Healthy Choices at the Olive Garden

Recently my family was invited by the Olive Garden to come out and sample some of their new menu items.  Due to time constraints, my husband's job, etc., we were unable to attend the official "launch party" but the Olive Garden was kind enough to send me a gift card so that my family could come and dine at our leisure.

Today happened to be the perfect day!! After spending most of my morning doing yard work, I was starving by the time I was finished, and the Olive Garden sounded like the perfect choice!!

Our family is currently 2 weeks in to being gluten free, and sugar free, and I knew, oh I knew, that the Olive Garden was going to be full of temptations. James and I discussed with the children that there would be gluten free options available, but it was up to them to order what they wanted. We did decide when we went on this new dietary change that we would allow one cheat meal per week, so if the kids wanted today to be that meal, then we were fine with that choice. They read the menu and pointed this out to me, so I knew that they were fully aware of their options.

Our party of 5 was crammed into a 4 top table with an extra chair at the end. With James being 6'4, he sat at the end, and he was quite uncomfortable. I was as well since he took up so much room with his legs, and his knees were splayed and kept hitting mine. The larger 6 top tables, I was told, were reserved for parties of 6 or more. So we were stuck at this little table. Oh well, we made it work. Somehow.

Anyway....the food.

After looking over the menu, the girls decided on a gluten free pasta. Haley had Alfredo sauce, Ella had tomato sauce. The side choices were all healthy, and both girls chose grapes. Ronin decided on a whole wheat pasta with red sauce, and grapes. All 3 chose water to drink.

I hemmed and hawed over the menu, torn between two items. The Chicken Abruzzi or the Garlic Rosemary Chicken.  Finally I decided on the Chicken Abruzzi. James ordered the Chicken Marsalla.

We all enjoyed the wonderful Olive Garden salad (no croutons) and James and the kids ate bread sticks. I did not. This is a HUGE deal for me. They smelled SO GOOD, but honestly, I've been feeling so good not eating simple carbs, that I felt that it wasn't worth it for me to indulge on bread sticks. This was the #TampaTrio's first visit to the Olive Garden and they LOVED the bread sticks. Maybe too much. Tongue Out

Our food arrived, and it smelled and looked so good!!

My Chicken Abruzzi looked so good. With tender, grilled chicken breast in a savory broth simmered with cannellini beans, fresh kale and garden vegetables, I couldn't wait to dig in!

James' chicken marsala, while not as healthy as mine, also looked and smelled amazing!

While he said it was tasty, he thought the chicken was a bit tough. He wondered that perhaps they had cooked it while it was still partially frozen.

And lets not forget about the kids!

YUM!! They gobbled down every morsel!

Overall, I emerged as the winner of the healthiest meal. Cool But really, all of us did pretty well.

Do you enjoy the Olive Garden? What do you usually order??

Comments (2) -

  • My Chicken Marsala was good. I really like how they matched it it with Mashed Potatoes versus Pasta.

    I was a chef at one point in my life so I've been told I am a pretty good cook. The chicken in the Marsala was rather tough. Usually, with chicken, this happens because you thaw it out too fast (in water) or grill the chicken while it's still partially frozen.

    My suggestion would be to give the chicken more time to thaw out. Had they taken a bit more time with the thawing process, it would have been a perfect dish.
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