While Cracker Barrel doesn't offer exact nutritional values for the food on its menu, it is possible to determine which items are the most nutritious and which items to skip. In addition to its traditional menu with items such as fried chicken and mashed potatoes, Cracker Barrel also has a few menu items that are lower in fat and calories to better meet the needs of their health-conscious diners. They also offer a Wholesome Fixin's menu with entrees that are all 500 calories or less.
Many of the breakfast options on the Cracker Barrel menu feature bacon, sausage, chicken-fried steak, gravy and fried eggs. While these foods do supply certain nutrients, such as protein, they can also be high in saturated fat, which isn't good for your heart. Pancakes and waffles drowning in syrup are too high in sugar to be considered nutritious. Better choices include the fruit and yogurt parfait, bran muffin or oatmeal. Breakfast options on Wholesome Fixin's menu include more nutritious foods such as turkey bacon or turkey sausage, fresh fruit and vegetables and oatmeal with sliced bananas.
Salads are often considered a healthy food -- and Cracker Barrel certainly offers its share of salads that can make for a nutritious meal. Order a salad with grilled meat rather than fried so you consume less saturated fat. The more fresh vegetables your salad contains the better because vegetables provide fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Ask for the dressing on the side and hold the croutons, cheese and bacon bits to make a salad a healthier still. If you order a sandwich or burger, improve the nutritional value of your meal by replacing the fries with a side salad or a plain baked potato. You can also order lunch from the Wholesome Fixin's menu as another way to make a healthy eating choice. With items such as oven fried chicken fried steak, grilled pork chops or grilled fish, you're bound to find something you'll enjoy.
Fried chicken, a 1/2-pound steak and fried catfish are among the dinner choices on the Cracker Barrel menu. They're high in saturated fat and sodium, making them the worst choices for your evening meal. Have grilled chicken or fish instead and you'll save several grams of saturated fat. The dinner entrees at Cracker Barrel come with your choice of two sides. Skip fatty options such as mac and cheese and fries in favor of more nutrient-dense carrots, green beans, baked sweet potatoes, apple slices or rice pilaf. The same Wholesome Fixin's menu that's available at lunch is also available at dinner, giving you a few more nutritious options.
Tips for Healthy Eating at Cracker Barrel
Start your meal off right by skipping soda and ordering water or unsweetened iced tea. This simple step can save several hundred calories and quite a few grams of sugar. Pass on appetizers, too, because these drive up the calorie content of your meal. The same goes for desserts, which are high in calories and sugar and offer little in the way of nutrition. When ordering your meal, ask for gravies and sauces on the side so you can control how much you add. You can also split a meal with a friend to cut the calories you consume in half. Another good way to save calories is to ask your server to wrap up half your meal right away so you're not tempted to keep eating even after you're full.