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South Beach Diet Phase 1 at Rainforest Cafe

Updated on October 23, 2007

The Rainforest Cafe is not a prominent restaurant chain, but is in enough locations now to warrant me writing a South Beach Diet hub on it. Though this is a restaurant geared toward kids and the fun stuff on the walls and throughout the restaurant related to real rainforests, you're going to have to be careful if you're following Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet when dining here. The options are pretty limited, but you can find some things. Here is what I was able to uncover from a sample Rainforest Cafe menu:


Avoid these, because like at most chains, the appetizers are fried, breaded, fried and breaded, or served with bread/chips for dipping.


Paradise House Salad--Mixed greens with Roma tomatoes, jicama, carrots and cumcumbers. Ask for the high-sugar carrots to be omitted and ask for a low-carb dressing such as ranch or blue cheese on the side.

Little Islander Caesar Salad--A classic Caesar, just ask for the croutons to be omitted, and the dressing on the side.

Big Islander Caesar Salad--The same as the Little Caesar, but with grilled chicken on top.

Volcanic Cobb Salad--Grilled chicken over Romaine and iceberg lettuce, crumbled blue cheese, black olives, diced tomatoes, chopped egg and bacon. It's tossed with balsamic vinaigrette, so ask for this on the side or order the ranch or blue cheese dressing instead.

China Island Chicken Salad--Crisp greens tossed with grilled chicken breast, potato sticks, scallions and toasted sesame seeds. It's served with their China Island dressing, but you might be better off with something lower in carbs, on the side. Also ask for the potato sticks to be left out.


Tuscan Chicken--Balsamic and tomato marinated chicken breast is grilled and dressed with cucumbers, Kalamata olives, and tomatoes and garnished with honey mustard sauce. Just ask for the honey mustard to be omitted or replaced with something such as ranch dressing.

Primal Steak--A center cut New York strip steak that is grilled to perfection.

Amazon Fajitas--Sizzling chicken or beef fajitas served over grilled onions and bell peppers. It's served with sour cream, cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, rice, black beans and warm tortillas. Ask them not to bring the tortillas and rice, and enjoy the rest as a hearty main dish.


They don't mention sides on the menu, but be sure to avoid potatoes, rice or bread of any kind, as well as starchy vegetables like corn, carrots or beets.


Acceptable beverages are water, any diet soft drink, unsweetened iced tea, coffee or tea, or skim milk.


As always, have some coffee or tea, then go home to enjoy your sugar-free gelatin or ricotta creme.


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