Sunday, September 19, 2010

Outback Steakhouse madeover by Hungry Girl

This is from one of my absolute favorite healthy/weight loss recipe/advice websites, Hungry Girl.

Do you love eating out at Outback but hate how much guilt goes into the food you eat? Here is some advice from Hungry Girl about how to eat better at Outback.

Outback Steakhouse: Menu Makeovers, Survival Tips, and More!

Meal Makeovers!

No worries... You can have steak and seafood, as long as you order right!


Don't Do It... 7 oz. Victoria's Filet with a House Salad (Tangy Tomato Dressing) and a Baked Potato (Sour Cream & Chives)
PER SERVING (total meal): 1,289 calories, 71.5g fat, 3,500mg sodium, 105g carbs, 11g fiber, 55g protein -- POINTS® value 31*

Oh, come on! A small filet (NOT topped with anything crazy), a salad (with FAT-FREE dressing), and a baked potato (NO butter, bacon, or cheese) -- more than 1,200 calories!? Lame. Luckily, you can get your steak with a much lighter nutritional price tag...

Just Chew It! 6 oz. Outback Special with Fresh Seasonal Veggies and Half a Sweet Potato (All Without Butter)
PER SERVING (total meal): 493 calories, 10.25g fat, 633mg sodium, 58g carbs, 10g fiber, 42.5g protein -- POINTS® value 10*

Steak 'n sweet potato... and just the right amounts. (No one needs a whole 418-calorie potato as a side order. Trust us.) Add a heaping pile of veggies and you've got a filling meal (plus half a potato to take home)!


Beat It... Shrimp en Fuego with a Double Order of Fresh Steamed Green Beans
PER SERVING (total meal): 1,484 calories, 97.5g fat, 2,885mg sodium, 76.5g carbs, 23.5g fiber, 77g protein -- POINTS® value 37*

Okay, sauced-up shrimp and veggies, extra veggies on the side, and no pasta or potato... this is a BAD idea?! Sadly, so. The shrimp part alone has over a thousand calories. And even those green beans pack about 230 calories and 11g fat per serving! There are better ways to order under the sea...

Eat It! Lobster Tails with Fresh Seasonal Veggies and Half a Sweet Potato (All Without Butter)
PER SERVING (total meal): 495 calories, 4.25g fat, 1,004mg sodium, 63g carbs, 11g fiber, 52g protein -- POINTS® value 9*

Lobster becomes ridiculously guilt-free when you ditch the insane amount of butter it's typically drenched in. And yes, we're recommending the sweet potato again because, well, sweet potatoes ROCK. And by our calculations, the entire spud alone weighs in at more than a POUND (no joke!), so having half is still totally indulgent.

Aussie All-Stars!

Here are some menu items that are great choices, with practically no special ordering required...

Appetizer: Seared Ahi Tuna
PER SERVING (1/4th of a regular-sized order): 108 calories, 6g fat, 467mg sodium, 3g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 7g protein -- POINTS® value 3*

If there are just two of you, go for the small order -- 162 calories and 10.5g fat (POINTS® value 4*) in half of that. Add a side of veggies or a salad, and this shared starter could become a great meal for one. If you're not a fan of almost raw ahi (don't knock it 'til you try it), the Gold Coast Coconut Shrimp supposedly has some decent stats. But we're leery of anything with "beer batter" and "fried" in the description.

Entrée: Grilled Chicken on the Barbie with Fresh Seasonal Veggies (Both Without Butter)
PER SERVING (total meal): 388 calories, 3.5g fat, 1,211mg sodium, 32.5g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 54.5g protein -- POINTS® value 7*

A perfect option for the red-meat-dodging, fish-loathing friend in your life. Ken you handle it? (Get it!? Barbie... Ken... Never mind.)

Add Ons:

Lobster Tail (No Butter)
PER SERVING (total): 123 calories, 1g fat, 427mg sodium, 4.5g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 23.5g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

Grilled Scallops (No Butter)
PER SERVING (total): 194 calories, 8.75g fat, 1,862mg sodium, 7.5g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 21g protein -- POINTS® value 4*

We think either of these would make a nice addition to your meal. They kinda put the 392-calorie, 36g-of-fat Lobster & Mushroom Topping to shame...

Tips & Tricks & Need-to-Know...

* As you've probably picked up on, Outback Steakhouse melts butter on pretty much everything. (In fact, we're fairly certain if you stumbled into the kitchen by accident, they'd baste YOU in butter.) The good news is that it's super-easy to modify menu items and save tons of calories and fat grams by simply saying, "No butter, please!"

* Beware of the seemingly innocent Mustard Vinaigrette and fat-free Tangy Tomato dressing. The first contains an alarming 285 calories and 29 grams of fat per serving, and even the Tangy Tomato has close to 100 calories per serving. And those numbers only apply when you order a side salad -- DOUBLE 'em if you order an entrée-sized salad. Eeeks!

* Like many chains, the menu varies a bit by location. For example, some locations offer crab legs instead of lobster -- that's also a good choice! So check out your local menu on the OS site before you head in with your heart set on something specific.

* Speaking of Outback's site, definitely check out the Interactive Nutritional Menu Tool. It won't let you customize everything (we'd love to know how many calories the Grilled Chicken & Swiss sandwich would contain without the sauce and cheese), but it's still pretty helpful. There's also a gluten-free guide, allergy guidelines, and tips for low-carb dieters. Nice!

* In our experience, the Outback peeps are super-accommodating (as long as you're nice, of course). So if you have a special request, just ask. And BTW, the food ROCKS