When I was a teenager I LOVED going to the mall in the nearby “big city”. It was such an experience of deciding what to wear while I was shopping, driving there, visiting all the cool stores (like Aeropostle and American Eagle), and one of my favorite things was stopping to eat lunch at the Fazoli’s that was right outside our mall. The warm pasta and heavy aroma of garlic breadsticks was just the fuel we needed for our shopping adventures! Thanks goodness for a 16 year old’s metabolism too! If I recall correctly, one of my favorite dishes was the sampler topped with 3-4 of those addicting breadsticks and washed down with a Diet Coke (because CLEARLY I wasn’t a fattie! hahaha!). That meal was well over 1300 calories!!
As someone who LOVES Italian comfort food and snubs most traditional fast food joints, Fazoli’s is a great option for a quick lunch or dinner while we are out and about. Nate loves it, Layla loves it, I love it–so what’s not to love? Well that “I ate 20 breadsticks and feel like I’m going to die” thing afterwards isn’t the best.
Disclaimer: I recognize that eating out is what it is—lots of sodium, processed food, non-organic, perhaps questionable animal farming practices—my point is NOT to laud this at all, but with the understanding that MOST Americans eat out frequently, to help you discover some of the healthiest food options out there at your favorite restaurants. Also, there are times when you are indulging and treating yourself and that’s okay too.
So here are my favorite dishes for healthy eating at Fazoli’s:
The Lighter Oven Baked Pastas
There are three options in this category and I really liked the one I had: the Baked Spaghetti. There is also the Chicken Mushroom Alfredo Bake and the Three Cheese Ravioli Bake. The portions are smaller so adding a side chopped salad with light dressing is a good way to add some healthy greens to your meal. I would limit yourself to one breadstick, because you seriously can’t go Fazoli’s and not get a breadstick! This meal will be about 600-700 calories, depending on which baked pasta you choose.
Fresh Salad Bowls
These looks absolutely fantastic! I don’t think they had them the last time we had Fazoli’s but definitely worth checking out. The three options are: Cherry Apple Almond, Caesar Italia (my top choice), and the Italian House. Steer clear of the full fat dressings like Ranch, Creamy Caesar, and French. They have light options available plus some vinaigrette choices. Pair with a breadstick and unsweet tea for a delicious and satisfying lunch for about 600 calories.
Of the regular pastas the lowest in calories and fat is the Baked Spaghetti coming in at 570 calories. You could also do a build-your-own pasta with Ravioli (the lowest calorie of the noodles), marinara, and chicken for 560 calories. In general the creamy sauces like the alfredo and the creamy basil are going to be higher in calories and fat than say a simple marinara so try to avoid any of those types of dishes for a healthier meal.
Overall, I think Fazoli’s has done a great job of incorporating some healthier dishes into a type of food that is generally “heavier” (aka higher in calories, carbs and fat). From back in the day when I ate there as a high-schooler there are noticeably more salads and lighter options, I think that is an eating trend overall, but kudos to Fazoli’s for responding to it.
Also, it seems like the basket of breadsticks comes around less frequently, which is definitely a good thing! Reigning it in on complementary things like that is hard, but going in with your mind made up on how many servings you are going to enjoy helps. You can also recruit your fellow diners to hold you accountable–hey, more breadsticks for them! 😉
[tweetthis]Healthy Eating at Fazoli’s! See some great healthy options for the next time you eat out! #fitfam[/tweetthis]
So now, hopefully, you have a few ideas for some healthy meal options the next time you are at Fazoli’s. I like to bookmark, pin or save this kind of post for later so I can reference it when I go out to eat. Alternatively, you can start a dining out cheat sheet on a note on your phone or a little index card to put in your purse. Write down your top healthy meal at each of the restaurants you frequent so you don’t get overwhelmed and can easily make a healthy choice when you are eating out!
Do you like Fazoli’s? What’s your favorite thing (healthy or unhealthy) to order there?