When I travel I always go hog wild! I eat French fries and fried chicken at all the roadside joints, and snack on chips and cookies during the long miles stuck on the freeway. Nonetheless, two days of gorging processed foods gets old. On the same token I feel deprived eating plain grilled chicken and veggies while Mr. Junk Food Junkie stuffs his face with a burger and milkshake. I wish I knew what tasted good and what tasted like cardboard when it comes to eating healthy while dining out.
Well, a few weeks ago Longhorn invited me to taste their flavorful under 500 menu. A light bulb went off in my mind. Though I already had plans to review their menu, I thought I should make this a weekly thing. Here’s the plan: I’ll drop in on fast food joints and chain restaurants and order from their “healthy menu.” I will then post a weekly review. I’ll do the research and tasting so you don’t have too. Now I have to come up with a name for this weekly special. hmmmmm…… Well, I will come back to that. Feel free to shout ideas in the comments below.
After several yummy and scrumptious bites, I give you the buzz on Longhorn’s Flavorful Under 500 Menu:
I put to the test the Sierra Chicken. It’s a small grilled chicken breast with tomato basil on top. It comes with a house salad (lettuce, onion and cucumber) and raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I ordered the veggies which consisted of broccoli, carrots, and sugar snap peas.
– Each dinner on this menu is under 500 calories if you order it as it exactly comes, including the sides
– Each meal comes with a salad and a choice of green beans or fresh vegetables
– The steaks are made with out the lemon sauce
– The chicken is a smaller sized portion compared what’s on the regular menu.
Freshness: 5 out of 5 stars
Taste: 4 out of 5 stars
Portion: 5 out 5 of stars
Comments: The salad was fresh. The flavorful dressing was both tangy and sweet. The lettuce was crisp and the veggies were neither soggy or loaded up with butter. The sierra chicken was succulent. The chicken breast was not chewy, although my serving had more fat on it. That is the reason for the 4 star rating on taste. The chunky tomato basil sauce peppered with herbs was enticing. I did not feel bloated afterwards, nor did I get a stomach ache (this sometimes happens to me after eating out).
Here a few pictures of what others at the dinner table had. (L) Napa Grilled Chicken (R) Rainbow Trout
I was actually impressed with Longhorn’s low-calorie menu. During my meal I found out some useful and surprising tidbits:
1. The veggies and lettuce are chopped daily. They are fresh and do not come in a bag. Yes you heard me right, even the lettuce is fresh.
2. All of their meats are fresh, not frozen.
3. Everything on their menu is MSG free except their Ranch dressing
4. Their nutrition guide is available online. This helpful when you are on the road because you can view this on your smart food.
5. They even have a gluten-free menu which can be viewed on the same page as their nutrition guide. (see #4 above)
6. The kids menu is healthy too! 3 items on the kids menu- Grilled Chicken Tenders, Grilled Chicken Salad and Kids Sirloin Steak when served with 1% milk, fruit and steamed broccoli have less than:
– 600 calories
– 20 g fat
– 600 mg sodium
FYI- This does not include dressing for the chicken salad meal.
Now I will admit while sampling the flavorful under 500 menu that evening, I did go “hog wild”. I nibbled on their salty yet appetizing spinach dips served with those warm, crunchy tortilla chips. I’m a sucker for spinach dips. I just can’t help my self, even if its loaded with salt and fat. Also, I sampled the apple pie and chocolate brownie. However, the salty caramel cake knock my socks off. Do try that next time you go there. You won’t find a dessert like it anywhere else.
I hope this rundown helps you make the right decision next time you should venture eating out.
Please let me know in the comments below which “healthy” restaurant menu you want me to try next!
DISCLAIMER: I was not paid for this review. My opinions were honest and true. However I was given a meal on house by Longhorn. I always strive to be upfront with my readers!