South Beach Diet Phase 1 at TGI Fridays

Here is another hub that I hope is helpful to those of you on Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. There are TGI Friday's restaurants in every major city and in just about every small town nationwide as well. But being that I was able to download the menu from their website, I'm assuming that means the menu is the same across the board. There aren't a ton of options for those of you on Phase 1, particularly in the appetizer or dessert departments, but you won't go hungry either.

Also, as with all of my hubs on this topic, we can't always account for the type of oil or cheese being used, or if a particular dish is supposed to have low-fat cheese and then high-fat cheese is substituted. But these are my best suggestions. Just be sure to ask for salad dressings on the side and for steamed vegetables (TGIF offers broccoli) instead of potatoes or other high fat/carb sides.

Here are your best bets at TGIF:

Appetizers

Everything on this part of the menu is fried or drenched in fatty cheese, or both. Or it's a semi-acceptable dip that is served with tortilla chips for dipping. Just skip this part.

Main Dish Salads

Bistro Sirloin Salad-Sirloin is the acceptable cut of beef for the South Beach Diet since it's the lowest in fat. It is served here on a bed of greens with grape tomatoes and corn (skip the corn) and with a house vinaigrette, which you can also ask for on the side.

Cedar-Seared Salmon on Field Greens-Pan seared Salmon served over field greens, with Portobello mushrooms and grape tomatoes. It is also served with the house vinaigrette, which you should ask for on the side and use sparingly.

Santa Fe Chicken Salad-Crisp romaine lettuce is topped with grilled chicken, tomatoes, grilled onions and black bean/corn salsa. Omit the salsa since it has corn, and ask for the spicy chipotle ranch dressing it comes with on the side.

Cobb Salad-This one is practically tailor made for Phase 1. Grilled chicken, bacon bits, avocado, Colby cheese, egg, black olives, tomatoes and blue cheese on salad greens. It comes with choice of dressing, so pick one that is the least of all evils and use it sparingly.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad-Grilled chicken over romaine lettuce with Parmesan cheese and Caesar dressing. Just ask them to leave off the croutons and serve the dressing on the side.

Lo-Phat Chicken Salad-Another Phase 1 gem-Chicken, cabbage, red pepper and green onions tossed with low fat cilantro lime dressing.

Entrees

Classic Sirloin-A grilled, 10 oz. Sirloin steak. Just order the broccoli on the side instead of potatoes, rice, corn, or other high-carb sides.

Island Grilled Mahi-Mahi-Grilled fish that is topped with a light coconut sauce and sprinkled with pineapple pico de gallo. You'll want to avoid the pineapple concoction because not only is pineapple a fruit, it's the one of the highest-sugar fruits and not acceptable on most phases of SBD. It also comes with brown rice and broccoli-the rice is fine on Phase 2 or 3, but not on Phase 1.

Sizzling Chicken & Shrimp-Garlic marinated chicken breast with onions and peppers, as well as zesty shrimp in a roma tomato-basil salsa. It's served over American and Mexican cheeses (you can eat the cheese in moderation). It also comes with a side of mashed potatoes, but you can opt for the broccoli instead.

Sizzling Chicken & Cheese-Same as the chicken & shrimp but without the shrimp.

Sizzling Chicken Fajitas-Chipotle grilled and sliced chicken breast on a full skillet of onions, red peppers and green peppers. Just eat it without the tortillas and it's perfect for Phase 1.

Special Low-Carb Options

Most of you may want to skip everything else on the menu and go straight here if you're on Phase 1.

Sizzling Chicken & Broccoli-This is pretty much the same thing as the sizzling chicken & cheese above, but it already comes with a side of broccoli instead of potatoes. Only 17 grams of net carbs.

Shrimp Key West-Skewers of grilled shrimp topped with a sparkling citrus splash and served with a side of vegetables. Only 12 grams of net carbs.

Dessert

You won't find any dessert options that fit into Phase 1 at TGIF, or pretty much any restaurant for that matter. As always, the best thing to do is to have a cup of coffee, and then go home for some ricotta crème or sugar free gelatin.

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