Denny’s Fit Fare Menu – Healthy Diner Food?

Denny's Fit Fare Veggie Skillet

photo: Dennys.com

Denny’s dubs itself “America’s Diner”. While diners serve traditional fare, it is usually not considered the most healthful. Let’s just say there’s a lot of grease to go around. But you’ve got to give the people what they want, and Denny’s is now offering its “Fit Fare” menu for the health minded consumer.

We decided to take a look at the Fit Fare Veggie Skillet, which seems like a good choice, based on its description:

Seasoned red-skinned potatoes, fire roasted peppers and onions, mushrooms and broccoli on a hot sizzlin’ skillet topped with two egg whites scrambled with spinach and grape tomatoes.

The dish comes with a side of salsa. It’s got a variety of colored vegetables and clocks in at a respectable 330 calories, with 20 grams of protein. So far, so good.

Here’s where the picture starts to change. These 330 calories contain 1450 grams of sodium. If you are over 45 years old, have high blood pressure, or are African American, that number is almost 100% of the maximum recommended intake for an entire day!

But wait, there’s more: the ingredient lists. We’d like to show you the full ingredients list, but unfortunately Denny’s does not think it is important enough for people to see. Or maybe Denny’s knows that the in addition to the healthy veggies listed, various additives and flavor enhancers are used as well.

We called up Denny’s 1-800 number and spoke with Margaret Grant, RD, Denny’s chief nutritionist, who was very friendly. She said there is too much information to make it practical to put ingredient lists on the company website. Really?

Grant offered to look up the information for us, and we spent about 10 minutes on the phone as she individually retrieved the ingredients and sub-ingredients using Denny’ internal systems:

Red skinned potatoes, Fajita blend (fire roasted bell peppers, fire roasted onions, fire roasted green peppers, salt, spices, modified food starch, garlic, onion, soy oil, maltodextrin, sunflower oil), mushrooms, broccoli, grape tomatoes, spinach, garlic, liquid margarine (soybean oil, vegetable mono and di-glycerides, soy lecithinsodium benzoate, citric acid, artificial flavor), annatto (food coloring), salt.

Doesn’t seem as appetizing now does it?

Denny’s prides itself on being “Open, Honest & Friendly since 1953″. Where does obfuscating ingredient information work into that tagline?

Get Fooducated

  • Ashleigh

    I thought fooducate’s motto was “eat a bit more healthy”. We all know that when you eat out it’s not going to be as good as what you could make at home; however, you do have to admit the fit fare menu is a bit healthier than Denny’s regular menu. Also, are you judging the whole menu off of one item? That hardly seems fair. Overall, if you only eat out once in a while (2-3 times a week) I don’t understand what the big deal is.

    • Courtney

      2-3 times a week isn’t what I would call eating out “once in awhile.” In fact, it seems like an awful lot of eating out, enough where you need to be concerned with the sodium content of your food. This isn’t a judgement on that habit, but I do think that if you’re going to eat out that much, you deserve to know the good and bad of the item you ordered.

  • Aria Gonzalez

    Honestly, this made me yawn a little. The RDA for sodium is far too low, in my opinion and I tend towards low blood pressure anyway. What distresses me is the crappy soybean oil, which wasn’t highlighted. Strange that soy lecithin would be highlighted but not soybean oil… in any case, it’s diner food. You get what you pay for and all that.

  • Melanie

    Thank you for making healthy eating prideful in any circumstance…I eat out, and not just for special occasions and I wish more restaurant would offer wholesome, low seasoning dishes as I would want to eat my meal the same way I would prep it at home! It’s important to me to know what I’m putting in my mouth, not just what I see on the plate but what will affect me if I’m not normally eating certain additives!! Thanks again Fooducate for helping us get better educated on the foods we want to eat!

  • neecie

    Even if all ingredients were listed – many don’t know what’s really unhealthy. One might say – oh we only eat out once in a while. Those ingredients are found in many frozen, prepared, and microwaveable food. How about GMO everywhere and bread additives (fyi the weird stuff now being taken out of Subway rolls). I wonder, who thought to put it in, in the first place
    anyway?

    • Nicole Johnson

      You know the motto “innocent until proven guilty”? Well that’s exactly how the USDA treats chemical additives in food. Imagine that type of standard practice in a hospital…
      “Give the patient a transfusion STAT!”
      “What’s the blood type?”
      “Not sure. Just try them all. One’s bound to work.”

  • http://gigieatscelebrities.com/ GiGi Eats Celebrities

    It’s nice to see that they’re TRYING… However, I HATE how almost ALL packaged foods that get dispensed at restaurants (fast food and fine dining establishments) have foods that contain maltodextrin, corn starch, etc – They’re added to “maintain freshness” – but it drives me BONKERS!!

    Obviously though, if I went to Denny’s (which I never have before) I would order the Fit Fare Salmon… Even if it did contain those ingredients… Because I sure as heck ain’t ordering their Fried Double Something-Rather!

  • Granny Goat

    May I describe this discussion as “fundamentalism in food”? Denny’s is getting them “in the door” and nourishing them with a better breakfast than they’ll get at the donut shop (and many other places). Older Americans won’t eat salad for breakfast. Your comments about the SALT content are RIGHT ON! I’ll add my own salt, thank you.

  • Swollen fingers

    I stopped eating at TGIF and Ruby T and all these places because the morning after , i wake up and my hands are swollen and i can barely close them. So these are the killers of the culture. These fast dining experiences are going to give every one a stroke. Stay away from over salted foods. Complain to the managers. Send the food back. Get the bill adjusted. Send a message to corporate America. Keep your salty food away from me and dream up something else. Are the ingredients so second rate that food enhancers are the only way to go ???

  • Michael Heffez

    Clear, easy and honest? If that’s their motto then they should just change their name to “Deadly’s.” The worst and I do mean the absolute WORST and unhealthiest restaurant I have ever come across is Subways…the ingredient list for the bread alone was like teading the Old Testament. It’s a chemical lab project NOT bread.

  • Logicandegg

    Last time I went to one of those restaurants was IHOP for breakfast. I ordered a veggie omelet. When I got home I was curious about the calories and sodium. It was something like 900 calories and about 1400 grams of sodium. For a veggie omelet. What in the world did they do to those eggs and veggies? I avoid all chain places like the plague. Their food is made in labs.