Walking Guide

Diet Friendly Dining: Denny's

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In The Santa Clause movie, Scott Calvin and his son visit Denny's late in the evening after burning their holiday meal because America's diner is always open. Besides always being open, Denny's is probably best known for breakfast because it is served all day long. If breakfast isn't for you, a variety of other diner favorites are available to meet all kinds of tastes. In America, diners or "greasy spoons" were known for great tasting foods that were less than healthy. Today, Denny's attempts to keep the diner favorites while also offering more nutritionally fit meal options as well as a value menu so both the nutrition and cost conscience patron can find what they are looking for.
Denny's Fit Fare guide will be your key to better nutrition at your next visit. In addition to a variety of designated Fit Fare options, you can also substitute healthier items like egg whites, chicken sausage, turkey bacon, wheat pancakes, sugar-free syrup, Fit Fare fresh veggies, or seasonal fruit in any meal. The Fit Fare logos will help you identify the best choices to meet your nutrition meal goals.
  • Fit Fare Lean: Under 15 grams of fat
  • Fit Fare Light: Under 550 calories
  • Fit Fare Protein: Over 20 grams of protein
  • Fit Fare Fiber: Over 8 grams of fiber
Here are the best choices we found that might help you stay within your nutrition goals as you enjoy a meal away from home.

Best Choices to Build Your Own Grand Slam Breakfast
  • Egg Whites (4 oz serving)
Calories – 50
Fat – 0 grams
Sodium - 180 mg
Carbohydrate – 1 gram
Fiber – 0 grams
Protein – 11 grams
  • English Muffin (1 piece no margarine)
Calories - 130
Fat – 1 gram
Sodium – 250 mg
Carbohydrate – 25 grams
Fiber – 1 gram
Protein – 4 grams
  • Grilled Ham (3 oz serving)
Calories – 120
Fat – 5 grams
Sodium – 710 mg
Carbohydrate – 8 grams
Fiber – 0 grams
Protein – 14 grams
  • Grits with Margarine (12 oz serving)
Calories – 220
Fat – 3 grams
Sodium – 15 grams
Carbohydrate – 44 grams
Fiber – 3 grams
Protein – 5 grams
  • Oatmeal with Milk (10 oz serving)
Calories – 200
Fat – 5 grams
Sodium – 220 mg
Carbohydrate – 31 grams
Fiber – 4 grams
Protein – 8 grams
  • Hearty Wheat Pancakes (2 cake serving)
Calories – 310
Fat – 1.5 grams
Sodium – 950 mg
Carbohydrate – 64 grams
Fiber – 8 grams
Protein - 10 grams
  • Seasonal Fruit (4 oz serving)
Calories – 70
Fat – 0 grams
Sodium – 7 grams
Carbohydrate – 18 grams
Fiber – 3 grams
Protein – 1 gram
  • Low Fat Yogurt (6 oz serving)
Calories – 160
Fat – 1.5 grams
Sodium – 100 mg
Carbohydrate – 30 grams
Fiber – 0 grams
Protein – 6 grams
Other Breakfast Options
Fit Slam – Scrambled egg whites with fresh spinach and grape tomatoes with turkey bacon, English muffin and seasonal fruit

Calories – 390
Fat – 12 grams
Sodium – 850 mg
Carbohydrate – 46 grams
Fiber – 5 grams
Protein – 27 grams
Fit Fare Omelette – Egg white omelette with spinach, mushrooms, pico de gallo and shredded Cheddar cheese with turkey bacon and a side of seasonal fruit

Calories – 390
Fat – 18 grams
Sodium – 870 mg
Carbohydrate – 25 grams
Fiber – 4 grams
Protein – 34 grams
Harvest Oatmeal Breakfast – Bowl of oatmeal with fresh apples, dried cranberries, brown sugar and milk with turkey bacon and seasonal fruit

Calories – 530
Fat – 11 grams
Sodium – 600 mg
Carbohydrate – 93 grams
Fiber – 9 grams
Protein – 19 grams
Salads and Sandwiches
Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad – 13 oz serving size with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and no bread

Calories – 370 (8 oz half size serving – 310)
Fat – 12 grams (8 oz half size serving – 10 grams)
Sodium – 610 mg (8 oz half size serving – 590 mg)
Carbohydrate – 32 grams (8 oz half size serving – 21 grams)
Fiber – 3 grams (8 oz half size serving – 2 grams)
Protein – 36 grams for both
Veggie Burger topped with Pepper Jack Cheese, fresh spinach, tomato and grilled mushrooms on a whole wheat bun and served with Fit Fare fresh veggies and balsamic vinaigrette for dipping

Calories – 540
Fat – 13 grams
Sodium – 1,340 mg
Carbohydrate – 76 grams
Fiber – 11 grams
Protein – 13 grams
Chicken Avocado Sandwich – Seasoned chicken breast grilled topped with diced avocado, pico de gallo, lettuce and sour cream on a whole-wheat bun and served with Fit Fare fresh veggies

Calories – 520
Fat – 16 grams
Sodium – 2,040 mg
Carbohydrate – 48 grams
Fiber – 6 grams
Protein – 46 grams
American Dinner Classics
Fit Fare Sweet & Tangy BBQ Chicken – Two seasoned and grilled chicken breasts with signature Sweet & Tangy BBQ sauce and served with smoked Cheddar mashed potatoes, fiesta corn and dinner bread

Calories – 630
Fat – 13 grams
Sodium – 1,230 mg
Carbohydrate – 56 grams
Fiber – 6 grams
Protein – 78 grams
Fit Fare Tilapia Ranchero – Seasoned and grilled white fish fillet topped with pico de gallo and diced avocado and served with a side of Cheddar mashed potatoes and dinner bread

Calories - 450
Fat – 19 grams
Sodium – 930 mg
Carbohydrate – 40 grams
Fiber – 3 grams
Protein – 53 grams
55+ Menu
Senior Fit Fare Omelette – Egg white omelette with spinach, mushrooms, pico de gallo and shredded Cheddar cheese with a side of seasonal fruit and a bowl of oatmeal with milk

Calories – 480
Fat – 18 grams
Sodium – 690 mg
Carbohydrate – 57 grams
Fiber – 9 grams
Protein – 27 grams
Senior Fit Fare Grilled Chicken – Seasoned and grilled chicken breast with corn, broccoli, and garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Calories – 540
Fat – 16 grams
Sodium – 810 mg
Carbohydrate – 52 grams
Fiber – 8 grams
Protein – 48 grams
While there are many high calorie, high fat, and high sodium choices that we encourage you to avoid, the new Fit Fare does provide some options when you visit this casual dining restaurant.

What greasy spoon favorite do you wish would get a healthy makeover?

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ELRIDDICK 9/26/2017
Thanks for sharing Report
I like Denny's, IHOP, and Perkins because they have a Seniors' menu which has smaller portions. The Senior sized portions will satisfy me but if I were to order a younger person's portion I would eat it all because that was the way I was raised. "Clean your plate, children are starving in India (or the country of your choice) Report
ETHELMERZ 6/17/2017
We love Denny's, senior meals are great, smaller portions, which is just what we need to learn to be satisfied with. When people complain about what restaurants serve, it isn't the restaurants fault you need to diet! In your heart, we know what choices are healthier, but don't really want to eat healthy stuff. That's the tough part.... Report
I ate the egg whites, turkey strips, one whole wheat pancake with sugar-free syrup and coffee= 285 calories! Awesome. Oh and three grapes 291, still awesome! Report
I love Dennys. Sorry to hear they make someone work on Christmas . . . Report
good to know
I love the Tilapia dinner. It is good for breakfast or lunch. Report
I have to admit that I agree with most or all of these comments...though I have a suggestion when dining at Denny's: when you order anything with eggs make sure you ask for 'real fresh eggs' (neither the egg-whites or scrambled eggs are fresh they come already mixed in a carton or bag) also request them made with no butter-oil. They have Pam and you can request them to use it. Also I would opt-in for the fresh fruit, oatmeal, cottage cheese or slice tomatoes. For the bread choice I would request the whole wheat toast minus 1 since they automatically serve two or 1 whole wheat hotcake. As far as the breakfast meat choices go, they are all high in sodium so choose another choice from the above. You don't have to have meat. If you choose a burger or chicken sandwich ask for it lettuce wrapped or without a bun but if you have to have a bun ask for the wheat bun. You don't have to have any fried food if you don't want to, you can ask for any of the dinner sides broccoli, green beans, salad, soup, slice tomatoes, yogurt or fruit...plus there are more choices on the menu. If you choose chicken for your entree request it made without the butter-oil and tell them to use Pam.

Well that is all the suggestions I can think of for the moment, I just so happen to work for them is why i'm giving my 2 cents and when I am taking a customers order I let them know about the healthier options. They appreciate it and they keep coming back. Make your next visit to Denny's a pleasant one!

Side note: Whenever I go out I always bring my own tea bags and ask for a tea set-up. You can also bring packages of hot chocolate, apple cider, instant coffee or anything else that is portable. It is a whole lot cheaper, healthier and convenient to have it on hand. In the summer I like to carry those instant drink packages like Crystal Light or a cold-brew tea bag. Report
I agree with Chris3874, the last time I went with a friend and my daughter, it cured me of EVER going back. I used to love Denny's and would frequent it back in the day, but ugh all the grease dripping off of the supposed Fit Fare item I got was disgusting. I actually used several napkins to soak up the grease from my meat. I couldn't finish my meal. Good thing it was cheap.

I would rather eat at McDonalds than there again. Now that is saying something!!

rumbamel Report
We choose Denny's when we're traveling, in part because it's a 'known entity' - I love their Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad and Vegetable Beef soup, although the soups are a little more salty than I'd like. The grilled shrimp is low-calorie and tastes great - you can get the grilled chicken with green vegetable [usually green beans but some locations have broccoli], a side of tomato slices and salad, which has a very reasonable calorie count, but since they added the Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad, that's what I get most of the time - yum!
I still don't believe that Denny's has anything healthy. I think you will breathe in fat just by being there. :) Report
Even if the calories and fat is lower, look at the sodium on most of the choices!! They are so high!! I don't understand how restaurants can manage to cook things so high in sodium, and even call it healthy! I mostly eat at home and no wonder whenever I go out to eat I find most food overly salty and I bloat and gain 3-5 lbs (of water weight) overnight. Report
I have to totally disagree...the fat used in this food is comprised of trans-fats...never a good option...as much as these places want you to believe their stuff is "healthy", it isn't... Report
I'm somewhat of a regular at Denny's, love it Report
Thanks for the info , suffice to say after the last time I went to Denny's I will NEVER go back . The food was DISGUSTING. Report
good to know Report
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