I think I’ve shared with you before that, as much as I like eating at all the fantastic restaurants out there, the possibility of bringing my now 6- and 2-year-olds with me to most of those restaurants often makes me think long and hard about the decision.
These are the questions that automatically run through my head anytime eating out as a family is a possibility (and please let me know if you have any to add to this list):
- Am I really up for this today?
- Has everybody had the all-important nap and/or quiet time to prepare for a meal in public?
- Is the restaurant kid-friendly? (Is it a comfortable atmosphere? Is there anything to help entertain the kiddos? Will I be getting nasty looks or understanding nods from other diners when the kids spill their water or scream from joy at their meals? And the list goes on…)
- Will there be food that we can all eat without too much of a fight (refer back to question 1)?
Needless to say, I really appreciate when restaurants have their bases covered when it comes to family-friendly dining. Those are the restaurants we like to give our business to when the kids are with us.
Carrabba’s is one of those restaurants. It’s not in our neck of the woods, yet, but I’ve found myself there several times over the years while traveling, and I have friends that regularly take their families there for a nice meal out together. Carrabba’s has kid- and adult-friendly food, including Healthy Dining-approved choices, and kids can get a ball of dough to play with while they wait (who doesn’t like that?). The restaurant is built around the idea of family and friends gathered around a kitchen full of good food made from recipes handed down for generations. No judging looks around this place!
So, pull up a chair and heave a sigh of relief, because you may just be able to relax during this family meal out at Carrabba’s. Here are some of our dietitians’ suggestions for your next meal:
Italian Cobb Salad with Grilled Chicken (420 calories, 18 g fat)
A Cobb salad is all the best things thrown into one crispy and crunchy salad. This one includes grilled chicken, bacon, tomatoes, egg and blue cheese in vinaigrette. To control fat and calories, request the vinaigrette dressing on the side and add sparingly.
Linguine Pescatore (740 calories, 9 g fat)
Italy is known for its seafood-rich meals. What else would you expect from a country surrounded on three sides by shimmering blue water? This linguine is tossed with shrimp, sea scallops, mussels and a spicy marinara sauce to give your taste buds a kick. Pair your pasta with a side House Salad with Light Balsamic for an extra 100 calories and 5 g fat or a side of Plain Spinach for just 35 calories and 0.5 g fat. Lean protein and veggies all rolled into one tasty meal—perfect!
Chicken Parmesan (Small) (310 calories, 14 g fat)
If you’re a traditionalist, you may go straight for this one. The chicken is coated with Italian breadcrumbs, sautéed, and topped with pomodoro and mozzarella cheeses. Pair it with a side of Grilled Veggies for an added 90 calories, 5 g fat and 1½ cups of vegetables, Primavera Arrosto for an added 70 calories and 3.5 g fat, or one of several other dietitian-recommended sides.
Kid’s Whole Grain Spaghetti Pomodoro with Steamed Spinach & Apple Juice (Fruit, Vegetable, Whole Grains)
Spaghetti is tasty, messy—and can be a healthy addition to your child’s diet, especially when it’s made with whole grain noodles like this one. Everyone is happy!
Kid’s Grilled Chicken with Carrots & Apple Juice (Fruit, Vegetable, Lean Protein)
If your little ones prefer poultry over pasta, this choice comes with savory grilled chicken and sweet, vitamin A-rich carrots. No arguments here.
What’s your Healthy Dining favorite at Carrabba’s?