The Hemp Connection + [women]

Need a go-to place to eat out? Consider Chili's

I had the opportunity to use a gift card today sent to me by Chili's Restaurant.* This popular restaurant recently launched a new line, Lighter Choices, and they wanted people in the food industry to try it on for size. So I met my friend Ivonne for lunch, and we tried out a couple of the items.

I ordered the margarita grilled chicken.

Ivonne ordered the steak.

We both thought the meals were flavorful and well presented. How did they stack up nutritionally? The meals all live up to Chili's promise. But women with PCOS have some additional needs to attend to, especially the ratio of carbohydrate to protein. Keeping that in mind, 3 of the 7 offerings would fit into a hormone-friendly style of eating: the Classic Sirloin, the Grilled Chicken Salad, and the Grilled Salmon.

Something that often happens with low-calorie menus is that sodium spikes up. It's there to replace the flavor that taking everything else out, removed. These menu items are no exception; in fact, the lowest calorie item, the Classic Sirloin, has the highest milligrams sodium/calorie ratio, 6.25 to 1. Of the three with the best carbohydrate to protein ratio, your best bet is the Grilled Chicken Salad, at 1.6 to 1. The salmon, which I imagine many of you would gravitate toward hearing me talk so much about omega-3's, is so-so at a 3.3 to 1 ratio. (Calories and milligrams sodium should be roughly the same, any higher ratio than 2 to 1, on a regular basis, especially if you're prone to fluid retention or high blood pressure, can be problematic.)

Bottom line, if you're traveling, need a business lunch where there are a lot of items for a lot of different tastes, or an occasional family outing, choose any of the three entrees recommended above. If you eat at Chili's regularly, stick with the Grilled Chicken Salad. Since Chili's has a takeout service, this may actually be a better choice for those of you who struggle with what to eat if you don't eat fast food.

A final word for the Chili's menu designers. My friend and I both noticed that the only vegetable offered on any of these dishes…was broccoli. It would be nice to see a variety of veggies, even carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, etc. It's an entire category of beautiful food with a lot of possibilities for enhancing flavor, texture, and presentation.

I thank Chili's for the opportunity to try the menu, and hope this opens up some options for our readers.

*As a participant in the Klout program, I occasionally receive Klout Perks, which are offers to try products related to my area of specialty. I am not obligated to blog about or promote them, and if I do, I am not obliged to write only positive comments.