I love to eat out, because then I don't have to do the work or clean up. Most days now I bring my lunch to work, but I'll often decide to eat out instead. The people I go out with don't go to fast food places, but we often will go to places like Fridays, or sports bars like the Carolina ale House, or local places like Barry's (burgers) or Baba Ghannouj (middle eastern).
If all else fails I can always get a salad....preferably caesar. But I do like to order off the menu, although it can be hard sometimes.
I'll have the taco salad minus the beans and tortilla shell. That leaves lettuce, beef or chicken (and they usually give you a lot!), sour cream, salsa, cheese and maybe guacamole (new for me, I like it). It's high in calories, to be sure....but it's high in protein and low in carbs. Most mexican restaraunts I've gone to serve fresh foods cooked to order. Sour cream and cheese is made with milk and even their salsas seldom have added sugar.
In the Cary, NC area I would recomend El Dorado on Tryon Rd.
Burgers and other foods:
Wow there are a lot of places to get a good burger! When I go out to a burger place I usually get a bacon cheeseburger without the bun. I have a salad and hopefully one other veggie with the burger.
The Carolina Ale House, where you can get a great burger and most places let you get a salad in place of the fries. They always have another vegie choice too, so you don't have to get a salad....or you can get both.
TGI Fridays, where you can get a good burger or a great low-carb meal. The current menu has changed, but at least they acknowlege low carb! Current offerings:
SIZZLING CHICKEN WITH VEGETABLES (A sizzling skillet of onions & peppers together with garlic-marinated chicken breasts over melted American and Mexican cheeses. Served with a side of vegetables.)
NET CARBS: 17 (Cut 5 carbs by skipping the peppers and onions.)
SHRIMP KEY WEST (Skewers of seasoned chargrilled shrimp topped with a sparkling citrus splash and served with a side of vegetables.)
NET CARBS: 12
CLASSIC SIRLOIN WITH BROCCOLI (America’s favorite cut! A USDA Choice 10-oz. 28-day-aged chargrilled top sirloin served with a side of broccoli.)
NET CARBS: 6
In the past they also offered a wonderful salmon meal, but apparently they've removed it from the menu. They don't have salmon on the menu at all now, so I guess it wasn't a big seller!
Barry's had a good burger, but pretty much fries and cole slaw is all you have for sides. Not fond of their slaw!
OK in my area there are NO places that serve a good breakfast, except the small family owned places that are only open on the weekdays! About twice a month I do go out with a friend on Saturdays, and we usually go to either The Cracker Barrel, or Bob Evans. The food in both is ok, but they use margarines and oils rather than butter. At least Cracker Barrell has a low-carb friendly menu.
The best places for italian are Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill.
Macaroni grill has, by far, the best caesar salad. But at Olive Garden I often get one of their pasta meals (less the pasta) and enjoy their great salad (all you can eat).
At Olive Garden I often have Garlic-Herb Chicken con Broccoli (Rosemary-seasoned chicken breast sautéed with fresh broccoli in a garlic cream sauce over orecchiette pasta), minus the pasta.
At Macaroni Grill, I usually stick with the caesar salad, but have the "classic" salad as theirs is basically a greek salad, and I don't like feta.
I mentioned Baba Ghannouj. This is a fairly small mediterranian place that has the most wonderful chicken ever! I always get the chicken caesar salad....YUMMMMMM
Eating out isn't always hard....and it's not always bad for you!!! If you choose your places carefully and aren't afraid to ask for special orders, you certainly can get a healthy, low carb meal.
Now if it just wasn't so expensive!!!!