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Nutrition Articles  ›  Eating Away From Home

Dining Out: Steakhouse Cuisine

Restaurant-Specific Strategies

-- By SparkPeople
Characteristics:

Steakhouses serve extra-large portions of hearty, filling heartland food without much spice or variety. Plain side dishes and a smaller number of sauces and toppings make it easier to control calories with smart choices and special preparation requests.
Common Ingredients:

Menus are dominated by meat, pastas, various potatoes slathered with gravy or toppings, and deep-fried appetizers. Vegetables are few and far between, except for potatoes, which are often fried in some form. Most offer salads, but many have only starch and pasta-based side dishes. Many restaurants are offering healthier chicken and fish alternatives.
Hidden Dangers:
  • Steakhouse cheeseburgers can pack nearly 1,000 calories.
  • Shrimp Scampi is often drowning in butter and packs nearly 1,000 calories.
  • Fried Chicken has 910 calories and 54 grams of fat. To make it healthier, choose breast meat and remove the skin.
  • Two Potato Skins can have almost 500 calories—before adding sour cream.
  • Watch for these words:
    • Breaded
    • Crispy
    • Country-Style (fried and smothered in gravy)
    • Encrusted (coated and panfried)
    • Bearnaise (sauce made with butter and egg yolks)
    • Dijonaise (Dijon mustard and cream sauce)
  • Jalapeno Poppers (2): 660 calories and 36g fat
  • 6 Buffalo Wings with blue cheese dressing:1,000 calories, 68g fat
  • 16-oz Porterhouse: 1,300 calories, 104g fat
  • Au Gratin Potatoes: 400 calories, 22g fat
  • BBQ Ribs: 1,680 calories
  • Nachos: 800 calories
  • Crab Cakes (2): 240 calories, 15g fat
Continued ›
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Member Comments

  • Sometimes when I go out to eat, it's because I want to enjoy those 'once in a while' foods. When I have ordered fish at restaurants because I'm trying to make a healthier choice, I'm often disappointed. If I ate at these places often, I would surely take the skin of fried chicken, but since I only do it on occasion, I want to enjoy it 100%...that includes skin. It makes more sense to balance out my meal, so I'm not loading up on every indulgence in one sitting. I'll save the gratin potatoes for a visit when I choose shrimp, for example... - 9/13/2012 2:58:42 PM
  • KAWEHILANI
    very useful article with great tips - 1/7/2010 9:39:02 AM
  • Hmm, a potato has only 68 calories? I don't think so. No doubt a baked potato is better for you than ffries, but a small potato has 110 calories. Also, I question the calorie count for poppers. Those must be colassal poppers to have 300 calories each. 200 calories each is a more likely count. - 8/24/2009 4:17:38 PM
  • When getting large portions at a restaurant, I ask for a box before I start eating and place half of everything in the box. There is dinner or lunch for the next day ready to go and I'm not tempted to clean my plate. - 8/24/2008 8:04:03 AM
  • 2 crab cakes at 240 cals and 15g of fat look lots better than some of the entrees suggested. I've frequently had crab cakes appetizer as dinner, along with a side salad. Like everything else, pay attention! - 7/31/2008 1:20:00 PM
  • Great article. - 5/20/2008 1:26:32 PM
  • KJDLOSER
    I've always stripped the skin from the breast meat, even when eating at Popeyes or Roy Rogers! I did it because I didn't like the taste or feel of the skin, but it is good to know I was actually making it a more healthy dish! - 1/7/2008 4:56:49 AM