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South Beach Diet Phase 1 at Dennys

Updated on April 24, 2007

When you think of a popular chain restaurant like Denny's, things like the Grand Slam Breakfast come to mind. And that means pancakes, which are a no-no on any phase of the South Beach Diet. You also might think of sanwiches, burgers and fried shrimp, all of which are not good for Phase 1. Then there is one of the staples of Phase 1, eggs. These are abundant at Denny's for breakfast, but too often they are served with things like fried potatoes, fatty sausage or bread. So you just have to be careful.

For this hub I decided to look at Denny's entire menu--breakfast, lunch and dinner. Denny's is especially popular for breakfast, and since it's the first meal of the day (for most people), we'll start there. Enjoy and good luck!


All of the omelettes are 3-egg omelettes and come with a choice of grits or hash browns and choice of bread. For Phase 1, you can't eat any of those side items. So you should just ask for sliced tomatoes on the side instead. Also, you can order egg beaters in place of eggs for any of these, but since eggs are perfectly acceptable on Phase 1 there is no need to unless you are also counting calories. Here are the omelette options:

Ham & Cheddar Omelette--Diced ham and shredded cheddar cheese in a three-egg omelette. This is likely a huge portion, and they use full-fat cheese, so you think in terms of eating half and taking the rest home.

Veggie-Cheese Omelette--Sauteed onions, green peppers and mushrooms are folded into the eggs with diced tomatoes and cheddar cheese. If you really want to play things safe, omit the cheese altogether.

Fit-Fare Veggie Omelette--This one starts with Egg Beaters and is filled with onions, mushrooms, green peppers and tomatoes. It's served with toast, English muffin or a bagel, so again you should ask for sliced tomatoes instead.

Two Eggs & More--Two eggs any style are served with your choice of bacon or sausage, and you should choose the bacon which is the lesser of two evils. Turkey bacon would be ideal if it was served here, but it's not. Also avoid the grits, hash browns and bread and just go with sliced tomatoes.

For drink options at breakfast, order water, tomato juice, coffee, tea, or unsweetened iced tea.


Chef Salad--Slices of turkey and ham are served on crisp mixed greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and cheddar cheese. Stay clear of fat-free dressings which have lots of added sugar, but also be sure to ask for your dressing on the side so you don't douse your salad in too much fat. Also, if there is a lot of cheese, take some of it off because it is the full-fat variety. The salad comes with bread, which you can easily just ask to be omitted.

Grilled Chicken Breast Salad--A seasoned grilled chicken breast is served on mixed greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and cheddar cheese. See the previous entry about which dressing to order, and omit the bread that it comes with.

For drinks with lunch, order water, diet soft drink, coffee, tea, or unsweetened iced tea.


Grilled Shrimp Skewers--Two skewers of grilled shrimp are served with rice pilaf, one side and a salad. Just ask for it without the rice and make sure your side is sliced tomato or mixed vegetables. And avoid the bread it comes with as well.

Grilled Chicken--Two seasoned and grilled chicken breasts are served with two sides and bread. Again, avoid the bread, and make sure you are sensible about your sides--sliced tomato, mixed vegetables or a side salad are all good.

Grilled Tilapia--A mild white fish fillet that is seasoned and grilled, and served over rice pilaf. You can avoid the rice and bread, and make sure your sides are chosen from among tomato slices, mixed veggies or a side salad.

For drinks, use the same ideas as for lunch: water, coffee, tea, diet soft drink, or unsweetened iced tea.


As with any restaurant, if you are on Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, your best bet is to just have some coffee, then eat your ricotta creme or sugar free gelatin when you get home.


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    • Nashville G-man profile image

      Nashville G-man 9 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      good advice, thanks again Rebecca!

    • profile image

      Rebecca 9 years ago

      What Denny's Menu doesn't tell you is that every item prepared on their grill is cooked with non-SB friendly fats. Even eggs. In my experience, it's best to talk to the manager when you first arrive (be really friendly) since the cooks often ignore what the waitresses tell them. Just explain that you have health related dietary restrictions (don't mention the word diet or South Beach). I've always had a great response that way. Just make sure to tip a little extra, too, and you'll have less work to do next time.