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Curbing carbs without cutting flavor

Ono, You Know

May 6, 2018

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

After visiting GRYLT’s Ala Moana branch, the editor realized just how marvelous low-carb dining can be.

I often talk to friends, family members and readers who are eager to find scrumptious dining options that won’t get in the way of their healthy diets. Luckily, no longer are the days when going on a diet means you have to eat bland, boring food or pre-packaged low-calorie meals. Nor does it mean you have to stay at home and cook yourself! These days, seeking out healthy options when dining out is easier than ever — and you may just find a lean entree where you’d least expect it!

As far as diets go, we’ve all seen the fads come and go, but low-carb dining remains a go-to method for many health-conscious feasters. So here are a few more tasty choices to add to your repertoire. (And even if you’re not on a diet, these bites are total winners.)

THRILL OF THE ‘GRYLT’

Those trying a low-carb diet for the first time may know to cut the carbohydrates, of course, but many don’t know where to go from there. That’s where GRYLT steps in to help, as the healthy takeout spot has many well-balanced options to ensure your light-carb meal is still satisfying, nutritious and, best of all, delicious.

GRYLT’s Surf and Turf Platter ($16.14) with $1 upgrade for two vegetable sides.

Take it from corporate chef Jose Arias — who has a degree in food service management, with a concentration in wellness and sustainability, from Rhode Island’s Johnson & Wales University. He’s got a range of great tips to share with customers, starting with GRYLT’s Surf and Turf Platter ($16.14 each; mention this article and receive 15 percent off dish). Arias says these are great for low-carb dining because they follow the ketogenic model of having a good amount of healthy fats from the meat and seafood to make up for the lack of carbs, and they’ll still leave you feeling satiated.

Ono, You Know recently discovered GRYLT’s near-endless array of protein and veggies to choose from. You can customize your surf and turf combo with all natural, nitrate-, steroid- and hormone-free chicken as well as omega-rich shrimp, for example. And if you still want the feeling of eating carbs without technically cheating, request mashed cauliflower ($1 upgrade) on the side, a fabulous substitute for mashed potatoes or rice.

You’ll also love GRYLT’s unique salads, including grilled baby romaine with Parmesan, tomatoes and caramelized onions.

“We add flavor without adding calories because we grill the baby romaine wedge, which adds an awesome, nutty depth of flavor,” shares Arias. “And we don’t use any sugar to caramelize the onions, it’s all natural; we just use a bit of balsamic to give it more flavor.”

GRYLT’s Surf and Turf Platter ($16.14) with $1 upgrade for mashed cauliflower

Another winning surf-and-turf pairing is steak and salmon, whose richness goes well with a light arugula mix (currently only available at Ala Moana) and low-carb, fiber-rich garden veggies ($1 upgrade for double-veggie sides). GRYLT recipes always find a way to squeeze in more healthful ingredients and flavors, such as the walnuts and cranberries on the salad, with no sugar added. “You need a little bit of sugar in your life, so you might as well make it all natural,” adds the chef.

As an added bonus, GRYLT makes its sauces from scratch. Be sure to try the chimichurri-style citrus herb sauce, which goes well on everything from seafood and chicken to salads. “It’s really awesome with steak,” notes Arias, “because it cuts through the richness but adds that fresh, herbal flavor and acidity.”

Last, but not least, check out GRYLT’s popular meal-prep program at builtbygrylt.com to explore a low-carb plan that’s easy to personalize just for your needs.

IN LOVE WITH L&L

Being on a low-carb diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out on plate lunch cravings. You can still head to L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, one of the leaders in island-style comfort food, and be able to munch away on local flavors paired with healthy sides.

L&L’s Healthy Garlic Shrimp (prices vary). Photo courtesy L&L

L&L is now home to Healthy Barbecue Chicken and Healthy Garlic Shrimp plates, both of which are served with a green salad and one scoop of brown rice — proving that today’s plate lunch doesn’t have to have two scoops of white rice and mac salad to be oh-so satisfying.

These healthier plate lunches are available at most L&L locations, though prices vary. Be sure to call the branch nearest you to see where you can get your fix.

For four decades now, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue has been spreading an edible form of aloha through its classic comfort foods, which have remained simple and true to Hawaii’s roots since the very first eatery opened on Liliha Street in 1976. These days, the island-based franchise can still be found putting plate lunch on the map for an international spectrum of patrons, while also serving kamaaina the flavors of their childhood right here at home.

L&L’s Healthy Barbecue Chicken (prices vary). Photo courtesy L&L

Low-carbs aside, diners haven’t stopped reaching for L&L’s affordable favorites, such as the quintessential Barbecue Mix Plate of teri steak, barbecue chicken and short ribs served with rice and mac salad. And then there are those golden, crispy pieces of chicken katsu that taste even better when dipped into L&L’s made-from-scratch katsu sauce.

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