Steak on your mind? Carefree. There are plenty of ways for steak lovers to enjoy their favorite dishes at their local steakhouse or at popular chains like Peter Luger’s, Morton’s, Pappas Bros., Fogo de Chao or The Capital Grille without destroying their diet. The key to ordering healthier options at a steakhouse is knowing what options you have that will help you stay on track, as well as learning how to navigate the menu’s nutritional minefields.
Many classic American steakhouse menu items are extremely high in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium, and these restaurants often market their menu items by the huge portions that are more appropriate for multiple people to share instead. only one person.
What’s even more surprising about steakhouse menus is that often the entrees or starters are often the most unhealthy options on the entire menu. Plus, dishes that aren’t even steak, like fried chicken with mashed potatoes, are often less healthy than your favorite steak dinner.
To help you feel confident about meeting your health goals when dining out, here’s what to avoid for your next steakhouse meal, plus some healthier alternatives to try.
One of the worst dishes to order at a steakhouse is an order of ribs. Whether it’s pork or beef ribs, they’re generally higher in calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium than most other main course choices. For example, an order of Baby Back Pork Ribs from BJ’s has 1,300 calories just the ribs, and that’s without the sides.
French Dip Sandwiches
Another menu item to avoid at steakhouses is the French Dip sandwich. Logan’s Pile High French Dip has 770 calories, 36 grams of fat (12 grams of saturated fat), and 3,230 milligrams of sodium! With just 2 grams of fiber, this carnivore’s favorite can skyrocket your cholesterol and sodium levels. For comparison, a 6-ounce sirloin steak at Logan’s has 330 calories, 28 grams of total fat (8 grams of saturated fat), and 990 milligrams of sodium. Although some of these numbers are still a bit high, this is a healthier alternative.
Most steakhouses have full menus with plenty of chicken and fish dinners, but the fried chicken dinner should be avoided. For example, Bloomin’ Fried Chicken at Outback has 920 calories, 18 grams of saturated fat, and 2,030 milligrams of sodium. Most fried chicken dinners will have similar nutrition, and that’s foremost any side dish.
Fried onion appetizers
As a general rule, all fried foods in steakhouses are usually food disasters, even finger foods. For example, the Outback Steakhouse Bloomin’ Onion is one of the worst steakhouse options for your health. Weighing in at 1,620 calories, 126 grams of fat, 41 grams of saturated fat, and 4,140 milligrams of sodium, this entree has about half the calories you need in an entire day! Plus, it contains about 2.5 times the amount of sodium you should be consuming all day.
The Best Choices to Make at a Steakhouse
If you decide your dinner menu in advance, you can enjoy a delicious steakhouse meal while staying on track. Best to stick with smaller cuts of lean steaks, which would be any cut of steak that has “loin” or “round” in its name. A sirloin or eye round are leaner options than a tenderloin, rib eye or sirloin steak.
A simple vegetarian side dish is one of your healthiest choices for side options. Other healthier side options include a baked potato, corn, coleslaw, or green beans. If your restaurant offers a house salad, any way to add extra vegetables to your meal is great for adding fiber and essential nutrients without fat or calories.
Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD
Julie Upton is an award-winning registered dietitian and communications specialist who has written thousands of articles for national media, including The New York Times, US News & World Report, and USA Today. Learn more about Julie
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