Midweek Must Mention — Chain Restaurants

*GASP!*

I’m only going to talk about this once, but I feel like I need to give credit where it’s due. I love going out to eat. It is something my family has always done a lot of, either out of convenience or as way to satiate our familial need to be social. It’s something I’ve continued to do throughout adulthood, and consider it to be a very hard habit to break.

Despite the fact that I go out to eat much less nowadays—what, with trying to stick to a stricter budget and now my Weight Watchers regimen—it is something I still like to do occasionally. Some chain restaurants serve a very real purpose for those who are incapable (geographically or mentally) of branching out and trying new, local places, or those who are trying to stick to a new lifestyle/diet. I know I’ve always preached about eating locally—and I still think everyone should—but I have a new-found appreciation for chain restaurants, albeit in moderation.

When I go out to eat, I typically try to find places that serve salmon and broccoli. For dinner, anyway. Here are some of the chain restaurants I’ve found to be very beneficial for my lifestyle and serve dishes other than the standard fish and veggies:

Breakfast
Bruegger’s Bagels (bagel with egg white and cheese; bagel with cream cheese)
McDonald’s (egg white delight and hash brown)
Subway (egg white and cheese on flatbread)

Lunch
Subway (6-in. wheat sub with chicken strips, veggies, and light mayo; apple slices)
Bruegger’s (bagel with light cream cheese and veggies; fruit salad)
Chipotle (bowl with brown rice, chicken, and corn salsa, with sour cream on the side)
Ruby Tuesday (Sliced Sirloin Petite Lunch Plate served with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli)
Panera (You Pick 2 – caesar salad, hold the croutons; cup of low-fat chicken noodle soup)

Dinner
Multiple. I’ve gone to a number of chain restaurants that offer dinner plates and serve fish and vegetables. This isn’t hard to find from American restaurants, steakhouses, and the like. (Examples: Cheddars, LongHorn, Rusty Bucket, and O’Charley’s.)

I’ve learned that there are many great choices to make even while going out to eat. I don’t have to stop doing so entirely, and have grown to love the various “treats” I still get to have while on a diet. It just so happens that means going to more chains. Fortunately, I have also discovered a number of local restaurants that serve diet-friendly food, and look forward to sharing those with you as well.

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