How to Avoid Summer Diet Disasters: 4 Skinnier Restaurant Menu Picks

By ABC News

Jul 18, 2013 8:25am

Think you’re being healthy opting for sliders instead of a big burger while eating out at your favorite chain restaurant? Think again. Many diners make what they think are healthier choices, but those choices actually amount to full-blown diet disasters.

Dave Zinczenko, author of the best-selling series, “Eat This, Not That” who joins ABC News as a nutrition and wellness editor, appeared on “Good Morning America” today and revealed dishes that diners often order that may be hurting their summer slim-down plans. Read below to see what dishes will help you save on calories.

Dave Zinczenko’s ‘Eat It to Beat It Picks

1. Burger

Chili’s Big Mouth Bites (4 sliders)

1,790 calories, 111 g fat, 130 g carbs, 4,100 mg sodium

It amounts to more than a day’s worth of calories for the average American woman, but it’s the salt that’s really shocking. These sliders are salted with as much sodium as 35 servings of Kettle Sea Salt Potato Chips.

‘Eat It to Beat It’ Burger Pick

  • Chili’s Classic Sirloin

250 calories, 7 g fat, 12 g carbs, 38 g protein, 5 g fiber, 1,470 mg sodium

You save 1,570 calories and 2,630 mg of sodium with this menu pick.

 

2. Smoothie

  • Jamba Juice Strawberry Surf Rider (large “power”)

640 calories, 2 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 154 g carbs, 139 g sugar

Surf Rider? More like Couch Rider. This summery treat packs as much sugar as eight candy necklaces or one 7-foot-long candy necklace!

‘Eat It to Beat It’ Smoothie

  • Jamba Juice Berry Blend Smoothie (large “power”)

390 calories, 5 g fat, 95 mg sodium, 74 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 54 g sugar, 13 g protein

Save 250 calories (that’s 24 pounds of body fat in a year, if you do it daily) and 85 g of sugar. You’ll also get a third of your daily fiber needs, 140 percent of your vitamin C and a whopping 13 g of protein.

 

3. Shake

  • Sonic’s Oreo Sonic Blast (large)

1,780 calories, 93 g fat, 1,270 mg sodium, 177 g sugar

That’s as many calories as 16 bags of cotton candy on a stick. (The stick is usually one ounce, and the bag is two ounces).

‘Eat It to Beat It’ Shake

  • Root Beer float (medium)

520 calories, 23 g fat, 270 mg sodium, 75 g carbs, 73 g sugar, 7 g protein

Save 1,340 calories, 70 g of fat, and 104 g of sugar by sipping on a root beer float instead of the blast.

 

4. Salad

  • California Pizza Kitchen Waldorf Salad

1,290 calories, 84 g fat, 1,945 mg sodium, 83 g carbs, 55 g sugar, 13 g fiber, 45 g protein

So you went healthy and ordered the salad? You’ve just eaten as many calories as six corn dogs, and as much sugar as 11 Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins!

‘Eat It to Beat It’ Salad

  • California Pizza Kitchen Half Caesar Salad

250 calories, 20 g fat, 343 mg sodium, 10 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 7 g protein

Save 1,040 calories, 64 g of fat and 52 g of sugar with the half-salad size.

 

Chilis, CPK, and Jamba Juice told ABC News they offer a variety of options, including healthy choices, on their menus. Read full statements from the companies below.


Statement from Chili’s Grill & Bar:
“Chili’s Grill & Bar is committed to providing our guests with a range of menu options that taste great and fit their lifestyles, whether they are seeking more indulgent menu items or better-for-you foods. For instance, our Lighter Choices menu features seven entrees that deliver the same bold, flavorful tastes guests crave all for less than 675 calories. Additionally, guests are always welcome to substitute side items or ask for adjustments in the preparation of their meal to meet specific dietary needs.”

Statement from Jamba Juice:
“At Jamba Juice we pride ourselves on providing a variety of better-for-you whole fruit smoothies and fresh squeezed juices.  We understand the importance of a balanced diet and provide options to satisfy each individual customer.

We have worked closely with expert dietitians to create healthy options like the Fruit & Veggie line of smoothies that provide 3 full servings of fruits and vegetables in each16-oz size, all for under 250 calories that have no added sugars, artificial flavors or preservatives. Additionally, our Jamba Kids meal provides up to two and a half fruit or vegetable servings in each smoothie, all for under 200 calories.”

Statement from California Pizza Kitchen SVP Culinary Innovation Brian Sullivan:
“We strive to offer our guests variety to fit their dietary needs, and have a range of menu items under 650 calories, including the Classic Cesar, Roasted Vegetable and Chinese Chicken salads. We also offer a new lite adventures menu which offers a number of lower calorie options, including the quinoa + arugula salad and shrimp scampi zucchini fettucini.” 

Comment from Sonic:
A Sonic spokesperson told ABC News that shakes are special treats and that a root beer float is a good alternative for a customer who is looking for fewer calories and grams of sugar.

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