Eating healthier can sometimes be as easy as switching out one kind of food for another.
So, inspired by the popular "Eat This, Not That" of Men's Health magazine, who, this October, published a list of the 20 worst, high-calorie dishes at chain restaurants throughout America, we thought we'd offer up five healthier, just-as-tasty, and local alternatives. Enjoy.
1.) Skip: French Toast Napoleon at The Cheesecake Factory Eat: The Low Carb Breakfast at D'Lish
French Toast Napoleon at The Cheesecake Factory: Powdered sugar, pecans, and cream-soaked bread resulting in, according to "Eat This, Not That" of Men's Health magazine, a breakfast with as many calories as 3 dozen eggs. Whoa.
Low Carb Breakfast ($6) at D'Lish: Available at the healthy kitchen and drive-thru with locations in Tempe and Scottsdale, this dish features a hash patty, two eggs, pepper jack, tomato, avocado, and house made pesto served on a bed of organic spring mix greens with balsamic vinaigrette. It's a well-balanced and vegetarian-friendly solution to a.m. eats that won't put you back to sleep before noon.
2.) Skip: Chicken & Spinach Salad at IHOP Eat: Grilled Chicken Salad at Praying Monk
Chicken & Spinach Salad at IHOP: Think you're doing yourself a favor by having a salad at a pancake house? Think again. Fried chicken, bacon, and tons of cheddar cheese makes this "health food" highway robbery. In fact, according to "Eat This, Not That" of Men's Health, you could order the chain's worst burger and consume fewer calories.
Grilled Chicken Salad ($10) at Praying Monk: This dish served up at Aaron May's newest restaurant in Scottsdale features grilled chicken, roasted beets, green apples, dried cranberries, roasted almonds, onions, and romaine lettuce in a light mint citrus goat cheese vinaigrette for a fresh and satisfyingly simple salad, minus the scam.
3.) Skip: Monster Thickburger at Hardee's Eat: Fontina Burger at Joe's Farm Grill
Monster Thickburger at Hardee's: What's in a name? Everything. Including, according to "Eat This, Not That" of Men's Health, four strips of bacon, three slices of processed cheese, and two half-pound patties of greasy ground beef for 1,300 calories and 93 fat grams of gut-busting grossness.
Fontina Burger ($9.49) at Joe's Farm Grill: This retro-futuristic burger stand in east Gilbert serves up a more manageable burger offering made with a 6-ounce patty of local, natural beef topped with roasted red peppers, grilled mushrooms, field greens, fontina, and farm-made pecan pesto. Replace the fries with one of Joe's fresh salads and you're doing yourself one better.
Skip: Chili Cheese Fries (large) at Steak 'n Shake Eat: Housemade chips at Zulu Caffé
Chili Cheese Fries (large) at Steak 'n Shake: News flash: French fries don't count as "eating your vegetables" -- especially when they're covered in processed cheese and ground beef. And if you're at Steak 'n Shake, according to "Eat This, Not That" of Men's Health, you could eat three Steakburgers with cheese and still take in fewer calories. Yuck.
Warm Salt and Pepper Chips ($5) at Zulu Caffé: Former Quiessence chef Brian Ford kicks out this just-enough plate of tasty homemade chips at his casual bistro situated inside the Scottsdale Airport. Warm, perfectly seasoned with salt and pepper, and delicately crisp, they're lightly sprinkled with a few melted drops of blue cheese, crunchy pieces of bacon, and fresh scallions. Perfect for sharing and even better alongside one of Ford's seasonal salad creations.
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Skip: Enchilado Style Chicken Nacho Burrito at Baja Fresh Eat: Thai Wrap at That's a Wrap!
Enchilado Style Chicken Nacho Burrito at Baja Fresh: After it's stuffed with chicken, creamy salsa, cheese sauce, and two kinds of cheese, this fattening beast then has the option of being slathered in cheese and salsa alongside a pile of deep-fried chips and sour cream. And, according to "Eat This, Not That" of Men's Health, it'll then fill you up with 1,880 calories, 4,650 mg of sodium, and 36 grams of saturated fat.
Thai Wrap ($7.80) from That's a Wrap!: At this casual Central Phoenix eatery serving fresh, made-from-scratch food, a spinach tortilla filled with sautéed peanut chicken, spinach, house slaw, garlic cucumbers, red onion, and a bit of rice won't have you loosening your belt buckle post consumption. Plus (bonus), you can get it as a salad, too.