Bar food is notorious for being a six pack killer. Here are some equally tasty, far healthier, diet alternatives.
I know what you’re thinking. If you’re going to catch a game over some Buffalo Wild Wings and a beer, you want exactly that. Buffalo Wild Wings and a beer. Not a veggie platter, not a plate of hummus and pita, and certainly not some sort of sesame encrusted tuna carpaccio. But hold up a sec. What if you could make a few minor changes that would amp up the health factor, and bring down the calorie factor, on that after hours meal? You don’t have to substitute the extra fried cheese fries for a salad, but there are lots of little things you can do to cut out the fat, calories, and the extra time at the gym the next day. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite bar foods, and figure out how to satisfy your taste buds while being kind to those hot bods!
Burgers: Like anything else that comes on a sesame seed bun, the key to keeping this favorite in check, is not really the burger itself, but what you put on it. Pack a little fiber into your sandwich by asking for a whole wheat bread bun. Be careful with condiments – choose ketchup, mustard, or bbq sauce over mayo, honey mustard, or ranch. For toppings, skip the bacon and cheese (okay if you must, choose one or the other) and pile on the veggies. You can always add a little zest to your burger by choosing sautéed mushrooms, peppers, or onions instead. One thing we love? Sliders! Okay not the goopy greasy kind smothered in bacon and cheese. But some bars will serve a fresher version (including mini grilled bbq chicken burgers…yum!) These are great because they are portion controlled, meaning they will satisfy that craving for beef without forcing you to overdo it.
Chips and guac: My personal favorite, so it’s tough to hate. Both the chips and guacamole are super high in fat and calories (6 chips have about 140 cals and 7 grams of fat), so your best bet is to choose one or the other when scrolling through the bar menu. If you absolutely must have that avocado goodness, try ordering it with veggies or even baked bread. If it’s the salty chips you’re craving, order salsa instead – it’s virtually calorie-free!
Hot wings: Ugh. Chicken with skin, sometimes fried, covered in creamy sauce. And served with blue cheese dressing no less! This just might be my worst nightmare. One buffalo wing has about 100 calories and 7 grams of fat. And I’m positive you aren’t eating just one. As an easy solution, you could order your wings skinless, which cuts the calories and fat by more than half. You could also pass on the blue cheese, which has about 160 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving, and ask for a low-fat ranch instead. If you absolutely MUST have your hot wings with skin AND blue cheese, at least order another dish to snack on with your chicken. If you have something lighter on the table (maybe some shrimp cocktail or grilled meat and veg skewers), you will eat less of the bad stuff but still get your fix!
Mozzarella sticks: Not many people can say no to fried cheese, but the good news is, cheese is equally amazing in its natural state. So instead of crispifying your mozz, try some bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and basil. Even if it’s not on the bar menu, most kitchens will have the ingredients. All it takes is some baked bread, olive oil, cheese, and a little marinara or fresh tomato. This idea can also work well as an onion ring substitute. Instead of the Bloomin’ Onion, ask for fresh sautéed onions with toasted bread.
T.G.I. Friday’s Mozzarella Sticks (1 stick)
6 grams of fat
Cheese fries: Fries are enough of an indulgence without the cheese, don’t ya think? If you’re simply sick of the standard fried potato, order yucca or sweet potato fries instead. Or dress them up with a little blue cheese or truffle oil instead of that neon orange cheese wiz (c’mon, no food should ever be that color.) If you really want to feel good about yourself the next day, try a healthier version of potato skins. Drop the bacon and cheese and opt for salsa and low-fat sour cream. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
1 serving Outback Steakhouse
Aussie Cheese Fries
(6 servings per order)
24 grams of fat
Pizza: Pizza can be a great choice or an unfortunate mistake, depending on how you slice it (haha.) The absolute worst pizza you could order? Stuffed, deep-dish meat lover’s pizza. The best? Whole wheat flatbread veggie. Most places won’t offer the whole wheat crust, but by ordering flatbread you are saving your fat and calories for the most important part: the toppings and the cheese! If you can’t stomach the idea of a fully vegetarian pizza, stick to only one meat per pie. Try to avoid processed meats high in saturated fat like pepperoni, sausage, or ham, and choose a leaner meat like grilled chicken instead.
1 slice Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust
27 grams of fat
Whatever you choose, it is your night out. So above all, enjoy!