You’re a smart, health-conscious guy who stocks his fridge with good stuff: veggies, lean protein, berries—all the basics for building the ripped body you want. But when you’re on a road trip with the boys or joining the fam for Grandma’s birthday dinner, you don’t always get to pick the place. Instead, you’re left with chain restaurant menu options, many of which don’t gel with what you’d normally eat to stay in shape.
“You never know what could be in the meal you choose,” says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small-Change Diet. “Be aware that just because it sounds healthy doesn’t mean it’s the healthy choice.” Need an example? We’ve taken a look at seven over-the-top fast-food entrées and provided a healthier alternative to each.
Fat Bomb #1: Au Bon Pain Grilled Chicken Avocado Sandwich
Fat: 25g (6g sat fat)
Order instead: Classic Chicken Salad Sandwich
Fat: 11g (1.5g sat fat)
Chicken and avocado: the perfect marriage of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Problem is, blue cheese dressing turns this sandwich into a heavyweight. The Classic Chicken Salad Sandwich, even though it’s made with mayo, will still help you save more than 200 calories and 14g of fat.
Fat Bomb #2: Applebee’s Sizzling Skillet Fajitas with Shrimp
Fat: 47g (21g sat fat)
Order instead: Blackened Tilapia
Fat: 15g (4.5g sat fat)
When you’re grilling them at home, veggie-heavy fajitas make a superlean, nutrient-packed dinner. But at a restaurant, “sizzling” translates to loads of oil and/or butter. Tilapia is a better call here; it’s grilled and not swimming in sauce. Plus, you get a slew of veggies on the side.