Friday, January 28, 2011

Managing Calories at the Outback Steak House

My son's 16th birthday was Wednesday, but because of the latest blizzard, we didn't get around to celebrating it until last night.

And how did we celebrate it?

When asked what he wanted to do for his birthday, my son said he wanted to go to the Outback Steak-house.

So off we went. Now, usually I order salads or fish at Outback, being mindful that sometimes these are not the best options. I always find it best to check calorie counts at the restaurant's website prior to going which is here: I can't wait until calorie counts on menu are required, so I can avoid this step.

I don't know if it was the blizzard, the cold weather or what, but I didn't want to hear about fish or salad last night. I was in one of my rare red wine and red meat moods.

Now, ordering food at restaurants can be a caloric disaster. Particular at a chain. If I order ordered the New Zealand rack of lamb dinner, as is, it would have totaled a whopping 1,778 calories.

Now, because of my age, weight and size, I can only consume about 1,700 calories in a day without gaining weight so this was not going to fly.

So here's what I did. The rack of lamb by itself is 1303 calories, but most of those calories are in the sauce and the seasoned butter they put on top. I ordered it sans butter and with the sauce on the side. That got the calories on the entree down to around 540 calories (the calories in a 9 oz. rack of lamb). I shared some of my lamb with my husband, shaving off a few more calories.

The steamed seasonal vegetables as is are 108 calories. By ordering them without the butter they are a mere 48 calories.

Finally, the garlic mashed potatoes have 367 calories. I substituted a sweet potato without the butter and brown sugar (I just used Cinnamon and a little salt.) That got me down to 180 calories.

So the grand total was 1,264 calories. Still high and I'll have to do some make up eating and exercising today, but I still managed to shave 514 calories off the meal.

Now, I still would have done better by ordering something such as the salmon which comes in at 525 calories (411 calories without the butter), the seared Ahi tuna (an appetizer I order as an entree) only has 479 calories, but this was basically an infrequent indulgence (we all need that once and a while).

I also avoided any appetizers or desserts (we never order dessert, but my husband and I do usually share and appetizer), so overall, I did good. Could have been better, but we can't be saints all of the time.


  1. Eating in a restaurant is one of THE most difficult things to do. It's why Americans are so large to begin with. We go out and see all those yummy foods and no nutritional information. Ugh! You made the better choices and you should be super proud that you did! I am proud of ya!!!

    I'm going out with friends on Sunday to a place called "Moe's," but they have this amazing Website where you can customize your order (in advance) and then it'll give you the exact nutritional information. I wish ALL restaurants had this option! It's brilliant!!!

  2. Great job! This was the perfect post for me to read today, as we head out to dinner with our daughter and son in law tonight. Calories are not posted online, unfortunately, but I do have a plan.

  3. I think that was the smart thing to do. Being "too" good could make you feel deprive, while the occasional mild indulgence can help you feel better overall.
    My problem is that I feel like I'm causing trouble by asking them to leave the sauce on the side and hold off on the butter. I know they don't really care, but I feel like I'm being 'difficult' -- which is really silly.

  4. Good for you! Yesterday hubby and I ate out at Applebees, not a place we frequent but we got a gift card for Christmas, and they now have one their menu an icon for meals under 550 calories. My husband and both order one of those, they were tasting and not over sized!