There’s something remarkably consistent about steakhouse chains. You can walk into almost any location and count on a few things: you can order your favorite choice of steak, hearty sides you know and love, and you’ll likely walk away feeling full.
Perhaps most unbelievably, even though these steakhouse staples are more or less clichéd at this point, there hasn’t been a joint of meat and potatoes that has cornered the market. Instead, it’s a rather vibrant shared space, with national steakhouse chains ranging from unreachably expensive to affordable. There are the Smiths & Wollenskys of the world, and there are the Outbacks.
The good news, for steakhouses of all price ranges? In this post-pandemic world, Americans are flocking to them. Most brands have seen an uptick in business over the past year. But before we hit the masses, we’ve rounded up some health tips from registered dietitian Sydney Greene, MS, RD, who gave us advice on what to order and what to pass on.
And don’t miss 7 steakhouse chains with the best quality meat in America.
Per serving: 1100 calories, 71 g fat (21 g saturated fat), 195 mg cholesterol, 2040 mg sodium, 68 g carbohydrates (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 50 g protein
You’ll find the Country Fried Sirloin in the Country Dinners section of the Texas Roadhouse menu, and it’s definitely the complete shebang. The restaurant describes it as “a freshly cut, hand-beaten sirloin, served crisp and golden, topped with a cream sauce.” Greene describes it as very high in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium. This is, of course, the result of battered and fried red meat – and not to mention the sauce!
“Whether you have cardiovascular disease or are in good health, it would be wise to avoid this dish,” she says. “A better option is grilled salmon with two vegetarian sides.”
Per serving: 1,380 calories
Talk about portion control — this steakhouse specialty hits more than half the recommended average amount of calories you should consume in a day. According to Greene, calories aren’t the only concern here. Red meat is known to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and when you factor in ribs, which are high in sodium, you’re maxing out on just about every front.
Instead of going for that bad boy, Greene recommends going for the grilled salmon or the shrimp on the Barbie.
Per servingCalories: 1050, 62 g fat (25 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 200 mg cholesterol, 1440 mg sodium, 60 g carbohydrate (1 g fibre, 2 g sugar), 63 g of protein
We know that red meat can be problematic on a diet, and we know that too much bread and too many fries don’t exactly scream healthy either. This Maverick Ribeye combines all three.
“The sandwich alone is over 1,000 calories,” says Green, “and those calories aren’t high-quality. The energy dense in this meal comes from the rib eye cut which naturally contains more fat. Also, Swiss cheese, white bread and hamburger sauce will definitely cause gastrointestinal upset.”
Instead, our expert recommends the grilled chicken and strawberry salad the next time you’re in Longhorn.
Per serving: 1220 calories, 91 g fat (40 g saturated fat, 4.5 g trans fat), 310 mg cholesterol, 1390 mg sodium, 0 g carbohydrates, 99 g protein
“Nobody needs a 24-ounce steak for dinner,” says Greene. She goes on to explain that this dish has about 168 grams of protein, which is way more than most healthy adults need in a day. Consuming so much protein in one meal can be hard on your kidneys, says Greene. Additionally, this steak also contains a high amount of saturated fat, given that it is such a large portion of red meat.
“The best option for red meat lovers,” says Green, “is the Petit Filet.”
Per serving: 920 calories, 52 g fat (18 g saturated fat), 185 mg cholesterol, 3520 mg sodium, 59 g carbohydrates (1 g fiber, 51 g sugar), 51 g protein
We love eating ribs as much as the next person – the whole process is fun – but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy in any way. As Greene points out, 1,800 calories is the recommended amount for some adults in an entire day.
She adds that rib sauce is usually high in sugar and sodium and suggests opting for the 6oz top sirloin with two vegetarian sides instead.