Caution Ahead, at Famous Dave's
With entrees like beef ribs, 12-ounce portions of sausages and hot fudge brownies, eating a healthy meal at Famous Dave's is not easy. Luckily, the restaurant does let you know the calorie count on all its food, so making wise choices is possible. If you follow healthy-eating guidelines, you can still enjoy the restaurant with minimal damage to your waistline and your heart.
Famous Dave's posts its menu online, so you have a chance to decide on some options ahead of time – and you can decide what not to order. Pick two or three possibilities from the menu and decide on which one you want once you arrive. For example, choose among a brisket sandwich, salmon, catfish, or roasted or barbecued chicken, all under 720 calories, instead of between chicken wings, rib tips or St. Louis Rib-N-Meat, which range from 960 to 1,750 calories.
Skip the Highest Calorie Options
To limit unhealthy fats and high levels of sodium, pick the lowest calorie option in any category on the menu. Instead of choosing an ultimate burger at 1,060 calories, order a classic cheeseburger at 810 calories; hold the cheese for an even healthier meal. For your side with the meal, skip the french fries, at 350 calories, and order either potato salad, 130 calories, or steamed broccoli, 70 calories.
Go for the Red and Green
Menu choices under salads and soups are hearty and satisfying enough that you will be happy making any of them your meal. Choose an entree salad, such as the barbecue salad or the chicken Caesar. If you choose the barbecue salad, go for the chicken version at 660 calories instead of the red meat versions at 820 calories. Or order a bowl of chili with a side salad, at 730 calories. Skip the high-calorie bacon, baked potato soup, which weighs in at 880 calories when you add a garden side salad.
Hard and Fast Rules
It may take you three, four or 11 times to establish healthy eating habits, but give it your best shot to save hundreds or thousands of fatty calories at Famous Dave's. Even shared starters and desserts make your meal unhealthy, such as a sundae at 1,070 calories. Once you establish the habit of never ordering starters or desserts, you'll be able to splurge a few times a year. For special occasions, stop at an ice cream shop after leaving the restaurant for a single scoop cherries jubilee ice cream cone at 240 calories.
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Susan Lundman began writing about her love of cooking, ingredient choices, menu planning and healthy eating after working for 20 years on children's issues at a nonprofit organization. She has written about food online professionally for ten years on numerous websites, and has provided family and friends with homemade recipes and stories about culinary adventures. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.