How a Nutritionist Eats at… Walker’s

About the author: Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, is the owner of Real Nutrition NYC, which is based in Chelsea. She lives in Tribeca, however, and now has an outpost at Real Pilates. Her next event there is on Jan. 12.

OK, so we’re about a week into 2011, and hopefully we’re still holding fast to our New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, cook more, eat out less, etc. But what happens when winter smacks you in the face and all you want is comfort food without the fuss of dirty dishes? I know what I do: I head to Walker’s for a delicious, soul-soothing meal. But how do you enjoy comfort food without giving up on that resolution? Start here and don’t forget your willpower!

For starters, I recommend the soup (unless it’s creamy, of course), which is usually veggie-filled and tomato-based, or get a cup (or a bowl if it’s your entrée) of the restaurant’s Cowboy Chili, but skip the sour cream and cheese to save more than 200 calories and 15 grams of fat. Soups and chilis are packed with the winning weight-loss combo of protein and fiber, a team of nutrients that promise to fill you up without filling you out! Do your waistline a favor, however, and skip the crackers, bread sticks, and bread that come with it. You’re only eating them out of habit, and that habit can cost you a jean size. Another great appetizer—besides my go-to vine-ripened tomato salad—is the hummus and pita, a fab source of iron, protein, and fiber (there they are again), thanks to those garbanzo beans. Share it with a friend to prevent going overboard.

For your main course—yes, I’m going to say it—GET THE BURGER!!!! Aren’t burgers fattening, you might ask? They can be, but Walker’s uses ground sirloin, one of the leanest cuts of beef, to make its burgers. The burgers are big, so promise yourself going in that you’ll leave over a third of it on the plate, say no to cheese but yes to any veggie toppings (yum, sautéed onions), and remove the bun or at least the top of the bun. These simple steps—OK, sacrifices—will save you around 300 calories, even with a few (I SAID A FEW) fries thrown in the mix.

Another great entrée choice is the roasted organic chicken (man, I love hormone-free meat). Just avoid eating the skin and sub double veggies for the mashed potatoes, and you’re good to go.

One warning: Unless you’re willing to skip the blue cheese, dressing, bacon, and egg, don’t kid yourself that the Cobb salad is a healthy choice. Sure, it’s delicious, but this “salad” will cost you over 1,000 calories. That’s half a day’s worth! My version, which is just as tasty: Order it without cheese and bacon, with shrimp instead of chicken, and with the dressing on the side. Just like that you’ve halved the damage, and no, they won’t look at you like you’re crazy. I’ve broken them in for you!

Drinking? By now you should know the drill: light beer, wine, or calorie-free mixed drinks (vodka and club soda, Jack and Diet Coke, etc.).

As for dessert, skip it. Pubs aren’t known to have dessert worth their weight in calories, so save it for another day and head out in to the winter feeling satisfied but not stuffed—and New Year’s resolution intact!

Previous articles by Amy Shapiro:
How a Nutritionist Eats at… Pepolino


1 Comment

  1. Thanks so much to Amy!!! My kids beg to eat at Walkers all the time and I have so much trouble with the menu there. This is extremely helpful!!