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The 5 Worst Items at Red Lobster

In the final part of our 10-part series on eating at chain restaurants, we take a look at Red Lobster. Check out part nine, where we examine Jack in the Box.

Red Lobster is a place where seafood lovers can eat to their heart's content. Although seafood is a nutritious option, the way many of the dishes are prepared can make them an enemy for the waistline as well as your blood pressure. Here's a list of Red Lobster's best and worst Items.

DON'T EAT: Crispy Calamari and Vegetables

This appetizer could help cure anyone's fried food craving, but when you peruse the nutrition facts for this dish it is definitely not worth it. Also, don't be deceived because this appetizer comes with vegetables. This is the highest on the list of starters at 1,390 calories and has double the amount in sodium at over 3,000 milligrams.

INSTEAD EAT: Although the Stuffed Mushrooms appetizer does not include fish, it is a better alternative to the fried vegetables listed above. Although still higher in sodium at 740 milligrams, per serving this starter is only 220 calories. You can enjoy these stuffed mushrooms without feeling like you have no calories left for an entree.

DON'T EAT: Shrimp Nachos

Unfortunately, about the only thing healthy in this starter is the shrimp. We all love a good nacho plate from time to time, but at a whopping 1,290 calories, this is almost an entire days' worth of consumption.

INSTEAD EAT: The Chilled Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail is the best option on the list of appetizers and its simplicity really allows the seafood to shine. At only 120 calories per serving, this dish is a low-calorie option and provides a great amount of protein at 19 grams. If you're having a shrimp craving, this is definitely the way to go.

DON'T EAT: Crab Linguini Alfredo

Loads of refined pasta are combined with a creamy high-calorie sauce to make this meal a double trouble of unhealthy. Although crab itself is a healthy seafood, any nutritional benefit is easily overshadowed by the stats on this dish. A full serving is 1,580 calories and over 3,500 milligrams of sodium--double the sodium intake that is recommended for one whole day.

INSTEAD EAT: Get your fill of seafood with the Seafood-Stuffed Fish. You can also enjoy this entree guilt-free since it is only 170 calories. Even though it is low in calories, the 24 grams of protein from this dish will definitely fill you up!

DON'T EAT: Bar Harbor Lobster Bake

This dish, which is a combination of seafood and sauce tossed with linguini pasta, may be rich in flavor but is not light in calories. At 1,360 calories, this one meal makes up most people's calorie intakes for the entire day.

INSTEAD EAT: The Steamed Live Maine Lobster 1 ¼ Pound includes corn and potatoes, and all combined only comes in at 520 calories. Steaming is a great cooking method since it does not add in extra calories. Feel free to swap out the starchy vegetables for another lower-calorie steamed vegeatable to make it even more healthy.

DON'T EAT: Beer Battered Walleye Fish

Any meal that starts with the words "beer battered" should, unfortunately, have a caution sign to go along with it. Since the battered fish is then sent off into the fryer, the overall calories and fat of this dish increase tremendously. Compared to the same option that is broiled, the beer battered variety increases the calorie content by 530 calories.

Salmon is one of the healthiest seafood options and is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, so the Grilled Fresh Salmon is a great choice. By grilling the fish, you are allowing the flavors to come through and this cooking method does not add additional calories. At 190 calories, this is one of the best heart healthy entrees on the menu.

The 5 Worst Items at Jack in the Box

Kristen Bourque, RD, LD has been writing health-related articles since 2000. Her nutrition articles and recipes have been featured in "Today's Dietitian" as well as the Canadian magazine "Glow". Kristen combines her love of nutrition with cooking on her personal blog, Swanky Dietitian.

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