The Healthiest Meals You Can Order at Denny’s

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to eat healthier. But don’t let your obsession with healthy eating restrict your social life. You can still eat out with friends and make healthy food choices. It’s all about picking the specific dish you want and customizing your options any way you can. Even restaurants like Denny’s have plenty of healthy entrées to choose from. As it turns out, some of the healthiest Denny’s meals on the menu are foods you wouldn’t expect.

Heading to Denny’s? Here are the healthiest meals you’ll find. All of the options below include less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium and fewer than 1,100 calories — and only one of them’s a salad.

1. Tilapia Ranchero

fish with potatoes and salad on a plate

Grilled fish is always healthier than fried fish. | iStock.com/rez-art

Give your favorite seafood dish a spicy twist. This fish filet comes grilled with fresh avocado and pico de gallo. A Tilapia Ranchero meal contains 550 calories, 55 grams of protein, 930 milligrams of sodium, and only 5 grams of saturated fat. Add a side of broccoli and whole-grain rice for a total of 11 grams of fiber, less than 1,000 total calories, and no additional saturated fat. Plus, all the ingredients included in this meal are loaded with healthy fats, protein, and plenty of healthy carbohydrates to fill you up and keep you full until tomorrow.

2. Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast

pancakes with syrup and pecans

Fresh fruit adds sweetness without the sugar in syrup. | iStock.com/rojoimages

Your pancakes need a little something extra — you might as well make it healthy. These Banana Pecan Pancakes are cooked with pecans inside and topped with fresh slices of banana (so you won’t even need syrup). Including the egg whites and turkey bacon that come along with them, you’re getting a breakfast feast worth 750 calories, 29 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, and only 3 grams of saturated fat. Worried about sodium? There are just under 1,600 milligrams of it — but compared to many of the entrées you’ll find on a Denny’s menu, that’s not so terrible.

3. Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad (with balsamic vinaigrette)

a salad with grilled chicken and lemon

This salad’s many flavors will leave you feeling satisfied every time. | iStock.com/jatrax

This is one of the healthiest salads you’ll find at any restaurant — even the dressing is reasonably healthy. As its name implies, the Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad is a plate full of leafy green deliciousness, topped with grilled chicken, pecans, dried cranberries, and apple slices. For only 360 calories, 1,060 milligrams of sodium seems like a lot — but with 36 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and only 1 gram of saturated fat, it’s much healthier than a salad made of bacon and heavy dressing.

4. Sirloin Steak

a grilled steak on a picnic table

If you want a healthy steak, don’t fry it. | iStock.com/VankaD

Going for the smallest portion of meat possible is always best when eating out, which makes the Sirloin Steak meal a perfect choice. Start with a juicy 8-ounce sirloin and dinner bread — only 470 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat — and add on red potatoes and vegetables for a treat under 700 total calories.

At 1,900 milligrams, this meal has the highest amount of sodium of the options on this list. But the majority of Denny’s menu sandwiches and similar entrées reach far past 2,000 milligrams — some even surpassing 4,000. Steak, potatoes, and veggies are filling enough that there’s no way you’ll be tempted to snack on something salty after you’re done with dinner.

5. T-bone Steak

T-bone steak with a tomato, veggies, and fries

You don’t have to eat your whole meal all at once. | iStock.com/erwin_ps

If you’re really hungry, this 13-ounce T-bone Steak won’t completely ruin your diet. Altogether, the steak, bread, veggies,and corn on the side provide a total of 1,015 calories, 65 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber. Only a third of the meal’s total fat content is saturated, and there are still less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium. Always keep in mind you can split your entrée and save some for later if you still want to enjoy it (just not all at once).

6. Chicken Philly Melt

chicken sandwich with cheese and veggies

This sandwich is one of the healthiest on the menu. | iStock.com/Arijuhani

Most of the sandwiches available to order at Denny’s aren’t worth the calories, sodium, or fat. Surprisingly, the Chicken Philly Melt is one of few exceptions. Side not included, this sandwich is 800 calories and has 35 grams of protein, 1,560 milligrams of sodium, and 16 grams of saturated fat. It’s mostly the cheese to blame for the high sodium content — but there are enough veggies inside the bun that it almost cancels out the dairy. Also, you also have the option to build your own sandwich if none of the menu options fit exactly what you’re looking for.

7. Bacon Avocado Cheeseburger

large cheeseburger stacked with avocado and veggies

Add a little healthy fat to your beef. | iStock.com/rjgrant

The Bacon Avocado Cheeseburger certainly isn’t the worst menu item you could choose on your lunch break. (Avocados make everything healthier — right? ) The burger, topped with melted cheese, avocado, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, onions, and pickles, is 1,030 calories, 1,100 milligrams of sodium, and 41 grams of protein. Choose veggies or rice as your side to avoid adding on more calories and salt.

8. Build Your Own (Beef) Burger

a restaurant burger with fries

Embrace the opportunity to build the burger of your dreams. | iStock.com/Lisovskaya

Sometimes, the easiest way to find the healthiest meal on the menu is to create your own. Denny’s lets you build your own burger, giving you the freedom to choose exactly what appears in front of you 20 minutes later. Start with a 355-calorie 100% beef patty and toppings — 29 grams of protein and 0 total carbs. Put that on a whole-wheat bun for an additional 200 calories and 36 carbs.

Burgers automatically come with lettuce, red onions, pickles, and tomatoes. However, you can add Swiss cheese and a side of fries for a meal that’s just over 1,100 calories and just under 1,000 milligrams of salt.

9. Build Your Own (Chicken) Burger

A chicken sandwich with cheese and greens on top

Grilled chicken has less saturated fat than beef. | iStock.com/SherSor

Still want a burger, sans the beef? Build a sandwich with a grilled chicken breast instead — only 200 calories, 6 grams of fat, and about 360 milligrams of sodium, plus 35 grams of protein. Top that with cheddar cheese, lettuce, red onions, and a tomato, all on a brioche bun, and you’ve got yourself a “burger” you won’t regret. Add a side of fruit and still enjoy a meal that’s just over 600 total calories, less than 1,000 sodium milligrams, and packed with fiber.

10. Supreme Skillet

a healthy breakfast of bacon, eggs, and sausage

Why is breakfast food so much better than all other food? | iStock.com/kabVisio

Breakfast is the easiest meal to overindulge in — it’s just so good. However, starting your day off with a healthy meal can motivate you to continue making good food choices all day long. So, start with the Supreme Skillet, a medley of vegetables topped with eggs. This meal is 587 calories, plus it has 21 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. The potatoes and other seasonings bring the sodium level up to 1,158 milligrams per skillet, but that’s not nearly as much as the Country-Fried Steak and Egg Skillet, which has 2,410 milligrams — more than you’re supposed to eat in an entire day.

11. Wild Alaska Salmon Skillet

grilled salmon over grilled veggies

Wild salmon is the better choice when choosing between wild or farmed. | iStock.com/IgorDutina

Many seafood items at restaurants are breaded, fried, and covered in thick, creamy sauces. Not this meal. The Wild Alaska Salmon Skillet is a grilled fish filet seasoned with herbs — and probably a little salt, since there are nearly 1,500 milligrams of sodium in the entire meal. But this fish delight wouldn’t be a part of the skillet family if it weren’t for its vegetable companions — potatoes, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms. For all that, there are just 740 calories and 10 grams of saturated fat. You’ll also get just under 40 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber.

12. Loaded Veggie Omelette

Vegetables are an excellent source of fiber.

If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast that will fill you up, this is the right choice. | iStock.com/mikafotostok

Whoever said it’s hard to squeeze vegetables into a breakfast meal has never tried this dish. Denny’s has created an omelette made with three eggs mixed with cheese, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, and squash — a greater variety of vegetables than most people probably eat in a day. Choose the Loaded Veggie Omelette with hash browns and an English muffin for just 490 calories. With 32 grams of protein and plenty of fiber from the vegetables, you’ll be glad you picked this option.

13. Bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken and vegetables are excellent sources of protein.

Choose soup if you need something a little lighter. | iStock.com/joshuaraineyphotography

If you need something light to hold you over until dinner, consider ordering a simple bowl of soup. Denny’s Chicken Noodle Soup packs in 15 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber for only 140 calories. You might not stay full for long. However, if you choose soup as your entrée, you can avoid the temptation to overeat.

14. Build Your Own Grand Slam

pancakes, eggs, and bacon on a plate

Build the healthiest breakfast you can — you won’t regret it. | iStock.com/Fudio

What’s your idea of a perfect breakfast? At Denny’s, you can create it. You can also choose healthier options without sacrificing any of your favorite foods. Build your own breakfast and choose two whole-wheat pancakes, oatmeal, fruit, and yogurt for a meal that’s only 780 calories (compared to the original Grand Slam, which is almost 1,000). You’ll still get 22 grams of protein, 14 grams of fiber, and only 2.5 grams of saturated fat across your whole meal.

15. The Fit Slam

breakfast with toast and eggs

A breakfast high in fiber will help keep you full all morning. | iStock.com/Joseph_Fotografie

If you’re going to choose from Denny’s Fit selections, this is the meal you’ll definitely want to try. The Fit Slam is made with scrambled egg whites, spinach, tomatoes, plus an English muffin, fruit, and turkey bacon on the side. The entire meal only has 390 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 890 milligrams of sodium. You’ll get 6 grams of fiber and 24 grams of protein as well. It doesn’t just taste good — it’s the perfect way to start your day off right.