Diet Friendly Dining – T.G.I. Friday's


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  90 comments   :  120,441 Views

Today in our ongoing Diet Friendly Dining series, we look at newly updated T.G.I. Friday's. Previously, Friday's didn't provide complete nutrition information for their menu items. Beginning at the end of September, nutrition information became readily available on their website.
We continue to recommend menu selections for a complete meal contain around 500 calories or less with 15-20 grams of fat or less. For many people, this is about one third of their daily calorie allowance. To meet this goal at T.G.I. Friday's it will require smart selections when ordering. We hope these tips will help.

Portion size is always a key when dining away from home. The “Right Portion, Right Price” options, which are 750 calories or less, are the section of the menu to focus. It will also still be important to pay special attention to fat and sodium contents especially if you have medical conditions that require close monitoring of these nutrients.

Appetizers are typically high calorie and high fat "extras" that are best avoided as the start to a meal. A couple options would serve as entrée alternatives.

Mediterranean Tapa-tizer Skewers – Select either grilled chicken or Black Angus sirloin marinated and seasoned skewers served with grilled pita, ginger-lime slaw, and cucumber yogurt sauce.
Calories – 620 sirloin/660 chicken
Fat – 27 grams sirloin/ 20 grams chicken
Carbohydrates – 49 grams sirloin/ 74 grams chicken
Fiber – 4 grams
Sodium – 1,360 mg sirloin/ 1,570 mg chicken
Protein – 36 grams sirloin/ 47 grams chicken
Japanese Hibachi Tapa-tizer Skewers – Select either grilled and marinated chicken or Black Angus sirloin served with grilled pita, ginger-lime slaw, and extra glaze.
Calories – 620 sirloin/ 750 chicken
Fat – 18 grams sirloin/ 20 grams chicken
Carbohydrates – 73 grams sirloin/ 105 grams chicken
Fiber – 4 grams sirloin/ 6 grams chicken
Sodium – 1,700 mg sirloin/ 3,110 mg chicken
Protein – 35 grams sirloin/ 38 grams chicken
Spinach Florentine Flatbread – Over-baked flatbread topped with spinach & artichoke heart spread and bruschetta mix.
Calories – 410
Fat – 23 grams
Carbohydrates – 31 grams
Fiber – 3 grams
Sodium – 1,280 mg
Protein – 19 grams
Entrée Options
Petite Sirloin - 6 oz filet-style cut of fire-grilled Black Angus sirloin (served with choice of two sides such as ginger-lime slaw and broccoli)
Calories – 370
Fat – 24 grams
Carbohydrate – 2 grams
Fiber – 0 grams
Sodium – 1,450 mg
Protein – 38 grams
Flat Iron Steak – 8-oz cut of fire-grilled Black Angus (served with choice of two sides such as ginger-lime slaw and broccoli)
Calories – 400
Fat – 27 grams
Carbohydrates – 2 grams
Fiber – 0 grams
Sodium – 1,950 mg
Protein – 35 grams

Dragonfire Salmon – Norwegian grilled fillet served with mandarin oranges, ginger-lime slaw and steamed broccoli
Calories – 590
Fat – 23 grams
Carbohydrates – 57 grams
Fiber – 7 grams
Sodium – 2,090 mg
Protein – 40 grams
Dragonfire Chicken – Fire-grilled chicken breast served over jasmine rice with Mandarin oranges and steamed broccoli
Calories – 670
Fat – 15 grams
Carbohydrates – 99 grams
Fiber – 11 grams
Sodium – 2,160
Protein – 40 grams

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Caesar Salad – Glazed, fire-grilled marinated chicken breast served atop chopped romaine with croutons and grape tomatoes
Calories – 500
Fat – 28 grams
Carbohydrates – 25 grams
Fiber – 5 grams
Sodium – 1,870 mg
Protein – 40 grams
Best Kids Meal Choices
Pasta and Marinara with added choice of two sides
Calories – 300
Fat – 2.5 grams
Carbohydrates – 57 grams
Fiber – 5 grams
Sodium – 190 mg
Protein – 11 grams
Chicken Skewers with added choice of two sides
Calories – 310
Fat – 10 grams
Carbohydrates – 33 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Sodium – 1,000 mg
Protein – 23 grams

Best Side Choices
Ginger-Lime Slaw
Calories – 90
Fat – 5 grams
Carbohydrates – 11 grams
Fiber – 0 grams
Sodium – 220 mg
Protein – 0 grams
Calories – 50 grams
Fat - .5 grams
Carbohydrates – 10 grams
Fiber – 5 grams
Sodium – 370 mg
Protein – 3 grams
Fruit Cup
Calories – 60
Fat – 0 grams
Carbohydrates – 16 grams
Fiber – 2 grams
Sodium – 0 grams
Protein – 1 grams
Roasted Vegetable Medley
Calories – 100
Fat – 6 grams
Carbohydrates – 12 grams
Fiber – 3 grams
Sodium – 490 mg
Protein – 2 grams
Are you glad T.G.I. Friday's has included nutrition information? Will it influence how often you visit this casual dining chain?

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  • 40
    I would like restaurants to always provide nutritional information either online or at the restaurant. Also, I'd much prefer smaller portions even if I have to pay a little more overall. I know all the rules for healthy eating in restaurants, but it is difficult to turn down some of those not so healthy options if they are there to tempt me. - 6/2/2009   10:25:36 AM
  • 39
    I love the idea of restaurants providing nutrition info on the menu. We should be lobbying for that in the US and Canada. - 6/2/2009   10:21:07 AM
  • 38
    I really just wish all resturants would provide nutritional information. It does make a difference to me when choosing where to go and also what to eat while I am there. When I cook at home and don't know the nutritionals, I at least know what is going into the food so I can make an estimate, but when eating out you don't know. - 6/2/2009   10:15:51 AM
    I haven't been to Friday's in a LONG time.... too hard to avoid all the stuff that's high-fat, high sodium...... too tempting for me. - 6/2/2009   9:47:44 AM
  • 36
    I just finished reading Birdie's Giant Thank You blog, and she says that in NYC all restaurants are required (by law) to include the nutritional information on their menus. So THAT is what I would want for ALL restaurants! - 6/2/2009   9:06:23 AM
    I agree with MDTweety! I haven't gone to Friday's in at least 2 years! The dishes may be cooked to order but the recipes are standardized so that everyone will get the same portion! There are computer programs that give the nutrition breakdown for entrees or whatever is prepared. Many boast "healthy" but are not because of the added fat, etc to keep food flavorful and tender. Friday's can and should do better! - 6/2/2009   9:01:13 AM
    The one thing I like about TGIF is that they have a really good turkey burger. I don't know its calorie count, but it's good when I want a burger fix and want to avoid beef. - 6/2/2009   8:49:05 AM
  • 33
    I can't remember the last time I ate in a Friday's. I am suspicious of chain restaurants that refuse to release their nutrition information under the lame excuse that the food is prepared to order. The dishes are all the same in every location! I hope they pass a nationwide law soon that requires them to be more open about the food they serve. - 6/2/2009   8:05:28 AM
  • MRE1956
    Thank you for the TGIFridays blog - I've been regularly going there for a monthly dinner so this is a great help! - 6/2/2009   5:21:06 AM
  • 31
    Offer more healthy choice alternatives with an idea of how many calories it is compared to the regular version. - 6/2/2009   12:12:25 AM
  • 30
    Portion size is one thing. I would also like to see more obvious nutrition information ready for consumers. Some of these restaurants make it so complicate for us to find out the nutrition values of their foods to deter people from looking. - 6/1/2009   10:31:46 PM
    I really like their sweet potato fries, but those are not healthy! Thanks for the tips. - 6/1/2009   10:15:25 PM
  • 28
    I also eat a salad and eat just half my meal when I eat out. Take the rest to work along with another salad. More meal for the buck! - 6/1/2009   9:31:06 PM
  • 27
    I Love to have a dinner type salad and i will get a 1/2 or if i get a full one i will put 1/2 away to take home or i will share it with one of my kid's and it work out okay for me..I have not been to a T.G.I. in a long time.. - 6/1/2009   9:27:01 PM
  • 26
    When this blog series started, I absolutely loved the idea of some great recommendations for eating out. It's almost impossible in today's fast-paced world to avoid eating out at least some of the time, and many others enjoy eating out as a periodic treat. However, I was a bit disappointed to see TGIF featured so early in the series - I was hoping that those restauraunts that have chosen to provide their customers with full nutritional information would be rewarded by having their healthier menu items, and full-nutritional details, featured. Also, if those who are concious of their eating choices begin choosing those restaurants that are willing to listen to our calls for healthier menu items, then perhaps other restaurants will soon follow suit. - 6/1/2009   5:23:43 PM
  • 25
    Funny, I found the calorie and fat count on the TGIF site - or maybe it was just because I went specifically to the menu page and looked at the lo-fat recipes. I chose the Dragon Roasted chicken. It came with a lot of steamed brocolli and what they called brown rice (it was really "dirty" rice) Anyway, the meal was quite acceptable - under 500 calories. Since I drank diet coke with my meal, did not have an appitizer or desset I stayed within my nutrition guidelines. That's the only meal I'll eat in TGIF. - 6/1/2009   2:08:54 PM
  • 24
    I strongly support a national requirement for all restaurants to provide nutritional information! - 6/1/2009   1:46:36 PM
  • 23
    The last time we went to T.G.I. Fridays I could not find anything that I thought was a healthy choice. We haven't been back since. - 6/1/2009   1:07:43 PM
  • 22
    I used to love going out to eat. However, I feel every time I do, the food is so salty that I feel bloated and dehydrated for days after. I always try to make the healthiest choice too. Last time I ordered grilled chicken--and it was so salty! I wish they wouldn't use so much salt, include nutritionals with every item, and find alternative ways to cook things instead of smothering them in oil. - 6/1/2009   12:58:16 PM
  • 21
    I used to eat at TGI Fridays a lot but have weaned myself of most dining out in the last 18 months. When I do eat out, I prefer local establishments. The last time I was at Friday's was after some holiday shopping. It was late, and there was one near the outlet mall. It did hit the spot.

    I have had the Shrimp Key West, and it is a very good choice (low calorie/fat and tasty). I used to order the Pecan Chicken Salad a lot, but it turns out it is probably one of the most fattening things on the menu. Aside from a garden salad with a lower fat dressing, most of the appetizers are not diet friendly at all. - 6/1/2009   12:26:16 PM
  • 20
    I get the Pecan–Crusted Chicken Salad without any dressing. Probably still not good calorie wise but sure is good taste wise! I don't eat there very often due to them not posting their nutrition list. - 6/1/2009   12:22:48 PM
  • 19
    I wish restaurants were required to list Nutional Information!!! If the fast food chains can do it why can't the restaurants. I know the line I get at Applebees, every location does things different... FINE then tell me what YOUR location is doing. I think they just don't what us to know exactly how bad their food is for us. I would like to see restaurants more accountable. - 6/1/2009   12:21:36 PM
  • 18
    I never eat at TGIFridays - most of their stuff is pre-made, pre-packaged, over-processed, frozen junk. You can't ask for less salt, because their items are prepped off-site and the cooks are just reheating for the most part (except for their fresh meats). I'd rather go to McDonald's for a snack wrap- you know what you're getting, even if it is bad for you! :P - 6/1/2009   11:22:46 AM
  • 17
    Not a big fan of TGIF but the Strawberry Fields Salad sounds good. I may try it sometime. I had a Weight Watcher meal at Applebees (Cajun Lime Tilapia) and while it was good, when I got home and checked the internet there are some discrepancies in the nutritional values. Consumers need to start demanding better nutritional valuing strategies.
    And why, I repeat, do restaurants have to use so much SODIUM in their foods? The tilapia had no sodium values listed and find that a bit difficult to believe. - 6/1/2009   10:12:17 AM
  • 16
    We went to O'Charlies Restaurant last night and I had a basic salad and then a Sirloin Steak and asparagus. I do wish they'd let you order the "Kid Meal" as that was just the 5 oz. steak and side dish. I was too embarrassed to ask for it. Guess I'll have to call and ask on the phone if I can get it next time. Yes, I know I could have 1/2 'd my food and took it home. - 6/1/2009   10:11:26 AM
  • 15
    The Dragonfire Chicken is great when you are behind on your water intake for the day... LOL! I went through four full glasses the first time I had it! Totally worth it. :D - 6/1/2009   9:50:27 AM
  • 14
    I'm so glad you've said that this is not the best choice for those watching calories, fat, and sodium, because literally everything comes out greasy. I tried TGIFs several times during their coupon blitz a couple of months ago. All I could rationalize was the Key West Shrimp, and even that was awash with grease. - 6/1/2009   9:33:15 AM
  • 13
    I love the Shrimp Key West and Dragonfire Chicken. It's great that they're the healthiest items. I wish that restaurants would take it easy on the salt too. The sad part is...even if you ask for less salt, how do you know that they're actually listening? - 6/1/2009   9:25:18 AM
  • 12
    I wish all salads came with dressing on the side instead of pre-mixed. You might as well not bother with taking home salad that has pre-mixed dressing because it will be soggy and unedible the next day.

    I also wish restaurants would lay off the salt!!! - 6/1/2009   9:10:45 AM
  • 11
    Well.. I do not know how accurate all information is, but many times you can find nutritional information at the daily plate online. For TGI Fridays go to
    and there is a lot of their menu items with calories and fat, etc. - 6/1/2009   8:51:00 AM
  • 10
    I wish restaurants were held to the same nutritional honesty as store products and fast food chains.
    Applebees, for instance, says when asked for their nutrional info. that every store does things a little differently--maybe true, but each store knows what it does, and can share that, but they know what they do would horrify their health-aware customers.
    For a while I dated a man with mega-allergies. Got used to asking things like, does your soup-base have msg? what do you use as thickeners? I grew a thick skin (this was in the early 90s when people questioned & challenged less) and learned a lot about which restaurants are proud of what they do and which are just out to sell food-looking substances. - 6/1/2009   8:46:39 AM
  • 9
    I ate there this past Saturday. At the location where I dined, I was not provided the nutrition information when I requested it. I had a salad with viniagrette dressing on the side. That's the safest way to eat when eating out. Friday's has a lot of great salad items that are robust and filling. They have some nice side items too. But for meals and main courses, they are severely lacking. - 6/1/2009   8:35:01 AM
  • 8
    I just wish you could access nutritional information for restaurants all the time. Bonefish Grill doesn't post theirs either, and I would like to be able to make an informed decision. - 6/1/2009   8:33:02 AM
  • 7
    I heard that you can order your steak (maybe all meats?) without seasonings (salt) that can help cut down on the sodium at restaurants.
    Also, I found that I could ask for no salted chips (for chips and salsa) at Applebees & Chili's - the waitress may argue, but it can be done.
    I really watch that sodium when dining out if it can be helped.
    As it is, whether I just have cesar salad (minus croutons & dressing) or boneless wings, I drink AT LEAST 10 cups water when dining out. I wish they'd leave a water pitcher at the table! - 6/1/2009   8:11:50 AM
  • 6
    Food for thought. I don't deprive myself of much, I eat small portions. - 6/1/2009   7:36:41 AM
  • 5
    My coworkers always want to go to Friday's for lunch. I end up ordering a salad with dressing on the side and nothing fried in it. I usually end up with a southwest type of salad with grilled chicken and a black bean and corn salsa. No cheese, no dressing, no tortilla strips. - 6/1/2009   7:27:37 AM
  • 4
    We eat out alot and trying to find healthy low cal/low fat food is difficult without having the normal salad-chef, taco or garden. I would like to see more appetizers that are not fried, more variety in salads and more entrees that are low in calories.

    We went to Ruths Chris on Saturday and I was very pleased with their choices of non fried appetizers. They had several salads that were very appealing and I had a hard time picking just one. - 6/1/2009   7:26:08 AM
  • NICNIC09
    Strawberry Fields Salad...mmmmm, yummy! - 6/1/2009   7:19:29 AM

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