Most of the time, I prefer cooking at home because I love to cook, but there are plenty of healthy restaurants that I love to eat out at on special occasions too. The good thing about the obsession with health in our world is that restaurants are taking notice. There aren’t even many fast food places where you can’t get somewhat of a decent salad if you know how to order it right. Sure, restaurant food isn’t going to be as healthy as cooking at home, but some of my favorite restaurants are actually quite impressive in their array of healthy dish options. Many of them are gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, low-carb, and many are even vegan-friendly and raw. I try to remember to eat clean instead of just choose diet options, since clean eating is the freshest, healthiest way to go and to live your life. Depending on your needs, there are plenty of healthy restaurants out there to choose form. Check out my favorites and let me know yours in the comments section below!
1. Ruby Tuesday
Ruby Tuesday is probably at the top of my favorite healthy restaurants. I adore their salad bar, where you can literally load up on raw veggies, different varieties of greens, and plenty of plant protein options like chickpeas, edamame, green peas and nuts and seeds. They have high-protein options like boiled eggs too. I also love their low-cal dressing option, which is simple balsamic vinegar. By avoiding the high fat salad dressings, you can really make the salad bar a completely healthy meal. I always order a side of salsa, which is excellent, and top my salads with that too! If you order off the menu, they have tons of healthy seafood options and steamed veggies too. Just be sure to order any steamed veggies with no oils or butter, because they are cooked in a natural margarine spread if you don’t ask. You can visit their website at rubytuesday.com.
2. Longhorn Steakhouse
Longhorn is possibly my favorite steakhouse. Their website is incredible for listing all dishes that contain gluten, and giving wonderful directions for how to order gluten-free. They also have a fantastic lower calorie menu, and their website is full of complete nutrition information. I love ordering off of their 500 calorie or under menu, which contains my favorite dinner entrée, the Grilled Rainbow Trout. I love their steamed asparagus and healthy salad dressing options as well. To see locations and their menu, check it out here: longhornsteakhouse.com.
3. Outback Steakhouse
Outback is my second favorite steakhouse. They have a fantastic Norwegian Salmon entrée that is rich in Omega 3s and low in saturated fat and carbs. I always order steamed veggies and a side salad, and I always leave satisfied. If you’re not into fish, check out their amazing Grilled Chicken on the Barbie, which is fabulous. For other tasty options, visit their website at outbacksteakhouse.com.
4. Panera Bread
Last year, Panera revealed that they have a “secret menu,” which I’m still wondering why they are keeping a secret to begin with! Their secret menu is full of healthy, cleaner and lower carb options like turkey and veggies; hormone-free chicken, veggies and a salad; hummus, hormone-free chicken and veggies over a salad; or turkey and a salad. You can also order a protein-rich egg omelet and even a grilled steak and salad entrée. Learn more by visiting mypanera.panerabread.com.
5. Copper River
Copper River can be a really unhealthy restaurant to eat at if you order the nacho fries, pizza, or larger portioned meals. However, if you’re smart and know how to choose healthy options, there are plenty of things available. My favorite entrée to order is the Grilled Salmon Salad, which comes with zesty olives and artichokes, fresh scallions, sweet romaine lettuce, fresh tomatoes and your choice of salad dressing. I always choose the no dressing option and squeeze a little lemon juice on top of mine, which complements the salmon perfectly. Since the salmon is so rich and filling, you don’t need a dressing, and if you’re still hungry, feel free to order a healthy side like a plain sweet potato or grilled asparagus or broccoli. This restaurant is great for ordering fish at since all the fish comes straight from Copper River, Alaska, where it is wild-caught. The chain also just supplied customers with a new menu that provides lower calorie options without any gluten at all. Check it out here: copperrivergrill.com.
6. Whole Foods Market
I hope you’re not surprised that I included my favorite store in the world on this list! Whole Foods is a great place to consider a healthy restaurant, and if I was on the road traveling, it would be a go-to stop for me if I was near a local Whole Foods. Whole Foods is full of clean, quality food options when it comes to eating at their in store restaurant. They have some options that they feature on a regular basis, and others that are specialties. Whether you are vegan, raw, Paleo, low-fat, or you just like good food, Whole Foods has it! You really can’t beat the many options Whole Foods has, and be assured that you’re getting a truly healthy, clean meal. You can visit their website at wholefoodsmarket.com to find one near you!
7. Bone Fish Grill
If you like fish, look no further! Bone Fish is the best place to get some really great fish! I love their Chilean Sea Bass, Norwegian Salmon or Idaho Rainbow Trout. They are grilled and baked, just like fish should be to preserve its soft, buttery flavor. They also have steak and chicken entrees, along with some vegetarian options. Most of their menu options are naturally low in calories, but you’ll need to avoid sauces if you want to avoid added fat and sodium. Pair any dish with some veggies or a side salad to keep things light and healthy! You can find more options on their website here: bonefishgrill.com.
What’s your favorite healthy restaurant to eat at? Or, what do you look for when you’re out to eat and want to eat healthy? Share your advice with me so I can learn your tips and tricks!