KANSAS CITY — It’s New Year’s resolution season, and consumers committed to healthier lifestyles are on the lookout for meals that are high in flavor and low in calories. Restaurants are helping make the hop to healthy a little easier by offering new better-for-you and low-calorie menu items.
Chick-fil-A is offering consumers the chance to swap fries for fresh kale with its new Superfood Side. Served with a blend of roasted walnuts, almonds and pecans, the dish features hand-chopped kale and Broccolini tossed in a maple vinaigrette dressing and topped with dried sour cherries.
“The Superfood Side is not something you would expect to see at a fast-food restaurant, and we're thrilled to kick off 2016 with something that can help people stick to their New Year's resolutions to eat healthfully,” said David Farmer, vice-president of menu strategy and development for Chick-fil-A. "Customers who have tried it rave about having an option that's incredibly healthy where you don't have to sacrifice great taste. We are always looking for new ways to introduce healthier and all-natural items to our customers."
Red Robin is serving up a bun-less burger for those looking to cut carbohydrates and calories in the New Year. The Wedgie Burger features bacon, guacamole, tomato, red onions and a 6-oz. beef patty sandwiched between wedges of lettuce. The low-carb burger weighs in at 450 calories.
Three chains are expanding or adding low-calorie menus to aid restaurant-goers in their resolutions. Olive Garden is adding shrimp scampi, chicken piccata and tilapia piccata to its Lighter Italian Fare menu, which offers meals all under 575 calories. Newk’s Eatery has expanded its 600-calorie menu with new soups, sandwiches and salad combos. El Pollo Loco debuted its whole new Under 500 Calorie menu including a double chicken avocado salad, a chicken black bean bowl, a chicken avocado tortilla wrap, a chicken and shrimp grilled tostada, and chicken enchiladas.
“Our Under 500 Calorie menu items are a fan favorite, and we are thrilled to offer guests these tempting new items that are easy on the calories but deliver on great flavor,” said Ed Valle, chief marketing officer. “We invite all guests to celebrate the start of 2016 with these new items available for a limited time only.”
Baskin-Robbins pokes a bit of fun at New Year’s resolutions with its new flavor of the month, Chocoholic’s Resolution. The treat is a Swiss-style chocolate ice cream with chocolate ganache cake pieces, white caramel-filled cups and a chocolate ganache-flavored ribbon. The chain also is offering a better-for-you option for those who truly are cutting back in the New Year. The Vanilla Pomegranate Parfait Frozen Yogurt consists of vanilla-flavored frozen yogurt and granola clusters swirled with a pomegranate ribbon.
"As we kick off the New Year, Baskin-Robbins is offering a wide variety of ice cream flavors and frozen treats to meet a range of resolutions,” said Jeff Miller, executive chef and vice-president of product innovation at Dunkin’ Brands. “Guests can select from more indulgent ice cream flavors, such as our Chocoholic's Resolution Flavor of the Month, as well as better-for-you options like our Vanilla Pomegranate Parfait Frozen Yogurt."