Oh, Cracker Barrel—wonderland of old-timey rocking chairs, gift-shop tchotchkes, and biscuits. So many biscuits.
Maybe you love the restaurant chain. Maybe you’ve ended up there because you’ve spent a looooong time driving on the highway and you’ve reached a point in your hunger that you had to turn off at the next exit or else risk hanger-induced road rage directed at the next PT Cruiser you witnessed puttering along in the left lane.
Either way, at a restaurant where you can order something called “Grandpa’s Country Fried Breakfast,” you might not think that Cracker Barrel has any nutritious options to offer. But we found a few amidst all the gravy.
Here are a few rules you should follow, along with the best menu options to order, the next time you find yourself over at the barrel.
Pick Fruit, not “Fruit”
Avoid any apples, blueberries, or peaches that aren’t labeled “fresh.” Cracker Barrel’s Sweet Ripe Blackberry n’ Real Whipped Cream has 350 calories and 66 grams of sugar—and that’s as a topping. Their “fried apples” have 26 grams of sugar and 170 calories. Their fresh apple slices have 14 grams of sugar and 70 calories, by comparison. Order those instead.
Bypass the Biscuits
Sorry. Three of these with sawmill gravy pile on 710 calories, 84 grams of empty carbohydrates, and 17 grams of protein. A better breakfast bet: a Smokehouse Breakfast of two eggs, grits, and turkey sausage. You’ll eat 350 calories, 19 grams of carbs, and 28 grams of protein. Add a side of fresh apples slices to tack on 3 more grams of fiber.
Cracker Barrel’s burger section is bloated. Their sandwiches heap on the calories. Anything “country fried” is an obvious no-go. So opt for seafood. Two of their lemon pepper grilled rainbow trout fillets have a gut-filling 43 grams of protein for only 330 calories and hardly a carb.
…Then Add Vegetables
Order some produce for the table. A bowl of pinto beans has 21 grams of filling fiber. The turnip greens have eight. Or pack in more nutrients with a side of country green beans, fresh steamed broccoli, or a Brussels sprouts and kale salad. Yes, even Cracker Barrel is on the kale bandwagon!
Thinking of dessert?
Whatever you do, avoid Cracker Barrel’s Apple Dumplin dessert with two scoops of ice cream.
This disaster of a dessert has 1,710 calories and 246 grams of carbs, 118 of which are sugar. That’s the caloric equivalent of drinking almost 11 ½ cans of Coke.
The Best Gift Shop Grub: pickles
If you need a road snack, seek out the spicy pickled okra, baby corn, or cottage dill pickles. They’re lower in calories than their smoked sausages and far cheaper than one of those hardwood rocking chairs. Fits in the trunk better too.
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