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Diet Friendly Dining: Ruby Tuesday

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/13/2009 6:11 AM   :  53 comments   :  24,916 Views

When dining at casual dining restaurants, we encourage you to aim for a complete meal that is 500 calories and 15-20 grams of fat or less. That can be difficult to accomplish at many establishments.
Our ongoing Diet Friendly Dining series, is intended to help you make informed decisions so meeting this goal is a little easier.

Here are some additional things to consider when dining at Ruby Tuesday Restaurants.

  • Caution should be used when eating at this restaurant when sodium intake is a concern. Since their nutrition information doesn't include sodium, the assumption should be that many to most of the entrées are high to extremely high in sodium.

  • If members of your family have gluten sensitivities or food allergies for wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, or shellfish there are online resources to help you. Before dining out, be sure to review the suggested menu items listed online to help you identify the best choices free of the ingredients that are not tolerated.

  • Many of the salads provide good nutrition but at a high calorie cost because of the large portion sizes. The Club House salad for instance provides about 840 calories and 53 grams of fat without dressing. While these are nutrient rich choices compared to French fries, when you are trying to watch your weight - calories are calories. Your best choice will be the Smart Eating Grilled Chicken Salad which provides 489 calories and 28 grams of fat. While it is still on the high side, it is about half of many other options. Lite Ranch Dressing is one of your best dressing options and it is best to get it on the side so you can use it sparingly.

  • Most of the sandwiches provide over 800 calories and 54 grams of fat with several as high as 1300 calories and 90 grams of fat in just the sandwich alone. Select a wrap instead of the burgers and save yourself about half the calories and fat. The Smart Eating Turkey Burger Wrap provides 551 calories and 19 grams of fat and the Smart Eating Grilled Chicken Wrap provides less at 436 calories and 17 grams of fat.

  • Dinner selections can get quite high in calories and fat. Selecting items a la carte will save you calorie wise but may cost a bit more. Remember to avoid the fried entrée options, ask for sauces or gravies to be left off or served on the side. There are many healthy side items to select such as a green beans, brown rice pilaf, plain baked potato, steamed broccoli, and mashed cauliflower.

  • Soup can be a filling and lower calorie selection so be sure to check on the soup of the day. One of the best choices is the White Bean Chicken Chili with 318 calories, 11 grams of fat and 11 grams of fiber as well.

  • Seafood and chicken can provide wonderful lower calorie and fat options if they are prepared in a way that doesn't add additional fat from frying, gravies or sauces. Some of the better choices would include the Smart Eating Creole Catch (320 cal/16 gr fat), Smart Eating New Orleans Seafood (443 cal/25 gr fat), Smart Eating Grilled Salmon (365 cal/23 gr fat), Smart Eating Chicken Bella (387 cal/17 gr fat), and Smart Eating Grilled Chicken (387 cal/17 gr fat).

  • Steaks can provide a great protein and iron source. Smaller portion sizes are best with your best choices being the Smart Eating Petite Sirloin with 206 calories and 5 grams of fat and the Smart Eating Top Sirloin with 256 calories and 6 grams of fat.

The bottom line - Ruby Tuesday is one of the better casual dining options because they have many lower calorie choices for many different tastes.

What are some of your favorite selections?


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Comments

  • 53
    I wonder if Ruby Tuesday still has these items on their menu. I don't mind eating there but there isn't really one that is convenient to us. But if the opportunity arose to go there, I would want to be prepared in advance so that I knew what to order to get the best nutrition. - 10/21/2013   3:15:05 PM
  • EXCELDREAM
    52
    I love their herb crusted tilapia. While it doesn't appear to be within the calorie range, I'm easily satisfied with half - plus I get another delicious meal some other day from the left overs.Their sugar snap peas and mashed cauliflower are also great. Again, a much higher in calories than if you made them yourself, but halving them as well gets the meal within a reasonable range. And I always feel like I've had a special treat. - 6/4/2013   11:15:12 AM
  • 51
    Ruby tuesdays used to be a hamburger joint but they have really revised their food selections. I enjoy eating there. - 1/13/2010   6:43:54 PM
  • MUHLIFUH
    50
    I never even think to eat at a Ruby Tuesday when dining out, but I am definitely adding it to my repetoire of healthIER options. - 11/19/2009   1:59:27 PM
  • 49
    The items listed above are still very high in the fat content department....I'm not too familiar with their menu but perhaps there are dressings, etc. that you could cut out to cut the fat down some? - 11/3/2009   10:33:55 AM
  • STEPHANIELEE13
    48
    Their salad bar is delicious and I don't like pasta salads and stuff like that so it works! - 11/2/2009   10:11:08 PM
  • 47
    Great I need to get them a try. I haven't ate there since the 90's & after seeing that they do chicken & turkey I definitely want to go try it out! - 11/2/2009   9:52:24 PM
  • ARISSIE
    46
    I really enjoy Ruby Tuesday. I fine that when I go there i can always pick something good to eat. As far as calories you can pick something from the salad bar, you have choices. - 8/12/2009   11:45:14 AM
  • 45
    I ate at Ruby Tuesday recently and was impressed with the smaller portions and also that they had a gluten free menu since my husband is celiac. I ordered the New Orleans Seafood which was quite good. I stay away from the salad bar because it is too easy to over eat. That is the same reason I usually try to stay away from buffets. - 7/24/2009   3:41:16 PM
  • 44
    I love Ruby's salad bar.
    I do wish they, along with other casual dining restaurants, would offer more vegetarian choices. - 7/18/2009   8:42:22 PM
  • AMARANTHA2
    43
    I have long concluded that Ruby Tuesdays is one of the worst places to eat for a calorie counter and most of the numbers cited in the blog bear me out. Even the petite steaks are a very small amount of meat, although they have a low calorie count.

    But then I don't think a 500 calorie lunch is worth it period unless it is a special occasion, since I eat six or more times a day.

    But I do think Ruby's is doing a little better. - 7/16/2009   3:46:06 PM
  • GIGICHET
    42
    oh I love the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays...give me that and water with lemon and I am all set - 7/15/2009   9:27:19 AM
  • JUSTME52
    41
    I love me some Ruby Tuesdays - their salad bar is the best!! - 7/14/2009   11:19:00 PM
  • 40
    When my husband and I go to Ruby Tuesdays we order two appetizers (crab cake and Asian chicken potstickers) and a side of steamed broccoli (tell them no butter or oil). The salad bar has tons of good stuff, but lots of oil and mayo. - 7/14/2009   4:01:48 PM
  • 39
    Our Ruby Tuesday has a great salad bar. I keep to the veggies, and steer away from the pasta salad, potato salad, and other higher-calorie choices (like croutons, nuts, seeds, and pudding). I usually get the soup-and-salad-bar combo, which is just enough for me. - 7/14/2009   3:46:41 PM
  • LAKROUSH
    38
    They also have a great salad bar! - 7/14/2009   2:26:17 PM
  • HLTHYLIVNCCJ
    37
    Granted Ruby Tuesday's does have a good salad bar. The one's I have tried locally are wonderful, though still hidden dangers when encountering sodium. Soups are a big hidden danger for sodium, as they are usually loaded. It is safer to have a regular meal than it is to eat soup. Also, the one's I have been to are not willing to leave off some of the seasonings, claiming their items are already pre-seasoned. It may just be the cook or manager of that location, who knows or it may actually come pre-seasoned to where all they have to do is cook it. I just don't know?!

    Be careful at the salad bar, as things like premade salads (macaroni salad, crab salad, potato salad, three bean salad and so on) are all high in sodium content. Also, items like garbanzo beans, olives, pickles and the like are usually high in sodium. Just pick up a can or jar of the items in the store and read the label, you would be surprised. The dressings hold the biggest hidden sodium of them all. The safest is oil and vinegar or many times the ranch will be the lowest in sodium content. Even the cottage cheese is loaded with sodium. Just 1/2 cup usually holds around 400 mg of sodium. If you are doing a salad bar, the "fresh" items such as lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and such have very little sodium in them. Though when you add things like ham, turkey, cheese and yes, even eggs, you are adding the soduim to it.

    Oh, in regards to the person who ate Turkey burgers. In the book, "Eat This, Not That", it has that the Turkey burger at Ruby Tuesday's is actually worse than a regular hamburger. They suggest to eat a 7 oz sirloin with green beans and mushrooms for only 464 calories and 24 g of fat versus the regular Turkey burger with fries, which comes in at a whopping 1171 calories and 58 g of fat (keep in mind this is the regular sized one, not the kids meal one). They suggest if you want a burger to eat the Bison Burger instead. Even the veggie burger, with fried, there is a whopping 953 calories, acoording to the "Eat This, Not That" book.

    While turkey is generally healthier, many restuarants do not use the leanest cuts of turkey meat and it can be a mix of white and dark meat. Plus, sometimes birds like chicken and turkeys can be injected with a sodium solution to try and maintain the moisture within the meat. Next time you buy frozen chicken breast, just look at the sodium content.

    But, I digress, salads are the healthier option, just depends what you put on them. So be leary, some salads, with your choice of toppings and soup, can have more sodium than a hamburger and fries. - 7/14/2009   2:14:43 PM
  • 36
    just a quick tip.. you have to request the smart eating menu.. smart choices aren't listed on the regular menu - 7/14/2009   9:53:06 AM
  • 35
    Ruby Tuesdays has one of the best Salad bars around. I love to eat there.I love their white bean chicken chili. I do have to be careful with that though it is rough on IBS. I would recommend Rubys for anyone who loves a lot of veggies on a salad. - 7/14/2009   9:47:09 AM
  • 34
    Since reading WSJ's article "Calorie Disclosures Fail to Weigh Whole Enchilada", and also, noting frequent errors in listed recipe's nutrients elsewhere, I take all this with a , eh, grain of salt! Truly though, I would not unquestioningly accept what the restaurant proffers as their nutritional claims, since there is too much leeway in how and what they put out there.

    The only way to know to any degree of accuracy is to become familiar with standards of measure from non-vested sources, and either measure, and then allow for the added oils, butters, salts........taking full responsibility is something we have trouble with but which is what we need to do more of. - 7/14/2009   9:05:12 AM
  • GIRVIN098
    33
    I went to Ruby Tuesdays sometime last week, but had no idea what to get that wouldn't be a total calorie/fat/sodium bomb. My usual go-to is the kids menu. (Which, by the way, if you are not under 10, they charge you extra for ordering off of.) I picked the Turkey Minis thinking "They're just minuature hamburgers, but turkey is supposed to be better for you anyway." I picked off the cheese and ordered apples on the side instead of fries. So imagine my horror when I got online to SP and found that my tiny little turkey burgers were over 800 calories!!! I was thunderstruck. At the Ruby Tuesdays I had gone to, there were no "Smart Options" or whatever they were called. Believe me, I read the menus twice. It was utterly absurd. So, I swore I'd never go back. I think my health will thank me. - 7/14/2009   9:04:39 AM
  • 32
    I'll have to give this restaraunt a try. - 7/14/2009   7:45:22 AM
  • 31
    I haven't been to Ruby's in a while, because my favorite things to get are the avocado quesadilla and turkey burger. My boyfriend and I share the quesadilla (and don't use the sour cream) and I get broccoli steamed with no butter and omit the bacon off the burger. It's still a lot of calories, but omitting these things helps! Like I said, we rarely dine out. - 7/14/2009   7:44:07 AM
  • 30
    Before I moved my Ruby Tuesday had a beautiful salad bar. Now that I moved this one does not have one. Why do they put so much sodium in the food? Just leave it as it is and we would be fine. I cannot stand when you eat and after your so dry in the mouth from all of the salt! - 7/14/2009   7:10:47 AM
  • 29
    Ruby Tuesday is my husband's and my place! We don't eat out much at all. Our anniversary mainly. And we go to Ruby Tuesday's. Great food and at a good price. We always bring home a doggy bag. My favorite was Church Street Chicken with Steamed Broccoli and Baked Potato. Until they toke it off the menu. - 7/14/2009   7:06:52 AM
  • 28
    I didn't see where you mentioned the salad bar. The one I go to has a fresh and beautiful salad bar -- that's where I can control what I eat, especially sodium content. Also, you can get them to give you a piece of grilled salmon or chicken and some broccoli with no seasonings if you stress you have a "condition." - 7/14/2009   6:03:41 AM
  • 27
    Yes . . . finally some good words spoken about one of my favorite salad bar places. I get there 2-3 times a year. Let's hope they find an effective way to lessen the salt without loosing too many of their customers. Thanks for the great research. - 7/14/2009   12:59:27 AM
  • 26
    The next time I am in a own there is a Ruby Tuesday I am going to have to eat there. Everyone keeps telling me I am missing a nice place to eat. - 7/14/2009   12:22:49 AM
  • HLTHYLIVNCCJ
    25
    I recently wrote Ruby Tuesday's and asked them about sodium content, as it is a major concern with health issues wihtin our family. I asked if they could provide any information regarding the nutritional content of things and/or offer some modifications, such as not seasoning items as much or leaving off salt. I also did this with other major food chain establishments and all of them offered suggestions on what to eat or stated they could accomodate the lower sodium request. However, Ruby Tuesday's stated that sodium is not a concern among their customers and that it would not be provided and it was not within their practice to modify items. Well, as a result, no longer going there. Sodium should be listed among restaurants, since heart disease, hypertension, and other sodium sensitive health issues are becoming more prevalant in the U.S. Everywhere else at least offered to lightly season or leave the seasoning off of things or serve sauces and such on the sides. - 7/13/2009   10:57:45 PM
  • 24
    I have always been told that the burgers there are very high in calories. This includes the turkey burger (an example of a food that seems like it should be healthy but really is not). I think they butter the buns. Thanks for providing other choices that are better - 7/13/2009   10:01:19 PM
  • WEARETHEMISFITS
    23
    I just hit the salad bar, making sure to stay away from the oily dressings, pastas and high-cal toppings. - 7/13/2009   9:57:07 PM
  • WISEWIFE
    22
    Why don't you ever post the carb counts? Some of us are doing a low carb diet, and we like to eat out too. Low fat, low calorie isn't for me. - 7/13/2009   9:20:01 PM
  • 21
    Ruby's is a favorite, of all the chain restaurants. I am just glad there isnt one close by :) - 7/13/2009   9:19:29 PM
  • 20
    We don't have it where we live. But of course, we don't have most of the US restaurants here in Canada. - 7/13/2009   4:10:47 PM
  • 19
    Thanks for the tip about the BOGO coupon! I am signing up today. I have never been to a Ruby Tuesdays and we have one nearby. - 7/13/2009   3:46:00 PM
  • 18
    Very good advice I usually check the calories before I go otherwise I don't make such good choices...

    Sometimes your best bet is to get a small 4-6 oz steak and some veggies on the side... - 7/13/2009   3:19:04 PM
  • 17
    Love the salad bar. It is easy to make healthy choices. They have lots of veggies. - 7/13/2009   2:13:02 PM
  • 16
    Be careful what you order at Ruby's as Men's health article rated them a D+. Reason is the fat intake on certain items on the menu and some of the caloric intake is high too. Just be very careful of what you order - 7/13/2009   2:01:41 PM
  • BUDBABE10
    15
    I have never been a big fan of Ruby Tuesday's. It's been years since I have been in one. I may have to try it again with this fresh information. ?? - 7/13/2009   1:48:17 PM
  • 14
    I have not been to Ruby Tuesdays in a long time.. will have to go some time soon !! - 7/13/2009   1:23:43 PM
  • CNRITCHIE
    13
    This is a very timely post as I am eating there tonight! - 7/13/2009   1:08:26 PM
  • 12
    I also LOVE Ruby's! I use the BOGO coupons all the time since they are so close to home here. I plan my menu before I get there and always chose the lowest in calories and fat - even down to the salad. I always enjoy it. And even tho it's not on the Eating Smart menu, I LOVE their Asian Grilled salmon! Fat and calories are not too bad on that one either with the right choice of sides. - 7/13/2009   12:16:29 PM
  • 11
    I like the salad idea & would eliminate the dressing by using sliced lemon juice & seasonings instead. - 7/13/2009   12:07:13 PM
  • THESARAKRAUT
    10
    I like Ruby Tuesday, but hubby is not a fan. I usually get the white bean chicken chili and their salad bar. Yummy and filling! - 7/13/2009   12:01:59 PM
  • 9
    I LOVE Ruby Tuesday's as well! It always seems so clean and reasonably priced, I can't resist going there! - 7/13/2009   11:55:46 AM
  • 8
    I always get the salad bar when we eat at Ruby Tuesdays! The have a lot of delicious add ons, like cranberries, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, etc. However, I always stay away from the pasta and other premade salads. - 7/13/2009   11:53:21 AM
  • 7
    I LOVE Ruby Tuesday's - if you have one in your area you should sign up for their emails - they send "Buy an entree get one free" coupons often. - 7/13/2009   11:19:27 AM
  • YOWSER
    6
    I would ask for a box and divide the meal in half so I can manage the portions a bit better. But these days I plan before I go out so I can account for the meal in my journal. Since the site has a planner, I would think I could account the going-out on the date book to remind me to mark my food journal.

    I'm really glad that Ruby's has an online menu to I can think about what I am going to eat before I get there.

    Too bad they still don't post sodium. - 7/13/2009   11:18:11 AM
  • 5
    Thanks! This information is helpful. Can the nutritional data from this article and other like it also be added to the "add food" data base to make it easier to find again in the future? - 7/13/2009   9:50:10 AM
  • 4
    I'm glad I'm watching my pocketbook as well as my waistline. If an entree with 17-19 grams of fat qualifies as "Smart eating", I shudder to think what the other entrees contain. - 7/13/2009   9:28:18 AM

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