As far as healthy food chains go, Chipotle tends to get a lot of love. (And for good reason, TBH.) But let’s be real here: No one wants a burrito bowl every day.
If you’re looking to expand your fast-casual palate, one OG chain actually has a lot to offer: Red Lobster. Surprised? Turns out the seafood joint has some key menu items that are Mediterranean diet-based, keto-approved, and even Whole30-friendly. So next time you’re out, check out these Red Lobster healthy options for your particular eating plan, all vetted by registered dietitian nutritionist Amy Gorin, MS, RDN.
What an RD says: “People following the Mediterranean diet typically eat fish a couple of times a week, so these meals definitely fit the bill in that regard,” Gorin says. If you’re torn between the two, she says the salmon dish will give you the most healthy fats.
Order tweak: The way these dishes are prepared has a more American twist than Mediterranean: lots of butter. “The Mediterranean diet recommends replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil,” Gorin says. Ask your waiter if they can make this tweak for you in the kitchen.
Side dish recommendations: All entrees let you add a side salad or coleslaw, plus an additional side. “I would recommend choosing the salad for both,” Gorin says. (All the mayo in the slaw knocks it back nutritionally.) “For the shrimp scampi, I would suggest choosing the baked potato, and for the wood-grilled dish, this already comes with rice so I would add on an additional vegetable, such as the broccoli or asparagus,” she adds. These orders get pretty big with the sides, so Gorin suggests either sharing your meal with someone or boxing up half to bring home.
What an RD says: The sirloin, shrimp, and snow crab legs all get Gorin’s approval for anyone wanting to stick to a keto eating plan. “The snow crabs have no carbs,” she says.
Side dish recommendations: Once again, Gorin recommends going for the side salad, which she says will keep the carb count low. “The asparagus is a good option, providing healthy vegetables but only four grams of carbohydrates, and the broccoli is another good choice,” she says for your second side dish option. (FYI: The sirloin comes with mashed potatoes plus one other side, so be sure to ask for a second veggie instead of the taters to keep that carb count low.)
Menu pick: Snow crab legs
What an RD says: While a lot of the entrees on Red Lobster’s menu look loaded with butter (a Whole30 no), Gorin says this one meets the diet’s high standards. “The crab legs definitely work because they’re steamed and I don’t see that any other ingredients are added,” she says.
Side dish recommendations: “I’d pair this entree with lots of veggie sides, including a side salad and broccoli or asparagus,” Gorin says. (Shocking, right?) Regardless of what diet you follow, nothing trumps veggies.
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