Low Carbin’ at Red Robin

Sorry I haven’t been around in a while. Haven’t really been doing that much new or exciting in the past few months, but just recently got a bit of news that is making me realize how helpful having this blog and making myself post to it regularly is.

You see, a couple of weeks ago, I finally received the definitive diagnosis I’d been dreading: Type II Diabetes. There’s a genetic factor, yes, but there’s also a lifestyle factor. Right now, my A1C (long-term glucose) is 0.1 over the threshold for diabetes, so I’m going to be getting back on track with making low-carb my food life from now on. I’ve also joined a gym and signed up for weekly sessions with a personal trainer for the next year.

Because of the diabetes diagnosis, I’m now in a situation in which I can no longer have the lazy, incorrect attitude of well, I can cheat today and just get back on it tomorrow. No. There is no more cheating.

Which makes figuring out what to eat when going out with everyone from the office that much more fun. Because they wanted to accommodate me (but everyone wanted burgers), they left the choice of restaurant up to me. And I chose Red Robin.

Not the first place you’d think of when living a low-carb lifestyle, right? But I knew from having played around on their website before that they allow (and somewhat encourage) customizations of their sandwiches—and have substitutions for the side available at no upcharge. So before we went, I hopped onto the website and pre-planned my meal so that I didn’t even have to look at the tempting photos in the menu.

Low-Carb, Non-Salad Lunch at Red Robin
Low Carbin' at Red Robin

After perusing the menu on RR’s website, I decided to investigate my favorite burger, the Guacamole Bacon Burger. It’s a regular burger patty with cheese, bacon, guacamole, mayo, lettuce, and tomato. No special sauces for hidden sugars. Without the bun, here’s the nutritional info, from the RR website:

Red Robin Guacamole Bacon  Burger with NO BUN

You can also get it with a “lettuce wrap”—a coworker ordered hers that way, they they literally had her patty and its toppings sitting on what looked like half a head of iceburg. It was probably the quarter wedge that they serve with blue cheese dressing as an appetizer. Just be sure to account for the extra carbs (2 g net carbs for that much lettuce, according to the nutritional values given for the appetizer—without all of the toppings/fixings/dressing).

One of the things that’s hard to pass up at RR are their “bottomless” steak fries or their wonderful onion rings. But while it’s a mental and emotional sacrifice to bypass those, at least RR offers a free substitution of a side salad or steamed broccoli for the fries. I got the steamed broccoli:

Broccoli

So, for a total of 8g net carbs (and only 2g sugars), I had a wonderful, satisfying meal with my coworkers and didn’t walk away feeling like I’d been short-changed or had to “settle” for something I didn’t really want. And considering that if I’d gone the “all I can eat at a burger place is a salad” route, I’d have ordered something that has a total of 21g net carbs (the Avo-Cobb-o Salad), I’m glad I decided to plan ahead and research my options.

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About Kaye Dacus

Kaye Dacus Academic Editor (at NCU). Published Author (11 novels, dozens of articles, essays, poems). Prolific Procrastinator. www.kayedacus.com
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4 Responses to Low Carbin’ at Red Robin

  1. Kathy Rea says:

    That is a great meal! Keep posting reference eating out I am not as good as you are but trying. I am also type II

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    • Kaye Dacus says:

      In addition to having a satisfying meal for only 8 grams of net carbs, I was very pleased by the fact that the kitchen took the time to create a nice presentation on the plate, too. And, although I do love me some mayo, that was A LOT of mayo! That’s about the size cup I’d need if I had gotten the fries instead of broccoli. (Yes, I’m a mayo-on-fries girl.) I also realized a couple of hours later, after my boss told me to remind her not to eat onions at lunch anymore when she has meetings in the afternoons, that they left the onion off my plate as well. I doubt that would affect the net carbs that much (and I wouldn’t have eaten much onion if it had been on the plate), but I’ll probably go back and look. Because if the omission of onion knocks one more net carb off, I’ll have to remember to ask for no onion next time. just in case.

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  2. Patt says:

    I just want to say I just got the dreaded D 2 dz…Grrr! I felt your pain and yes no more cheat one time them three or four! Kelp it up at Rar…I never hought of will try it and get creative also…keep it up!!!!tordering that, I

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    • Kaye Dacus says:

      The great thing about low carbing now, as opposed to ten or fifteen years ago (my first time on Atkins was in 2003), is that not only do 99% of restaurants have their menus online, most of them provide the nutritional values for their food, and some of them (like Red Robin) include info on how you can customize the food to adjust for dietary restrictions.

      And as I learned in Weight Watchers many, many years ago—plan ahead. When you aren’t hungry, get on the website of the restaurant you know you’re going to and figure out what you’re going to eat ahead of time. That way, you don’t have to look at the menu when you get there and you aren’t going to be tempted to cheat because you’re now starving and could eat the table, silverware and napkins and all. That’s also the best way to make sure you don’t have to settle for ordering a salad everywhere you go. Because eating salad every time I go out to eat gets really old and really dissatisfying and leads me to cheat more than just about anything else.

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