Dining out at a steakhouse always feels like a luxurious experience, especially when the menu provides you with a plethora of delicious meals to choose from. But having all of those options can certainly feel daunting if you're trying to keep your nutrition in mind. However, while the options on that menu may not seem like the healthiest, there are still plenty of meals to choose from that can still benefit your health.
Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT, a registered dietitian nutritionist and a member of our medical expert board, shares her favorite go-to healthy dishes to order at a steakhouse—from appetizers all the way to dessert. So whether it's a local steakhouse in your hometown or a night at your favorite chain, here are the best dishes to order at any steakhouse right now.
Oysters on the half shell
For an appetizer, Manaker recommends going for a classic—oysters.
"A classic app at steak houses, oysters are packed with nutrients like zinc as well as healthy fats," she says. "Skip the fried options and enjoy these natural delicacies."
For a salad—whether it before your meal or enjoyed on its own—Manaker says a chopped salad has a lot to offer.
"Steakhouses have surprisingly delicious chopped salads that are chock-full of good-for-you ingredients," she says. "Just make sure that the dressing you choose is a lighter choice (think a vinaigrette) and ask if they can hold the bacon when you order this dish."
Strip steak, baked potato, and steamed veggies.
For a main, Manaker recommends enjoying 4 ounces of strip steak with those classic steakhouse sides.
"There is nothing wrong with a balanced meal that contains a reasonable portion of beef, starch, and veggie," she says. "Strip steak is a leaner cut of beef that provides protein, iron, zinc, and a slew of other key nutrients. While the potato provides fiber and vitamin C and the veggies provide even more filling fiber and antioxidants. Just hold the melted butter on the potato and the creamy sauces on the steak, and you should be in great shape! And if the steak spot typically salts their potatoes, request that they refrain when it comes to prepping your spud."
Filet mignon – split with a friend!
Another great steak option is the filet mignon, which Manaker says is great for sharing with a friend.
"Filet mignons are one of the most delicious things to enjoy at a steak house," she says. "Typically, they are served in 8-ounce portions—about double what is considered to be a serving. Split a filet with a friend and either enjoy your portion with a salad or accompanied by a steamed veggie and half of a baked potato for a classic steakhouse meal."
Not in the mood for steak? Go for some kind of grilled lean protein or seafood—like shrimp! Just be sure the fish isn't deep fried or drowning in too much butter and sauce.
"Again, as long as you are skipping the creamy sauce, grilled shrimp can be a healthy dish to enjoy at a steak house," says Manaker. "Typically, this dish is served with rice and veggies. If it isn't just ask for these as a side!"
Manaker also says ordering the shrimp cocktail could be a great option if grilled shrimp isn't available.
If you plan on ordering a drink, Manaker says to go for a lower-sugar wine like a Pinot Noir.
"A pinot noir will be a healthier choice than a mixed drink made with sugary mixers," she explains. "You can also sip on vodka with soda water—just make sure the bartender doesn't have a heavy hand!"
Fresh berries with ice cream
Lastly, for dessert, see if the steakhouse offers some kind of fruit that you can pair with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, like a handful of fresh berries.
"Think you can't have dessert when you go to a steak house? Think again," says Manaker. "Many spots have delicious fresh berries on the menu, which makes for a satisfying sweet treat. Ask for a small dollop of ice cream to go with your fruit, and you will be totally happy with your meal's finale."