Diet Friendly Dining: Ted's Montana Grill

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A few weeks ago in my Buffalo Meat is No Bull blog I mentioned having had a delicious Buffalo burger at a Ted's Montana Grill restaurant. I thought it would be good to look at this unique restaurant chain named for the renowned media entrepreneur and environmentalist in our ongoing Diet Friendly Dining series. The chain started in 2002 with one restaurant in Columbus, Ohio and has now grown to over 50 restaurants throughout 19 states.

In addition to a great tasting and nutrition conscience menu, Ted's Montana Grill also boasts a deep commitment to the environment. One of their environmentally focused goals is to be 99% plastic free and they re-introduced the paper straw that has not been used in the United States since 1970 to help them work toward goal achievement. If you want a to-go cup or food to go, those come in Bio-Plus Earth Containers and cornstarch based cups that bio-degrade quickly. Reuse is also a part of their environmental plan as well since menus are printed on recycled paper. They also look at non-food related ways to be sustainable by using water-efficient toilets and solar panels for energy and water conservation where possible as well as making all of their restaurants smoke free. At the same time, you find authentic early 20th century craftsmen-style architecture and natural materials used for a classic look and feel and a relaxing dining experience. With all this attention to so many details, is there any food that meets our criteria?

Our ongoing goal is to highlight entrιe items around 250 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving or less when possible. Some meal plans can easily allow for a higher calorie or fat intake but typically most require a total meal that is less than 500 calories and 20 grams of fat.

Here are some of the better choices when visiting a Ted's Montana Grill.


Ted's Shrimp Cocktail

Calories – 170

Fat – 1 gram

Sodium – 1,395 mg

Carbohydrate – 17 grams

Fiber – 0 grams

Protein – 23 grams

Choices to Avoid - It is best to pass on the pre-meal, meals in the form of Sliders, whether bison or beef, which start you out with over 1000 calories and 55 grams of total fat. Of course, the fried Onion Rings and Chili Cheese Fries are over 1000 calories and 70 plus grams of total fat and are not consistent with a healthy eating meal plan.

Salads and Salad Dressings

Wedge Salad – no dressing

Calories – 100

Fat – 6 grams

Sodium – 342 mg

Carbohydrates – 5 grams

Fiber – 2 grams

Protein – 7 grams

Tomato and Onion Salad – includes dressing

Calories – 170

Fat – 9 grams

Sodium – 91 mg

Carbohydrates – 21 grams

Fiber – 5 grams

Protein – 4 grams

House Salad – no dressing

Calories – 140

Fat – 9 grams

Sodium – 128 mg

Carbohydrate – 13 grams

Fiber – 3 grams

Protein – 3 grams

BLT Ranch Dressing – 1 oz serving

Calories – 100

Fat – 10 grams

Sodium – 130 mg

Carbohydrates – 1 gram

Fiber – 0 grams

Protein – 1 gram

Bleu Cheese Dressing – 1 oz serving

Calories – 100

Fat – 10 grams

Sodium – 151 mg

Carbohydrates – 1 gram

Fiber – 0 grams

Protein – 2 grams

Choices to Avoid - Be sure to skip the Shrimp, Grilled Chicken and Cedar Plank Salmon Caesar Salads. While each of these protein choices are healthy when they are served alone, when added to a salad of this nature, you get a total calorie contribution of over 1,200, a sodium intake as high as 4,500 mg and a total fat intake of over 100 total grams with nearly 40 grams of saturated fat.


Chicken Noodle Soup – Bowl

Calories – 170

Fat – 3 grams

Sodium – 667 mg

Carbohydrates – 24 grams

Fiber – 2 grams

Protein – 10 grams

Garnished Tortilla Soup – cup

Calories – 160

Fat – 8 grams

Sodium – 843 mg

Carbohydrates – 12 grams

Fiber – 1 gram

Protein – 10 grams

Red Beans & Rice Soup – cup

Calories – 230

Fat – 5 grams

Sodium – 834 mg

Carbohydrates – 32 grams

Fiber – 2 grams

Protein – 14 grams

Choices to Avoid - While baked potatoes can be a healthy choice, when they come in a cream based soup they are best to pass by since they can provide a bowl of soup with over 32 grams of fat and 450 calories. Bison Chili provides a high protein option but also 21 grams of fat and over 350 calories per bowl. As a meal, it is an acceptable option but a cup as a meal starter, not so much.

Best Sandwiches Choices

8 oz Bison Burger on a plain Oatie Wheat Bun

Calories – 550

Fat – 26 grams

Sodium – 1,956 mg

Carbohydrates – 36 grams

Fiber – 1 gram

Protein – 44 grams

Veggie Burger on a plain Oatie Wheat Bun

Calories – 390

Fat – 13 grams

Sodium – 1,139 mg

Carbohydrates – 46 grams

Fiber – 9 grams

Protein – 34 grams

7 oz Brick Chicken on a plain Kaiser Roll

Calories – 550

Fat – 22 grams

Sodium – 928 mg

Carbohydrates – 36 grams

Fiber – 2 grams

Protein – 47 grams

Choices to Avoid - While plain may not sound interesting, remember that a good tasting piece of meat can be very flavorful and does not need to be covered up by other sauces and toppings. This is especially true when topping combinations such as the Kitchen Sink, America's Cup, George's Cadillac, or the Montana can add an additional 300 or more calories and more than 15 grams of additional fat.

Best Entrιe Choices

BBQ Bison Short Ribs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Country-style Green Beans (a low sodium choice)

Calories – 780 (half meal – 390)

Fat – 48 grams (half meal – 24 grams)

Sodium – 457 mg (half meal – 228 mg)

Carbohydrates – 35 grams (half meal – 17.5 grams)

Fiber – 6 grams (half meal – 3 grams)

Protein – 51 grams (half meal – 25.5 grams)

Bison Pot Roast Meal with Mashed Potatoes and gravy and Country-style Green Beans (a lower sodium choice)

Calories – 840 (half order – 420)

Fat – 48 grams (half order – 24 grams)

Sodium – 822 mg (half order – 411 mg)

Carbohydrate – 51 grams (half order - 25.5 grams)

Fiber – 6 grams (half order 3 grams)

Protein – 42 grams (half order 21 grams)

Slow Roasted Pork Meal with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy and Buttered Carrots (a lower calorie and lower sodium choice)

Calories – 730 (half order – 365)

Fat – 42 grams (half order – 21 grams)

Sodium – 814 mg (half order – 407 mg)

Carbohydrates – 35 grams (half order – 17.5 grams)

Fiber – 5 grams (half order – 2.5 grams)

Protein – 49 grams (half order – 24.5 grams)

11 oz Kansas City Bison Strip Steak without lemon butter with Aunt Fannie's Squash Casserole and Roasted Asparagus (lower calorie and lower fat choice)

Calories – 450 (half meal - 225)

Fat – 18 grams (half meal - 9 grams)

Sodium – 2995 mg (half meal - 1,498 mg)

Carbohydrates – 13 grams (half meal – 6.5 grams)

Fiber – 4 grams (half meal – 2 grams)

Protein – 46 grams (half meal – 23 grams)

8 oz Bison Tenderloin Filet without lemon butter and Plain Sweet Potato and Buttered Broccoli (lower calorie and lower fat choice)

Calories – 410 (half meal – 205)

Fat – 5 grams (half meal – 2.5 grams)

Sodium – 2,792 mg (half meal – 1,396 mg)

Carbohydrates – 45 grams (half meal – 22.5 grams)

Fiber – 10 grams (half meal – 5 grams)

Protein – 48 grams (half meal – 24 grams)

Choices to Avoid - There are many dinners that sound delicious but require your caution and restraint in selection when maintaining a healthy meal intake is in order. The Pecan Crusted Trout meal may only be moderate in its sodium content compared to other choices with only slightly over 2,000 mg for the meal however, with 1,650 calories you will likely double your recommended daily intake with this choice for lunch or dinner.

Some helpful things to remember - This is a casual-dining restaurant that you should not be afraid to ask for meals that are the way you want and need them. Ask for steamed carrots, broccoli or asparagus instead of the buttered option listed on the menu. Be sure to ask for things "naked" or "plain" and to avoid all the fixings and options and you will be able to find several options to meet your various taste buds and meal preferences.

Is this a restaurant that you would be interested in giving a try?

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Thanks for a very helpful article! I like eating at Ted's and am pleasantly surprised that the bison short ribs--one of my favorites--is relatively healthy. Report
I have to say that I love, love, love the pecan crusted trout - it is baked and the 1,650 lists total calories for the meal - as in french fries, coleslaw and roumalade dressing. I order this all the time BUT, ask for tomatoes on the side and skip the fries and coleslaw and roumalade (spell). The trout is very filling and large and if you just eat that with the tomatoes - it is 700 calories and super filling. You can plan ahead and still eat this. I eat 1700-2000 a day, so can fit this in..and had it for lunch today. It is so good. SO, remember the calories are for meals at Ted's. They have an entire adobe pdf document with all their nutrition on their site. You change change out the sides... Report
I really want to try this restaurant! it sounds delicious! I'm going to google map to see where the closest one is and make and event of it :)

I wish more restaurants would be eco-friendly, its such a huge industry that a change in it would really affect our environment! Report
I have never been to this Ted's but will put on my list to try out very soon Report
I had never heard of them. I checked and there are none in Central Florida. I'll add it to my list of possibles when traveling. Report
I love Ted's for bison burgers! This was helpful info - it's great to have additional info before ordering - great reminder to ask for food prepared the way we want - steamed veggies as opposed buttered - also, I generally don't eat the buns but, I usually forget to ask for naked - another good reminder. Report
I would love to try this resturant. The closest one to me is over 50 miles away! :) Report
Most of these choices are still high sodium, thanks for pointing out some low sodium choices.

Remember that going Naked when you order cuts a lot of sodium, too. Even getting dressings on the side and dipping fork in dressing then salad cuts WAY down on the salt. Report
Don't see anything I can eat, but then I usually don't. Report
Information is power- thanks for sharing with us!
I would love to support their eco friendly stance, & would gladly go to one. Report
I never thought a salad could be that bad for you in the calorie area. Report
I love Ted's. Thanks for all the great info. Report
When I am in NYC I have another place to go Report
Good idea to try buffalo meat again! Last time I made a great stew. Emu is also a lean healthy protein. Unless we open our minds to the new, we miss some of life's plusses, methinks! Report
I'm sure glad that the nearest location is over 1000 miles away because the sodium content on the sandwiches is OUTLANDISH. Some of them are more than I'm allowed for the whole day! Report
Hi, thanks for the person who pointed out I misread the half portions, I did, indeed. :)

I still think the calorie content and sodium contents are quite high for a place touted for being "diet friendly." Some of them do look better since I see the "half meal" thing, guess I wouldn't want to order a half meal, wouldn't find that a fun experience and think listing half meals, if they do that in their literature, is a way to deflect from the reality of the food.

And I totally agree with the poster who commented that Chili's menu is also quite high but that is irrelevant to me when commenting on Ted's. :)

I think that just because the blog highlights some less calorie and fat (relatively) half choices doesn't mean the restaurant per se is "Diet Friendly."

To be "diet friendly," I'd also want a restaurant to have nutrition info on the menu, so if Ted's did that, I'd be happier (not that they have one here where I live or that I'd go there if I knew the sodium counts). :)

Somebody said something about wild salmon and that is a good question I'd have about the source of the food. Farm raised salmon can be highly detrimental to health and I only eat wild.

I also don't think bison is necessarily any healthier than good quality 96 percent lean beef for the little meat I eat, so that'd be moot for me also.

But all that is just my opinion and for those that like Ted's, it is great to have a place that you enjoy.

I was just taking issue with the "diet friendly" title of the blog. But again, I love reading these blogs. Report
If they wanted to be serious about the environment, they would serve grass fed beef, and wild salmon, and at least part of their menu would be organic. So, I can't say I'm overly impressed. Report
Once again, I'm flabbergasted by the sodium content in some of these meals. I didn't realize we had a Ted's here in MA (I'm only 40 minutes from Westboro), but I don't think I'd make a special trip. Thanks for the review, though. At least I know if I end up there some day, I can make a good choice from the menu. Report
We love Ted's - I'm not into bison, but my husband likes it and there are other healthy choices on the menu. Report
I am glad to know that this is a chain. About 20 years ago there was a fast food restaurant in Columbus, Ohio that was a lo-cal fast food restaurant. It did not serve french fries, cooked in unsaturated oil, broiled their burgers, served them on whole wheat buns, focused on salads and low-fat dressings, fruits and veges. It lasted for a few years and was a great tasting food, but it couldn't compete with the regulars. This is not an off-shoot of the earlier fast food restaurant, is it? Report
I've eaten there, but it's kinda pricey. Report
Thanks for the info. Report
No, I don't think I could eat buffalo. Report
We have one in our area and it is a nice place to go for something special. My favorite thing there is the salmon, which is the best I've ever eaten. I'm not sure what the calories are but I figured when I only go once every few months it isn't going to hurt my diet. I really recommend it. Report
I've never heard of this place. Report
Never heard of them Report
Sure sounds great. Curious about their food sourcing - it's well and good to strive to be green about containers, etc., - how about the food? Is it sustainable/organic/local/ethical? Report
Never heard of them Report
Thank You! Report
Yes it would, I wish they would get on e of these in Idaho they sound delicious Report
Sounds like a good place to try for a special night out. I don't think there are any close to us, though! Report
Not really. I'm only an occasional meat eater. I love vegetables, and I could probably find more interesting ones elsewhere. However, I greatly appreciate their environmentally conscious approach. If they could come up with some health conscious entrees, I would definitely love to go. Report
even if it was nearby...... there is way tooooooooooooooo much sodium Report
Yes. I love Buffalo, so I would definetely not have a problem checking it out. Report
I do not regularly eat out, but I would check one out if I happened to be in the same city or vicinity where one is located. Report
I don't live close to one but I think you made a mistake on the salad wedge on the sodium with no dressing. Thats just plain salad. The sodium was twice as much as the plain salad with dressing. Check again and make sure. Report
Yes, but I have never seen one, I live in Iowa. Report
I wish we had one near us ..i would go for sure.. Report
There is a Ted's right down the road from my house. I didn't realize that they were so environmentally friendly, and I appreciate that they are. Report
I actually went to the one in naperville, IL about a month ago and I reallly loved it. I am generally no terribly concerned with my sodium intake so that wasn;t an issue. I had a bison burger with the wheat bun (no butter on the bun). and It was great! I will deffinitely go back and it;s a great place to go with a difficult father that only eats burges out, so this gives me good options. Report
Sure wish we had one here.... I think it is lunch time! You made me hungry! Report
Definetly not! We've tried bison in Denver and didn't like it. Report
This is by far my favorite resturant. I usually get the naked Bison Burger with cottage cheese and green beans and a naked side salad. My husband who claims be the nutritional expert in our house (big Eat This Not That fan) always gets either the Pecan Crusted Trout (which is wonderful) or the Salmon Salad. I cannot wait for him to get home so I can share this article with him! If you ever have the chance please check out Ted's you won't regret it. Report
Riverhag, you misread. The calories are listed on the left, and in parentheses is the calories for a half meal. There is not a single thing listed on this page which is 730 calories for a half portion. I honestly cannot think of a single restaurant which would be considered "diet friendly" all around - however, the options available from Ted's are certainly healthier than what you will find at many, many chain restaurants. If you think these options from Ted's are some of the "worst" offenders for deit-friendly food, then you have obviously not looked at a menu from Chili's lately! I think the point of this column is simply to show people that, if you're going to eat out (because sometimes it is unavoidable, and heck, sometimes you just want to) there ARE things on the menu that won't totally kill your diet for the day. Report
Last time I went there, even the broccoli I ordered on the side was greasy. Would not go again. Report
thanks Report
We have one near us. I had never considered it as a healthy option before. Guess I need to check it out again. Report
I will go next time I am in NYC Report
I love these daily blogs on spark, great content.

That said the title about Diet Friendly Dining made me click thinking that, uh, you were going to review a place that WAS actually diet friendly and where I might want to go and relax knowing that most of the choices there were healthy and of reasonable caloric (and sodium) content.

But lol the column is a happy, enthusiastic rah-rah for paper straws and buffalo meat and then a list of all the choices to avoid because of their incredible (but not unusual in today's world of restaurants, which is why everyone is becoming obese) calorie contents.

ANY restaurant offering meals with these calorie counts is NOT diet friendly.

Even in your, I guess, recommended choices, you are citing half orders, in one case a half order of 730 calories, which is actually a full order of 1460 calories.

That is not diet friendly and it honestly is such a lie to enthusiastically slug this column to connote "diet friendly."

I am so sorry to sound negative and I really think you all at spark do a great job with the content of these blogs. I just think Ted's probably should go in the "worst foods for those seeking diet friendly dining" category. Report
I wish we had this restaurant in Lubbock,TX! It sounds yummy! Report
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