I love Waffle House, but the doctor said I should lose weight. However, she didn’t say I had to sacrifice my favorite low-cost diner on the alter of weight loss. I’d miss the friendly folks, good food, fast service, and low prices at my local Waffle House. The chain of little diners is simply a cultural icon and part of my identity as a Southerner. After all, on the Waffle House website, chain co-founder, Joe Rogers, Sr., is quoted as saying, “We are not in the food business…we are in the People business.” Waffle House is just a comfortable place for regular people to eat. I couldn’t just give it up on doctor’s orders.
Instead of avoiding Waffle House, I just made a few changes to the things I ordered. I ate much healthier meals at Waffle House and still lost weight. Just don’t tell those yuppies over at Starbucks. They would ruin the whole ambiance of the place. Here are the changes I made when ordering at Waffle House:
Change #1: No Waffles. It may seem like sacrilege, but if you want to lose weight at Waffle House, you have to do without the waffles. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives on the menu and not every meal comes with waffles. Alternatively, you could probably have a waffle, but not much else.
Change #2: Substitute Whole Wheat Toast. Most breakfasts at Waffle House come with toast. You have a choice of white toast, raisin toast, or whole wheat toast. I choose whole wheat toast. If you choose whole wheat, you’ll greatly reduce the number of carbs in your meal.
Change #3: Substitute Sliced Tomatoes. For a long time, diners have made a vital choice at Waffle House: Hashbrowns or Grits. It has been one of those life defining choices like Coke or Pepsi. However, there is a third and healthier option: Sliced Tomatoes. Sliced tomatoes have far fewer carbs than either hashbrowns or grits. I find that they are a good compliment to eggs and other proteins. If I want to kick them up a notch, I add tabasco sauce. It’s too bad they can’t be smothered, covered, and capped like the hashbrowns.
Change #4: Eat a Hearty Protein. I usually choose Papa Joe’s pork chops and eggs. When I’m bad, I even get the “meat lover’s” order of three pork chops. However, Waffle House also offers Grilled Chicken or Steak. All are very tasty and the portion sizes are very close to the meat portion sizes that nutritionists recommend. For example, you can get an 8-ounce Ribeye and eggs.
Change #5: Drink unsweet tea. Sweet tea is a tradition in the American South. Unfortunately, diabetes is too. So when I visit Waffle House, I stick to unsweetened tea. There is plenty of flavor in the food. I don’t need the extra carbohydrates and sugar of a soda or sweet tea.
While the waitresses might look at you a little funny the first time you order sliced tomatoes instead of grits, these little tweaks to your order can really help you lose weight. I’m no doctor or dietician and I wouldn’t eat every meal at Waffle House. However, you can enjoy meals there pretty regularly and keep your weight loss program on track. In a seven month period, I lost around 70 pounds by avoiding certain foods, making radical changes to my carbohydrate intake, and getting moderate exercise by walking our dog. It’s much easier than you think!