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South Beach Diet Phase 1 at Friendlys
I grew up on Long Island and up the street from a Friendly’s Restaurant. It’s like an old-fashioned diner/ice-cream shop type place, and I have fond memories of how great their food was—especially the ice cream and burgers. I’m glad I wasn’t on the South Beach Diet as a kid, because the options are somewhat limited in any restaurant. At Friendly’s, the menu mostly revolves around ice-cream and burgers/sandwiches, so as you might expect, anyone on SBD Phase 1 will have some difficulty finding something, but there are definitely a few options.
Remember that with any egg dish, you have to have them omit the toast that comes with your order, even if it’s whole-wheat toast, which is okay on later phases but not on the strict, very low-carb Phase 1. Also, bacon and sausage are not really acceptable because of fat content (except in very small quantities or in the turkey variety). Ham is usually okay too, but at Friendly’s their ham is sugar cured.
Steak & Eggs—Lean sirloin steak served with three eggs, home fries and toast. Just have them omit the potatoes and toast and you’re good to go.
Garden Vegetable Omelet—A fluffy omelet with tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and cheddar and jack cheeses.
Beverages—Acceptable beverages at breakfast are water, tomato juice, coffee or tea, or diet soft drink.
Lunch & Dinner
None of Friendly’s appetizers are SBD Phase 1-friendly because they are breaded, fried, or breaded and fried. But you can order a side salad with low-carb dressing such as ranch or blue cheese dressing on the side, and make that your appetizer.
Chicken Caesar Salad—Romaine lettuce topped with grilled chicken, cheeses, croutons and creamy Caesar dressing. Have them omit the croutons and you’re good. It’s always best to ask for dressing on the side and use it sparingly as well, even if it’s low in carbs. It is available in a smaller side order version as well.
Side Garden Salad—Again, ask for the croutons to be omitted and you should be fine.
Cheddar Jack Chicken—Grilled chicken with bacon, tomato and melted cheese. Depending on the amount of bacon, you may want to take some of it off. It’s served with rice, salad and garlic bread, so ask for a vegetable instead of the rice and have them omit the bread.
Sirloin Steak—Grilled sirloin steak served with mashed potatoes, fried onions, vegetable and garlic bread. You’ll have to omit the onions, potatoes and bread—ask for extra vegetables and/or a side salad instead.
Grilled Flounder—This is one you may need assistance on. They say it’s grilled, but it’s also “lightly breaded.” If they are pre-breaded, you’ll have to skip this dish. But if it’s possible to just have the grilled fish, you’re good. It also comes with rice, vegetables and garlic bread, so make sure your sides are veggies and/or a side salad instead.
Acceptable South Beach Diet beverages are water, diet soft drink, unsweetened iced tea, coffee or tea.
Despite the fact that Friendly’s specializes in ice cream and ice-cream creations, you’ll have to skip those, as well as the many other dessert items on the menu. Instead, have some coffee or tea and enjoy your sugar free gelatin or ricotta crème at home.