Staying on a diet while eating out is getting easier as more restaurant chains offer menu items that don't break the calorie bank. The newest entrant is the Daily Grill, which just debuted its Simply 600 menu.
The lunch and dinner items, which are 600 calories or less, include a blackened ahi tuna salad (319 calories), a pan-seared salmon burger (554 calories), fish tacos (548), a Thai noodle chicken salad (472) and chicken meatballs with angel hair pasta (590 calories). Fat grams were not revealed.
Recently, major fast-food and eat-in restaurant companies such as the Darden Group (parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster), Cheesecake Factory and Romano's Macaroni Grill have added healthful items or revamped existing recipes to make them lower in calories, saturated fat, and sometimes sodium.
This week, Chick-fil-A announced it was introducing a new kids' menu that included grilled chicken nuggets instead of fried.
The changes are occurring, it's believed, because of customer demand as well as laws mandating that chain restaurants post nutritional information. Studies tracking consumers' buying habits find that sometimes menu labeling makes a difference in what they order, and sometimes it doesn't.