Last month I explored the new light side menu at Brio Tuscan Grille and shared how to enjoy an Italian dinner while still making healthy choices.
This week, I put my skills to the test with another chain restaurant: Red Lobster. My preference is to enjoy small local restaurants, but when traveling or dining with less than healthy eaters chain restaurants ensure you can review menu in advance and will receive the same thing at each location.
Many people assume all seafood dishes are healthy, but the truth is many are covered in high calorie sauces, creams or deep fried. With that in mind, I was excited to explore the new Red Lobster LightHouse Selections menu with lower calorie items, as well as find out how to easily order off the regular menu.
Each LightHouse item provides a calorie count, fat and sodium, but does not include a detailed list of ingredients, which can make it hard to determine if the option is truly healthy or just low in calories. The chef made it very clear you can absolutely have anything cooked without butter. This confirms the old phrase “don’t be afraid to ask!”
A few LightHouse Menu examples include:
Bar Harbor Salad with Shrimp: Prior to adding dressing this salad is 260 calories, 9g fat, 350mg sodium. Try using cocktail sauce as your dressing for a fun way to mix things up and it’s only 40 calories per oz.
HEALTHY DINER NOTES
All of the LightHouse menu items are listed at under 300 calories. However, the menu does not include information on fat or protein, which means these meals may not be filling or entirely healthy. Add a serving of roasted vegetables to any entrée to bulk up the fiber and create a meal that will satisfy.
If you go in for the new Express Lunch, avert your eyes from the cookies placed next to checkout. Each one clocks in at almost 400 calories and will no doubt leave you resting your head on your desk as you spiral back down from the sugar high.
HEALTHY DINER RECOMMENDED
The Red Lobster experience is frequently defined by the Cheddar Bay Biscuits you smell from the moment you walk in the door. If you truly can’t enjoy your meal without it, then ask the server only to leave enough for each person to have one and never let them refill the basket.
Each innocent looking biscuit contains on average 150-200 calories. Runners in the group, like myself, might try to convince you these are to carbo-load for a workout. There is nothing healthy about these and they will not fire up your engines for a workout (read more myths about carbo-loading). Skip them or enjoy one and pass on dessert.
Take advantage of the variety of seafood options to enjoy something you might not make at home like the Island Grilled Mahi-Mahi and Shrimp. Ask for a side of steamed vegetables to replace the rice pilaf and for the papaya-BBQ sauce on the side. The sauce can make this meal a little higher in sugar, but if balanced with the protein of the fish and the vegetable side it will keep your levels steady and your stomach pleasantly full!
This meal review was done from Red Lobster on Colonial Drive.