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Posted at 2:17 PM ET, 05/ 9/2008

Hold the Bread Basket

By Julia Beizer

In yesterday's Got Plans?, one chatter raised a question that's probably on a lot of our minds.

Eat out the healthy way at Rock Creek Restaurant. (Katherine Frey - The Washington Post)

Healthy in D.C.: Hey Gurus -- So I recently decided to start South Beach in preparation for summer, tank tops and swimsuits. The problem is: all my favorite restaurants are carb-heavy (pasta, tortilla chips, sandwiches, you get the drift). What are some yummy, healthy and carb-light restaurants in the District?

No matter what the best-selling tome tells you, eating out on South Beach isn't easy. Temptations abound in the form of bread baskets, mashed potato sides and sugary desserts. Dining out on the diet requires a healthy measure of self-restraint, but it's easier to eat carb-free at these meat- and veggie-heavy establishments.

- Rock Creek. Designed with healthy eating in mind, entrees at the upscale restaurant clock in under 600 calories. The menu helpfully includes carbohydrate and protein counts.

- Chop't Creative Salad Company. The chain's design-your-own salad beats anything you'd find at Cosi. Add proteins to the mix for a South Beach-friendly lunch break.

- Tackle Box. In my experience, fried foods are the tastiest options at the just-opened casual eatery, but if you can avoid those, the $13 Maine Meal can be customized to fit South Beach. Order a grilled fish and top it off with grilled asparagus, coleslaw or the side salad with the delicious basil-walnut vinaigrette.

- Cafe Trope. All the fish and salad dishes on this French-Caribbean menu make the Dupont spot a nice fit for dieters. Don't feel bad about making special requests; the restaurant is used to them since most dishes can be prepared gluten- or lactose-free for those who ask.

- Fogo de Chao. Massive skewers of meat are the focus of this Brazilian joint. It's easy enough to avoid the carb-heavy sides when munching on slabs of chicken, beef and lamb, but the price tag ($48.50 per person for dinner; $29.50 for lunch) places this restaurant firmly in the special-occasion category.

(Finally, a note to purists: Eat at home unless you're willing to cheat a little bit. Many seemingly innocuous menu items have hidden traces of flour or sugar. Author Dr. Arthur Agatston gives his blessing to occasional indiscretions during phases 2 and 3, but for phase 1, steer clear of restaurants.)

Got more restaurant tips for the dieting diner? Let us know in the comments below.

-- Julia

By Julia Beizer  | May 9, 2008; 2:17 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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