South Beach Diet Phase 1 at Red Lobster
If you are on the South Beach Diet, you know that seafood is one of its staples. All forms of seafood are acceptable on Phase 1, so long as they are prepared properly (i.e., not breaded and fried). And even if you don't like seafood, there are options for you at Red Lobster, which is probably the most popular and recognized seafood chain anywhere.
Before I get to the regular menu choices, I'd like to point out that Red Lobster has what they call a Lighthouse Menu. If you visit their website, you can pull up an interactive page of healthy options, click on the items you'd like to order, and generate immediate nutritional information. That information is helpful whether you are on the South Beach Diet or any other plan, and the choices are almost all Phase 1 friendly. Here is the complete list of Lighthouse items that are acceptable:
Appetizers: Shrimp cocktail, lobster, garlic-grilled shrimp, snow crab legs, and North Pacific King Crab Legs
Fresh Fish: Tilapia (grilled or broiled), salmon (grilled or broiled), and rainbow trout (grilled or broiled).
Other specialties: Broiled flounder, grilled chicken breast
Sides: Garden salad, petite shrimp topping, seasoned broccoli
Dipping sauces: Cocktail sauce, lemon wedge
And now, for the standard menu, for which there are a good number of acceptable Phase 1 options:
Chilled Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail-Six shrimp with cocktail sauce. This was practically made for Phase 1.
Lobster, Crab and Seafood-stuffed Mushrooms-Fresh mushrooms are stuffed with seafood, covered with Monterey Jack cheese and baked. Assuming this is full-fat cheese, you may want to see if they have a low-fat option or maybe just take some of that cheese off before eating the appetizer.
Seafood Caesar Salad-Lobster and shrimp is served warm over romaine lettuce with Caesar dressing and grated Parmesan. And there is no mention of croutons.
Apple-Walnut Chicken Salad-Field greens topped with grilled chicken, red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, apples (you'll have to ask these to be omitted or take them off yourself), toasted walnuts and blue cheese. All of that is topped with a balsamic vinaigrette, which you can ask for on the side.
Garlic-Grilled Jumbo Shrimp-Two skewers of jumbo shrimp are brushed with a savory garlic and herb marinade, the grilled and served with vegetables on the side. Just make sure the veggies aren't doused in butter, and that there are no carrots, beets or corn.
Catfish-They give you a choice of blackened or fried, and if you're on Phase 1 you know that fried food is not allowed.
Flounder-The option for flounder is oven-broiled or golden-fried, and I think you know by now that baked is your option here on any phase of the South Beach Diet.
Today's Fresh Fish-These options change daily and by location, but some of the typical specials are salmon, tilapia, and rainbow trout in addition to regional favorites. You can also usually have the special prepared in a South Beach friendly way-grilled, broiled, or baked.
Snow Crab Legs-A full pound of steamed crab legs that are served with melted butter. Just go easy on the butter, or use cocktail sauce and lemon instead.
North Pacific King Crab Legs-A pound and a half that are steamed and also served with melted butter, meaning cocktail sauce and lemon would be a better dipping option.
Lobster and Seafood Mixed Grill-A Maine lobster tail is skewered with jumbo shrimp and sea scallops, then grilled and served with a white wine and butter sauce. Ask for that sauce on the side or omit it entirely. Also ask for vegetables instead of the rice pilaf it comes with.
Live Maine Lobster-A 1.25 pound lobster that is steamed and served whole or split. As always, go easy on the melted butter.
Rock Lobster Tail-Broiled and served fluffed on the shell. You know what I'm going to say by now about the melted butter, right?
Steak and Rock Lobster Tail-A rock lobster tail served with either a center-cut sirloin steak or New York strip steak. For South Beach Phase 1, your best steak option is the sirloin, which is lower in fat.
Grilled Chicken Breast-A grilled chicken breast that is marinated in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette and fire-grilled. This is also served with rice pilaf so ask to substitute a salad or vegetable.
Create Your Own Feast-You can create your own combo from two of any of these acceptable Phase 1 options: Garlic-grilled shrimp, grilled salmon, garlic shrimp scampi, steamed snow crab legs, or grilled sirloin steak.
Acceptable Phase 1 sides are garden salad, Caesar salad, seasonal vegetables (excluding corn, carrots or beets), and broccoli. Be sure to ask for low-fat salad dressings or those that are olive oil based, and get them on the side so that they can be used sparingly.
As with most chain restaurants, the options at Red Lobster are loaded with both fat and sugar. So have some coffee or tea, and go home to your ricotta crème or sugar free gelatin.