If you're craving a thick, juicy steak grilled to order, you might be considering a trip to the Outback Steakhouse, a chain steak restaurant with locations throughout the United States. Unfortunately, many of the menu options are high in saturated fat and sodium. Eating at Outback, however, doesn't need to be a disaster if you know what to look for in a meal.
Appetizers and Sides
Keeping your entire meal, including appetizers and sides, low in saturated fat is a good idea because too much saturated fat can raise your cholesterol level. Skip the cheese fries, which contain 319 calories per serving along with 10 grams of saturated fat, and the fried onion, which contains 325 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving. Both items serve six people. Loaded mashed potatoes contain 318 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat, though you do get 5 grams of fiber. Steamed vegetables are a better choice, though ordering them with butter can increase the saturated fat content to as much as 4 grams. Have plain steamed vegetables for a fat-free side or appetizer that also supplies a good dose of fiber, vitamin A and potassium. Pass on the salty soups and have a tossed green salad with light salad dressing, another healthier option.
A 22-ounce porterhouse steak contains 1,109 calories and 78 grams of fat, of which 34 grams are saturated. That steak also contains 631 milligrams of sodium, which is 42 percent of the 1,500 milligrams you should limit yourself to each day, according to the American Heart Association. A 14-ounce New York strip steak has 764 calories, 49 grams of fat, of which 21 are saturated, and 551 milligrams of sodium. Reduce your fat and sodium intake by opting for the 6-ounce steak, which clocks in at 254 calories, 13 grams of fat, of which 5 are saturated, and 226 milligrams of sodium. The smaller steak still contains 37 grams of protein.
Seafood can be lower in saturated fat than red meat, but it can be just as high, if not higher, in sodium. A 4-ounce lobster tail contains 439 calories, 26 grams of fat, of which 14 grams are saturated, and 784 milligrams of sodium. You'll also take in 386 milligrams of cholesterol. The grilled salmon has 387 calories, 25 grams of fat, of which only 4 are saturated, and 295 milligrams of sodium. Salmon also contains heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Mahi mahi is a good choice in terms of fat, with just 4 grams of total fat, but it's not so great in terms of the 1,025 milligrams of sodium it contains.
Burgers and Sandwiches
A classic cheeseburger contains 746 calories, 47 grams of fat, of which 23 grams are saturated, and 1,436 milligrams of sodium. You do get a good dose of protein and iron in the burger, however. A double burger has 1,040 calories, 73 grams of fat, of which 27 grams are saturated, and 1,441 milligrams of sodium. A crispy chicken sandwich isn't much better with 762 calories, 40 grams of fat, of which 18 grams are saturated, and 2,185 milligrams of sodium. Your best sandwich option is the grilled chicken sandwich, which has 590 calories and 28 grams of fat, of which 6 grams are saturated.
Additional Healthy Ideas
Order your meal with plain water or unsweetened iced tea or coffee, each of which contains zero calories and no fat. Soda, on the other hand, contains as much as 10 teaspoons or more of sugar, and too much sugar can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Pass on dessert, too, which can contain upward of 35 grams of sugar per serving. Order off the 600-calories-or-less menu, which includes items such as grilled seafood, salads and flatbreads. Though they're lower in calories, these options can still contain an unhealthy amount of sodium.
- Outback Steakhouse: Nutrition Information
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fats and Cholesterol: Out With the Bad, In With the Good
- American Heart Association: Sodium: (Salt or Sodium Chloride)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- American Heart Association: Sugars and Carbohydrates
- American Heart Association: Ordering Your Meal