By Wynter Holden
The first rule to dieting and still living in the real world (you know, where you actually go out to eat without your kitchen scale in tow) is to learn the “safe” hotspots in town and memorize them. That way, when your co-workers suggest lunch at Black Angus, you can casually steer them towards Ruby Tuesday and their low carb offerings. Or Applebee’s, whose menu provides handy Weight Watchers point counts.
But not all restaurant chains are that obvious when it comes to offering healthy dishes. Take Keegan’s Grill & Taproom, for example. Last weekend, when faced with the choice between Sweet Tomatoes and Keegan’s, I was ashamed to admit I chose the latter. I mean what kind of serious dieter chooses a bar over a salad restaurant? Turns out, a wise one.
See, if you’ve ever been there, you know how easy it is to down a day’s worth of calories in all-you-can-eat pasta, cream-based soups and chocolate brownie muffins at Sweet Tomatoes. I expected to be stuck with greasy fried pub grub at Keegan’s, but instead I felt like I'd won the dieter’s lotto. There on the menu were items marked with an “L” for healthy lifestyle (or in my book, “lifesaver”), which could be requested with reduced sugar, fat and calories. DING! We have a winner.
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I went for the Thai Chicken salad. It’s pretty healthy, and amazingly delicious, as-is. But, if you request the healthy version, Keegan’s will omit the fattening peanut sauce and tortilla strip garnish. I admit I had a little bit of both (a girl’s gotta live a little!), but I dumped off most of the strips and dipped my chicken sparingly in the positively orgasmic peanut sauce.
Bottom line: If you’re strong enough to swear off the brew and the extras, Keegan’s is the kind of place you and all of your non-weight-watching friends can enjoy together.