South Beach Diet Phase 1 at Bennigan's

If you've read my hubs on this topic before, you'll notice a pattern. And that pattern is that it's easier than you might think to dine out when following Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. Typically, salads, grilled meats and steamed vegetables are your best bets. Bennigan's is one of those family style chains just like TGIF or Applebee's, and they offer plenty of options. Here is what we found for those options:

Soup

French Onion Soup--A rich broth with sauteed onions and melted provolone cheese. It doesn't mention one of those giant croutons, but most onion soups come with it, so ask for it to be omitted. Also ask for the cheese on the side so you can add just a little.

Salads

Side Caesar--A typical Caesar, but just ask for the croutons to be omitted and the dressing on the side.

Bennigan's Garden Salad--Mixed greens with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and croutons. Again, avoid the croutons and ask for a low-carb dressing on the side (such as Bleu Cheese, Caesar, or Ranch).

Spinach Chicken Salad--Baby spinach is tossed with sweet pepper vinagrette and topped with bacon, chopped pecans, sun-dried tomatoes, bleu cheese, raisins, red onions, chopped egg and grilled chicken breast. This is a Phase 1 home run except for the raisins, so ask for those to be omitted.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad--Slices of grilled, mesquite-smoked chicken breast over romaine lettuce. It's tossed with Caesar dressing, Parmesan cheese and croutons. As always, ask for the croutons to be omitted and the dressing on the side. (Grilled salmon can be substituted for the chicken).

Asian Chicken Salad--Grilled chicken breast is served over mixed greens, cilantro, cucumbers, chow mein noodles and mandarin oranges, and tossed with sesame Ginger dressing and sesame seeds. Just ask them to omit the noodles and oranges, and you're good to go.

Entrees

Chicken Platter--Two grilled chicken breasts (you should just eat one and take the other one home) are served with rice pilaf and broccoli. Instead of rice, ask for a small salad or a different side (see below for options)

Fire-grilled 8 oz. Angus Sirloin--A petite sirloin steak is grilled and served with a baked potato and steamed broccoli. Ask for a substitution for the potato from the list of acceptable sides below.

Southwest Salmon--Grilled salmon fillet on a bed of sauteed onions and bell peppers, and topped with pico de gallo. It's served with rice pilaf and broccoli, so just substitute something else for the rice.

Grilled Salmon--Grilled salmon fillet, simply seasoned with salt and pepper. Also served with rice pilaf and broccoli, so just have something in place of the rice.

Acceptable sides

Black beans, Steamed Broccoli, Green Beans, Roasted Vegetables (excluding beets or carrots)

Beverages

Stick with water, carbonated water, diet soda, unsweetened iced tea, or cofffee.

Dessert

Like just about every other restaurant in the world, the desserts at Bennigan's are loaded with fat and/or sugar. So have some coffee, and go home to enjoy your ricotta creme or sugar-free gelatin.

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