Monday, August 3, 2009

Dinner at the Outback Steakhouse--Be Prepared

My son left for sleep away camp on Sunday. Saturday night, however, we let him choose a restaurant for his "last meal" as it were, and he chose the Outback Steakhouse.

I always find dining in restaurants challenging, because food tends to be drenched in butter, oils, sugars etc. which is tasty on the palate, but disastrous for the thighs. Chain restaurants, because they don't have chefs with skills to create yummy, low-cal, food, are particularly bad in coating the food in fats, sugars and salts to make it taste better.

I can't always be the family party pooper, so we make frequent trips to Outback. I've learned to navigate the menu by using calorie counters such as this one: and this one:

Saturday night I ordered the house salad with no cheese or croutons and vinaigrette dressing on the side. According to the calorie counter, the house salad has 200 calories with the cheese and croutons, so I probably knocked a good 60 to 100 calories off of it by ordering it without the cheese and croutons. I also ordered the grilled swordfish, without the lemon/butter sauce (but with extra lemon to squeeze on it) which was approximately 300 calories, and the steamed veggies as a side which have 69 calories. So my grand total for the evening was approximately 569 calories (not including the calories in the two glasses of wine I had.)

Other Outback favorites I like to order are the Ahi Tuna Salad (300 calories), the side sweet potato (224 calories), the Ahi Tuna appetizer (which I often get as a main course which has 260 calories) and the grilled Atlantic Salmon (180 calories).

Things to avoid include the blooming onion (2,300 calories), the blue cheese chopped salad (569 calories), the Aussie cheese fries (2,900 calories).

You can easily find out the calories in dishes at your favorite chain restaurants just by typing the restaurant name and the word calories into Google. A quick Internet search prior to heading out to a restaurant dinner can help you navigate caloric minefields. You can avoid foods that sound "healthy" and low calorie just because they're "salads" (the Outback Caesar side salad has 638 calories) and directing you to the lower calorie items, such as the grilled chicken fillet which only has 140 calories.

Knowledge can be power, and in this case, knowledge can be extra pounds not gained.

1 comment:

  1. That Atlantic Salmon with fresh steamed veggies is actually listed at over 1,600 calories(MSNBC, Women's Health Magazine)... I don't know what they do to the fillet, but they must soak it in butter & salt to achieve that.