(c) Thinkstock Images

By Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.

If you’re trying to eat healthy when dining out, you may be ordering deceptively unhealthy dishes. Next time you head to one of these chains, avoid being fooled by five top menu items.

With mixed greens, pears, Gorgonzola cheese, cranberries and pistachios, this salad appears to be relatively healthy. But if you look at the numbers, the salad contains 618 calories, 45 grams of fat and 11 grams of saturated fat. Almost half of the calories (a whopping 300) comes from the sherry shallot dressing.

Instead: Opt for the Lighter Side Signature Salad, which uses a low-fat version of the sherry shallot dressing for a total of 366 calories, 18 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat.

This vegetarian option has more calories than many of the meat-filled dishes offered at Au Bon Pain. Total calories are 670, with 38 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat and 1,170 milligrams of sodium. Contributing to the calories is the basil pesto, feta and whole-wheat wrap.

Instead: Order the Caprese Half Sandwich (also a vegetarian option on the menu) for 310 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat and 620 milligrams of sodium.

This hot spot for salads is always packed during lunchtime. If you’re ordering the Cobb Salad, you may be in for a calorie shocker. It contains 670 calories, 41 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat and 1,430 milligrams of sodium.

Instead: Try the Palm Beach Salad (with shrimp or grilled chicken) for 240 and 320 calories, respectively. The fat and sodium are also much more reasonable for both.

At Chipotle, you can build your own salad on a bed of romaine. Add one serving each of chicken, brown rice, black beans, cheese and vinaigrette, and you’ve got a salad with 880 calories, 47.5 grams of fat, 12.5 grams of saturated fat and 1,780 milligrams of sodium (that’s 77 percent of your daily recommended maximum for sodium!).

Instead: Ask for a to-go container and save half of the salad for another meal.

Think you’re ordering healthier because the sandwich has chicken? Think again. This bad boy has 840 calories, 38 grams of fat and 2,190 milligrams of sodium — almost an entire day’s worth of sodium in one sandwich! The cheese and bacon add to the high amount of calories and sodium.

Instead: The Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT will give you the bacon you love for a fraction of the calories. One sandwich contains 510 calories, 19 grams of fat and 960 milligrams of sodium.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

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