Diet Friendly Dining: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/26/2012 10:00 AM   :  45 comments   :  70,291 Views

Red Robin was named Zagat 2011 Fast Food Survey full-service chain "Best Burger" for the third straight year in a row. Known for their great atmosphere, unique burgers and Yummm®, this family friendly restaurant has had quite a transformation to achieve this honor. Originally started as a tavern back in the 1940s, it quickly became known as Sam's Red Robin for its singing owner that could frequently be heard singing "When the Red, Red, Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along)" with his barbershop quartet. By the 1970s, Red Robin had transitioned from a tavern to a gourmet burger restaurant. Today, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is an award-winning restaurant with both kid and parent appeal. When observing the pride they have in providing value centered service to their guests as well as the communities where they do business, it could be easy to forget to ask how their food stacks up nutritionally.
 
Innovative gourmet sandwiches tend to come with high calorie and sodium counts. Add to that calories and sodium from the Bottomless Steak Fries® (434 cal/18g fat/444 mg sodium per serving) and Bottomless Beverages™ and the totals could easily soar. While it may feel hopeless that you can enjoy a meal here while also staying within nutritional guidelines, there is a way to have your burger and eat it too! Here are some tips to help.  

Understanding all the nuances of food and nutrition and their influence on our body is a learning process that takes time to figure out. That is why healthy eating for weight control and health is a lifelong marathon and not a one-week sprint. Being able to look at a menu and know that grilled pineapple and homemade guacamole are better nutritional choices compared to hand-battered crispy onion straws or fried egg might seem easy. However, determining better options between different types of artisan buns or varieties of cheese can become overwhelming. Red Robin must understand that nutritional needs are as different as the number of patrons served and provide the Red Robin Customizer tool (and downloadable apps) to help guests plan individualized diet friendly meals.  
 
Most choices are likely to be too high in sodium for many meal plans so care is necessary for those that are highly sensitive for medical reasons. Appetizers are typically high calorie and high fat "extras" that are best avoided as the start to a meal. Portion size is always important so select smaller sizes when available. Many people will need to plan on only eating half of the entrée and either taking the rest home or sharing it with a friend to keep nutrient intake in line. Meal customization is encouraged at Red Robin and the customizer tool and app is a great help in do that before you arrive or as you prepare to order. Let's take a look at how this tool can be used to find a great tasting gourmet burger that won't break the nutritional bank.  
 
Customizing burgers is the only way to make them fit into most meal plans. The Banzai Burger sounds healthy with its beef patty, pineapple slice, fresh tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and cheese. However, when you calculate the nutrition and see that it contains over 1,000 calories you might gasp in horror wondering how you could have been so wrong. Looking a little closer you will realize you can customize it by removing the mayo and the Teriyaki Sauce to lower the total calories to 766 with 35 grams of total fat and 1,251 mg of sodium. When you divide the gourmet burger in half (and save or share the other half), you cut those totals in half and end up with a gourmet burger providing 383 calories, 17 total grams of fat with 625 mg of sodium which fits much nicer into most meal plans. Most gourmet burgers can be customized to fit into meal plans especially if you are only eating half.
Here are some of the best options (with recommended customization) that you might want to consider when visiting Red Robin.

Sandwiches

Simply Grilled Chicken Sandwich (as served)
Calories – 409
Fat – 7 grams
Sodium – 993 mg
Carbohydrate- 51 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 37 grams
 
Garden Burger (as served)
Calories – 478
Fat – 13 grams
Sodium – 1,754 mg
Carbohydrate – 74 grams
Fiber – 5 grams
Protein – 9 grams
 
Grilled Salmon Sandwich (without Country Dijon Sauce)
Calories – 395
Fat – 7 grams
Sodium – 555 mg
Carbohydrate – 48 mg
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 32 grams
 
Grilled Turkey Burger (without Chipotle Mayo)
Calories – 502
Fat – 22 grams
Sodium – 719 mg
Carbohydrate – 49 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 29 grams
 
Keep It Simple Burger (as served)
Calories – 569
Fat – 24 grams
Sodium – 991 mg
Carbohydrate – 51 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 37 grams
 
Lettuce-Wrap Your Burger (as served)
Calories – 423
Fat – 27 grams
Sodium – 397 mg
Carbohydrate – 7 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 35 grams
 
Vegan Boca Burger (as served)
Calories – 462
Fat – 11 grams
Sodium – 1,872 mg
Carbohydrate – 62 grams
Fiber – 10 grams
Protein – 36 grams
 
Salads and Soup

Apple Harvest Chicken Salad (as served)
Calories – 804 (half = 402)
Fat – 43 grams (half = 21 grams)
Sodium – 1,750 mg (half = 875 mg)
Carbohydrate – 64 grams (half = 32 grams)
Fiber – 8 grams (half = 4 grams)
Protein – 44 grams (half = 22 grams)
 
Avo-Cobb-O (without Bleu cheese crumbles, bacon bits and garlic focaccia with 2oz of Balsamic vinaigrette dressing)
Calories – 497
Fat – 27 grams
Sodium – 1,154 grams
Carbohydrate – 23 grams
Fiber – 9 grams
Protein – 39 grams
 
Half Serving of Grilled Chicken alla Caprese (as served)
Calories – 330
Fat – 17 grams
Sodium – 660 mg
Carbohydrate – 18 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 26 grams
 
Simply Grilled Chicken Salad (without bread and with 2 oz Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing)
Calories – 491
Fat – 24 grams
Sodium – 1,258 mg
Carbohydrate – 26 grams
Fiber – 6 grams
Protein – 42 grams
 
Half of a Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad (without tri-colored tortilla strips or fried Jalapeno rings)
Calories – 335
Fat – 21 grams
Sodium – 785 mg
Carbohydrate – 11 grams
Fiber – 3.5 grams
Protein – 23 grams
 
Cup of Red's Homemade Chili (as served)
Calories – 278
Fat – 16 grams
Sodium – 665 mg
Carbohydrate – 14 grams
Dietary Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 15 grams
 
Best Sides for Substitution

Melon Wedges (as served)
Calories – 61
Fat – 0 grams
Sodium – 29 mg
Carbohydrate – 15 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 2 grams
 
Steamed Broccoli (as served) (Also Steamed Carrots but no info available for those)
Calories – 32
Fat – 0 grams
Sodium – 31 mg
Carbohydrate – 6 grams
Fiber – 3 grams
Protein – 3 grams
 
Kid's Entrées
 
Chick On A Stick (as served)
Calories – 152
Fat – 4 grams
Sodium – 275 mg
Carbohydrate – 0 grams
Fiber – 0 grams
Protein – 30 grams
 
Rad Chicken Burger (as served)
Calories – 302
Fat – 7 grams
Sodium – 535 mg
Carbohydrate – 28 grams
Fiber – 1 gram
Protein – 34 grams
 
Rad Garden Burger (as served)
Calories – 305
Fat – 7 grams
Sodium – 1044 mg
Carbohydrate – 51 grams
Fiber – 4 grams
Protein – 4 grams
 
Rad Robin Burger (as served)
Calories – 286
Fat – 12 grams
Sodium – 381 mg
Carbohydrate – 28 grams
Fiber – 1 gram
Protein – 17 grams
 
Rad Vegan Boca Burger (as served)
Calories – 289
Fat – 5 grams
Sodium – 1,162 mg
Carbohydrate – 39 grams
Fiber – 9 grams
Protein – 31 grams
 
Red Robinetti Spaghetti (as served) 
Calories – 297
Fat – 2 grams
Sodium – 522 mg
Carbohydrate – 56 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 11 grams
 
 
For a gourmet burger restaurant, there are healthy alternatives especially for children. What is your healthy favorite? How would you customize to make better options?
 


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Comments

  • 45
    I tried a lettuce wrapped cheeseburger with side salad. The burger was great and I didn't miss the bun! Do any other restaurants offer lettuce wrapped sandwiches? - 4/25/2013   8:47:57 AM
  • KDMAMA2
    44
    These are some great ideas! I've been avoiding RR, but now I think I may have to plan a visit! :0) Thanks! - 4/29/2012   9:31:09 AM
  • 43
    I choose the turkey burger on a lettuce wrap & keep the chipotle mayo. Glad to see the melon & broccoli side options. I've been paying extra for soup. - 4/3/2012   8:14:18 AM
  • 42
    I always drop the mayo or equivalent sauce, you can get a whole grain bun now @ RR tho I try to remember to ask for no bun, so I can enjoy my single order of the fries.

    I only go a few times a year and I try to make it my midday meal to allow me time to get in a little activity before the end of the day - 3/31/2012   10:11:41 PM
  • 41
    I always have my burger lettuce wrapped. Saves on the carbs. And instead of fries, I order a side of broccoli. - 3/30/2012   2:24:06 PM
  • GMAGEE
    40
    We don't frequent most fast food or chain places, so am not familiar with Red Robin, but if the burger pictured above is what they serve, what's up with that? It looks like two grilled cheese sandwiches with a burger 'sandwiched' between them. Really? - 3/29/2012   11:32:22 PM
  • 39
    Yum! I love Red Robin and I'll be sure to customize my order next time to something healthier instead of ordering a 1000 cal entree! - 3/29/2012   7:33:47 PM
  • 38
    Didn't see the article til just now but I used the app before we went here for lunch today. Super easy to use and the staff was very helpful with my substitutions. I wish their grilled chicken was skinless but other than that, awesome! - 3/29/2012   7:09:39 PM
  • 37
    I am ditto on the half comment. I would take half and just enjoy it.... - 3/29/2012   8:46:53 AM
  • SBNORMAL
    36
    These burgers are to high calorie to be a burger and a fry. If I am going to eat 1200 calories for one meal, I want an entree, dessert, veggie and drink. - 3/29/2012   4:46:34 AM
  • 35
    I have always loved Red Robin and used to go there with my friends to the original one (I'm from Seattle) almost every weekend as a teenager. Now, I probably go there maybe once a year. What I have done to adapt is still get a banzai burger but get it wrapped in lettuce (they'll do that with any burger!) and without mayo then I get the steamed broccoli and my husband gets the fries with his order and we split them both. So good! - 3/28/2012   10:54:43 AM
  • 34
    It's one of the better burger places around but it's still a rare treat for us. And I agree; the staff are super accommodating for any special order or customization you want. Thanks for posting the info. - 3/28/2012   8:28:44 AM
  • 33
    My favourite burger is right here the lettuce wrap.Red Robin Fresh meat is great. The only thing that keeps me away is it 's NOISE. It has to be the noisiest place to eat in our town so many of us avoid it for that reason. - 3/27/2012   5:54:06 PM
  • 32
    Wow! I always thought the Garden Burger was the best choice. Looking at the sodium, carbs and protein has really changed my thinking!! - 3/27/2012   4:37:27 PM
  • 31
    never heard of it. - 3/27/2012   4:21:47 PM
  • BAMAJAM
    30
    Red Robin in our area offers "endless fries"--- not a healthy deal, however, my friends and I were able to substitute house salad instead of fries. I don't know if this is "policy" or not to have this substitution, but I think it is a smart option. - 3/27/2012   1:42:38 PM
  • 29
    I would order the apple harvest chicken salad or in the summer they had a salad with berries. The last few times I tried Red Robin I just shied away from ordering a burger or sandwich or any kind, I guess because of the calories and stuff. Otherwise I would have had a quacamole burger. - 3/27/2012   11:38:34 AM
  • 28
    wow is that an advertisement or what? The calorie info is good and I usually go to the home page of a restaurant to check out the nutritional info but also agree that I prefer my own burgers, much less fat - 3/27/2012   11:32:13 AM
  • 27
    Hmm... may have to try some - 3/27/2012   11:23:19 AM
  • 26
    If I am going to have a hamburger I prefer to make my own so I am able to control exactly what I am eating. When i eat out I would like something much healthier to spend my money on. - 3/27/2012   9:50:55 AM
  • 25
    I love a good hamburger but I prefer to make my own. When you do this you know exactly what you are getting. - 3/27/2012   9:49:18 AM
  • 24
    When I am going to enjoy a burger like this...I tend to reduce the caloric intake throughout the day by eating more fruits, veggies and yogurt. I think the key is planning and thinking about your dining experiences. Thank you for all the terrific information you provided! - 3/27/2012   9:07:53 AM
  • 23
    ...or you could make burgers at home using locally pasture-raised beef, organic veggies, and an indie bakery's rolls for a REAL gourmet experience and you wouldn't need ANY condiments...? :-D - 3/27/2012   7:45:06 AM
  • AUBURN_KP
    22
    I've generally had the best service at Red Robin. They are incredibly accomodating to people who want some modifications of menu (ie vegetarian). I've had the chicken caprese with a boca substitute and they don't even bat an eye. I've had fries as an app. It's very family oriented -- so it tends to be very loud. Their service tends to be good and upbeat. They offered to swap out a burger I'd half eaten (I didn't take the offer) when I thought they might have made an error in the order. Customer satisfaction appears to be high on their list. They are high on my list in the TGI Friday, Chili's type of establishment. - 3/27/2012   7:30:40 AM
  • 21
    Really?? The place is very noisy, the service is poor & the food is some of the unhealthiest publicly served. How can this be gourmet or even pass as good? Our family has never had a tolerable experience at Red Robin. Run away - fast.
    - 3/27/2012   4:22:33 AM
  • 20
    No Red Robins in my neck of the woods (Northern CA) but I see the commercials on East coast TV channels all the time. It looks YUMMMM!! - 3/27/2012   2:19:29 AM
  • NEEDS_MUST
    19
    I am always raving about Red Robin because they are so accommodating with all the customizing they'll do. I always use their Customizer to play with different things I'd like to try. I have them leave off the sauces because they're a giant part of the high sodium count of their food - but after comparing the ciabatta bun to lettuce-wrapping, I see most of the sodium is in the bun! I lettuce-wrap the Chicken Caprese and get no pesto aioli, which makes the sandwich 323 calories and only 396mg salt instead of over 1000. The sandwich is not dry because of the balsamic marinated tomatoes. My husband always jokes about my 'dry' sandwich preferences, but I say adding veggies is all the 'wet' I usually need. - 3/26/2012   10:18:25 PM
  • 18
    I think we have one in Edmonton but I amshocked to see how much SODIUM there is in the garden burger. So much for a "healthy alternative". - 3/26/2012   8:55:38 PM
  • NILBOGGER
    17
    They got rid of the melon wedges at my Red Robin :( - 3/26/2012   8:44:11 PM
  • 16
    I love their turkey burgers! I always get them with no mayo and with the lettuce wrap instead of the bun. The lettuce is always crisp and I do not miss the bun at all! - 3/26/2012   6:42:24 PM
  • 15
    Sounds great, if only we had one of those around here. - 3/26/2012   4:02:31 PM
  • 14
    I love Red Robin! One thing I do is order my gormet burger w/o a bun. You'd be surprised how many calories you loose when you give up those thick, fluffy pieces of bread! - 3/26/2012   2:31:22 PM
  • MRSJ953
    13
    This is my husbands favorite place. You can downsize any hamburger by asking for the "petite" size. It is usually a dollar cheaper. Much smaller burger and bun. - 3/26/2012   2:14:39 PM
  • 12
    I'm going to have to get that Customizer Tool and work a few of these things out for myself. The thought of eating a dry burger or any other sandwich for that matter is so unappetizing to me. Eating 1/2 of a burger is a little more palatable, as their burgers are generally rather large. - 3/26/2012   1:11:52 PM
  • 11
    Glad to know there are some healthier options... though I still just about pass out when I read some of the sodium content in these restaurants or fast food places! - 3/26/2012   12:59:28 PM
  • RUNNINGYOGINIRE
    10
    I didn't know the restaurant had healthy options. Good to know - 3/26/2012   12:48:52 PM
  • 9
    I Love the Lettuce Wrap your Burger. Yummy!
    - 3/26/2012   12:47:37 PM
  • 8
    I've never eaten here but I'm glad I read this article. Now I'll be prepared to make healthier choices if we ever do go. - 3/26/2012   12:35:19 PM
  • 7
    I wish I had read this before going there this weekend! I ordered the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad, unaltered. - 3/26/2012   12:16:27 PM
  • 6
    They will lettuce wrap any burger,really nice if you are GF or just watching carbs. They also have a smaller size burger that you can get in any style, just have to ask for it. - 3/26/2012   11:46:12 AM
  • 5
    I would go for 1/2 a buger & no fries. - 3/26/2012   11:40:25 AM
  • 4
    This is our family favorite place... Husband can eat whatever he likes... Kid is thrilled with pizza & apples... And I can get a healthy choice...Blackend Chicken Sandwich... (Cal 621 reg order- 377cals how I order it) = No bun (lettuce wrapped) - No mayo, add jalapenos, grilled onions... Salad instead of Fries. for a GRAND total of 415 calories! OH YEA... Out to dinner with the family has never been so great! The wait staff doesn't even act like it's a problem when I special order my burger... They are all wonderful! - 3/26/2012   11:29:27 AM
  • NANCA720
    3
    Red Robin is extremely accomodating. I am gluten and dairy free and they always are happy to customize anything. Also, for any others gluten free they have a gluten free menu. - 3/26/2012   10:21:17 AM
  • 2
    I don't think of hamburger and gourmet in the same sentence. LOL - 3/26/2012   10:09:46 AM

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