Outback Steakhouse is famous for its greasy, deep-fried, sodium-filled, and sauce-smothered offerings. The Loaded Bloomin’ Onion blew diners’ minds when the nationwide chain released the item on their menu of appetizers; it joined cheese-stuffed quesadillas, deep-fried balls of mac and cheese, and other options laden with saturated fat and calories.
When faced with these greasy, meaty menu items, how is a person to eat healthy at these chain restaurants? It might surprise you, but really any order on the menu could be considered a healthy choice — so long as you actually want to eat the meal you ordered. If you’re ordering something solely because it’s low-calorie or skimps on saturated fat, that might not be a healthy choice at all. When you deprive yourself of the foods you crave, you’re fueling a sense of deprivation and an unhealthy relationship with food that could later lead to yo-yo dieting, negative thoughts about your body, and binge eating behaviors.
Of course, if you are searching for items that fit a specific set of nutritional requirements because of a specific health condition, it could be important to know some specifics. For instance, if you have high blood pressure, a high-sodium dish could be genuinely dangerous. A diabetic needs to be careful to avoid overloading on certain amounts of sugar.
But if you’re in perfect health and eat a variety of nutritious foods, this restaurant order is not going to make or break your health goals. Nowhere on the menu does it mandate you eat the entire order and gorge yourself until you feel sick; nowhere does it say you have to eat deep-fried and carb-heavy dishes for every meal afterwards. So while these are considered the least caloric items on the menu at Outback Steakhouse, ordering them for that purpose may not be the healthiest choice for you.
We also collected the unhealthiest Outback Steakhouse menu items.
They’re not at every Outback Steakhouse location, but some carry Aussie Tacos on their Forkless Features section of the menu. Though they don’t come close to rivaling the best tacos in America, lots of diners love them. You can order them stuffed with chicken, mahi-mahi, steak, or tilapia. Both mahi-mahi and tilapia are lean sources of protein; many seafood items are nutrient-rich and relatively low-fat. The lowest-calorie tacos on this menu are the mahi-mahi-filled ones. The option is there to order either two or three tacos. Order however many you’re hungry for — but the two-taco order contains 650 calories, 34 grams of protein, and 42 grams of fat.
Courtesy of Outback Steakhouse
If you’re going to eat bacon and load up on the saturated fat, you may as well also get some omega-3s. The Bacon-Bourbon Salmon gives you a dose of both. The salmon is grilled and brushed with a bourbon glaze to up the flavor profile — though it also ups the sugar content to 9 grams. However, the dish is otherwise fairly light. It has 640 calories, 49 grams of protein, and a heaping serving of vegetables.
The Aussie Cobb Salad contains greens, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, bacon, croutons, and cheese if you choose to order it without an additional protein. It comes with a dressing of your choice — we calculated the nutritional value for a selection of honey mustard. Their lowest-calorie dressings are the Light Balsamic Vinaigrette and the Tangy Tomato Dressing, but both of those sounded an odd companion for a Cobb salad. Even without the add-on of a protein, this salad contains 23 grams of protein from the eggs, bacon, and cheese. The order is 600 calories total.
Some Caesar salads at restaurants are surprisingly caloric from excess portions of dressing and cheese. However, the Brisbane Caesar Salad from Outback Steakhouse is surprisingly exempt from this unwelcome overload. You can opt to order the salad without an added protein for 420 calories, or you can choose to add grilled chicken or shrimp. Both options are equally caloric, but the shrimp is the option with more protein. It’s 580 calories, 37 grams of protein, and 38 grams of fat for the whole salad — great news for Caesar salad’s super fans.
Courtesy of Outback Steakhouse
Even healthier than the bacon-covered fillet of salmon that Outback serves is the plain old grilled fillet — they offer their grilled salmon in a 7-ounce portion with a side of fresh vegetables. Unlike the other salmon dish, this one also omits the sugary glaze. The fish and vegetables total to 540 calories, 35 grams of fat, and just 610 milligrams of sodium — much safer for a low-sodium diet than Outback’s outrageously salty dishes.
Tilapia is a healthy form of white fish that pairs well with lemon — Outback Steakhouse covers theirs in a lemon butter sauce and adds a dollop of crab meat. While this is a lower-fat way to eat crab than consuming a crab cake, the dish still does have 27 grams of fat. But that’s not too bad for a meal; it also contains 540 calories for the large, protein-packed serving.
For those looking to limit their saturated fat intake, replacing ribs or steak with grilled chicken could be a healthier way to enjoy the taste of barbecue. The recommended portion size for meat is 4 ounces, and Outback offers the option to order a 5-ounce portion instead of their default 8-ounce serving. If you opt for this size and pair your meal with their mixed vegetables and side of rice, you have a relatively balanced and filling meal. The entire plate will total to 520 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 37 grams of protein.
Want to eat more lean protein but hate boring old grilled chicken? Grilled chicken doesn’t have to be boring — luckily, Outback caught on and made their own delicious, satisfying grilled chicken dish without overloading it with fat and sodium. The grilled chicken is topped with a Parmesan-herb crust and a tomato-basil garnish. For 510 calories and 23 grams of fat, you won’t be mad about eating the whole thing.
Though lobster was once considered a “garbage food,” now it’s looked at like a delicacy. There are all kinds of ways to prepare it, most of which involve mayo-soaked lobster rolls and overwhelming mac and cheese. But steamed lobster is relatively low-cal — Outback Steakhouse allows you to order 2 steamed lobster tails, which together are just 480 calories.
Wondering which seafood is healthiest to prepare on the grill? Tilapia is pretty high up on the ranking, and Outback Steakhouse offers a simple dish that includes the fish with a side of fresh vegetables. This is the lowest-calorie entrée on their menu, with just 380 calories in the entire dish.
While some of Outback Steakhouse’s menu involves whole entrée orders, they are perhaps most well-known for their steaks — all of which are served with a choice of a signature potato side dish and either a salad, soup, or other side. We looked at the options for the steak servings, potatoes, side salads, premium sides, and soups and picked out the healthiest menu item in each category.
So far as steaks are concerned, all large portions of red meat have some health conundrums to consider. But if you’re opting for steak, consider opting for the Outback Center Cut Sirloin in a 6-ounce portion. This is the smallest cut of meat they serve, and this particular cut has just 210 calories and 7 grams of fat, leaving lots of room for the side dishes of your meal.
Outback Steakhouse serves potatoes with every cut of steak; the options include Aussie Fries, a baked potato, sweet potato, and Homestyle Mashed Potatoes. You might think that the sweet potato would be the healthiest option — but the toppings they serve with it shove it over the edge. For nearly 200 fewer calories, you can enjoy a heaping portion of mashed potatoes. The side is just 240 calories and 15 grams of fat. The mashed potatoes do have a great deal more sodium, though. If you’re trying to cut back on salt, consider opting for the sweet potato for your healthy carbs.
Some of the items on Outback Steakhouse’s menu are served with the option for a side salad. You choose your type of salad and your dressing. If your salad is your entire meal, you want to choose one with a good amount of protein and healthy fats, with enough calories and nutritionally dense foods to keep you full and satisfied. If your salad is an accompaniment to an otherwise heavy meal, you might be looking to scale back on the calories and fat. If so, the salad with the lowest amount of calories and fat is the House Salad with the Tangy Tomato dressing. It has 310 calories and 25 grams of fat.
In addition to their salads, soups, and other sides, Outback Steakhouse has a special selection of Premium Sides available for order. Among them are indulgent options like Steakhouse Mac and Cheese and Loaded Homestyle Mashed Potatoes. But there’s also an option for Grilled Asparagus. This low-fat option contains just 60 calories and a ton of nutrients. Asparagus has minerals like folate, iron, and copper along with a bunch of vitamins. It might even help fight anxiety and depression.
If you want soup with your steak, there are only two options: Baked Potato Soup or Chicken Tortilla Soup. The Chicken Tortilla Soup is over 100 calories less per cup, at just 170 calories. It also has less sodium, with 710 milligrams per cup. Of course, if you’re coming to Outback Steakhouse in the first place, you’re probably not looking for a light soup to eat. Some of their menu items have calorie counts that are downright insane.
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