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On the (Eat) Right Track: Restaurants Offering Lighter Items

Written on August 3, 2011 at 5:27 pm , by

Restaurants are starting to offer healthier versions of favorite meals. (Photo by Peter Ardito)

Last week, McDonald’s announced that the Happy Meal would get a makeover in September. And just a few days ago, The Cheesecake Factory announced that it is stepping up to the plate.

This indulgent restaurant is famous for its high-calorie meals, especially the ginormous cheesecake slice you can order for dessert. Starting next week though, the chain restaurant will reveal a “SkinnyLicious” low-calorie menu for the health-conscious diner.

With nearly 50 new and signature items registering under 590 calories each, guests will have a wide selection of appetizers, entrees and cocktails to choose from to satisfy their palate without feeling like they’re depriving themselves.

So with all of these menu changes, are restaurants finally admitting that they could offer healthier dishes? We’re welcoming the changes with open arms because after all, who doesn’t like a healthier option every now and then? I know I don’t want to worry about my waistline every time I dine out with friends.

Now tell us: Would you eat from The Cheesecake Factory’s low-cal menu or the regular one? Do you care that restaurants are lightening up a bit?

  • Cindy

    I am glad for the lower calorie option. I just wish that they would also lower the sodium! I am thankful that I can get a 590 – 700 calorie mean, but not at the expense of consuming 1100 – 1400mg of sodium at the same time!!

  • http://www.getfitwithgreg.com Greg Barth

    I am all for it too but don’t buy into it much either. The whole focus is too much on calories and that is it. Like Cindy says; what about sodium and the 900 other ingredients that they use to load up each “food” item? Play it safe and healthy and eat as many whole foods as possible. It can be just as easy as fast food without the risk to your energy level and waist line.

  • Dan Berman

    That’s nothing new. Belgian Fries franchise Chipsy King has been offering low-fat (75% less fat) fries for over a year I believe.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chipsy-King/140320812663902

  • Pingback: More Restaurants Hop on the Healthier Menu Bandwagon | The Fit Stop

  • Kenia

    I just tried the Fit Fare Omelet at Denny’s: came with two slices of turkey bacon, and a side of fruit. Their Fit Fare line is 550 calories or less.
    I have to say, it was pretty good!

    I agree with the above commenters: There’s more to healthy eating than just the calories. There’s sodium, there’s chemicals that exist within ingredients (High fructose corn syrup, etc), or when you order “wheat,” you don’t *really* know if it’s whole or if it’s still stone ground flour. There are pesticides (whereas some people are able to choose to eat organic at home). Etc, etc.
    But while of course it’s a better option to eat healthy at home, let’s face it: we have social lives and we end up at restaurants/pot lucks/BBQs, etc where we have no control over the food. We can simply do our best when choosing from the selection, and low-calorie options is a good start in restaurants. It’s impossible for restaurants to offer 100% healthy foods overnight. With time, we’ll slowly head in that direction–it just so happens they decided to put to focus on calories first.