The Best & Worst Menu Items at Texas Roadhouse
Texas Roadhouse is a restaurant chain that is best known for its steaks, ribs, and other "made-from-scratch" American cuisine for a great value. The original concept is said to have derived from a sketch on a cocktail napkin by Kent Taylor, who went on to open the first Texas Roadhouse location in Clarksville, Indiana, back in 1993. Today, Texas Roadhouse is considered to be one of the fastest-growing restaurant brands in the country; currently, there are reportedly over 600 locations nationwide. Given that "everything is bigger in Texas," it's no surprise that the Texas Roadhouse menu offers a mega-selection of food items divided into 10 sections, with meals that run the gamut between somewhat health-conscious and not-so-healthy options.
If you're trying to eat healthier or shed pounds, knowing which Texas Roadhouse menu items are on the healthier side and which others might pose obstacles to achieving your weight loss goals will put you in the best position possible to relax and enjoy your meal. To help make navigating the Texas Roadhouse menu easier for you, we've rounded up some of the best and worst items you'll find based on the nutrition information of each item. You'll definitely want to keep this roundup on hand before heading to your local Texas Roadhouse.
Read on to learn which Texas Roadhouse menu items are among the healthiest the chain offers and which others you're better off passing on. And for more healthy eating tips to simplify your next visit to a beloved chain restaurant, be sure to check out The 9 Healthiest Dishes to Order at Red Lobster.
Worst: Cactus Blossom
These Texas-sized fried onions with Cajun sauce provide more calories than you need in an entire day. It also provides 130% of the recommended daily max of artery-clogging saturated fat. (Hey, it is fried!) As a registered dietitian, I've never seen a dish that more than doubles the recommended daily amount, but this dish wins the prize at 217% for sodium. If you are going to order this bad boy, do share it with many people.
Best: Texas Red Chili With Beans
This protein-packed starter has a reasonable amount of calories and saturated fat, plus it provides a healthy dose of fiber from the beans. Many folks don't get enough beans daily and miss out on their many nutrients and nutritional benefits, including making you feel satisfied.
Worst: Steakhouse Filet Salad
Although you may think you're ordering healthy off the salad section, this bad boy is just too much. The calories are 67% of your daily needs (based on a 2,000-calorie diet), saturated fat is 125% above the recommended daily max, and sodium is 125% of the recommended daily max. You may think the 71 grams of protein is fabulous, but it's too much. Your body can't utilize this much protein at once—so it's just way overboard.
Best: House Salad
This salad includes fresh greens, cheddar cheese, tomato, eggs, and croutons with your choice of dressing. It's a lower-calorie way to get in your veggies. To decrease some of the saturated fat, you can take out the cheese or egg—believe me, you will get plenty of protein in your main, so focus on the veggies for this salad.
Steaks & Ribs
Worst: Bone-In Ribeye Steak
This order consists of 20 ounces of ribeye with the bone. Given that a standard portion of cooked beef is 3 or 4 ounces, the portion is just too much, and the nutrition information reflects this as the calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium are just well above "in moderation" for a single meal or even a single day. If you're craving a ribeye, share or take half home for the next day (or two!)
Best: USDA Choice Sirloin
A lean cut of beef in a reasonable portion provides 10 essential nutrients, including protein, vitamins B6 and B12, iron, zinc, selenium, niacin, riboflavin, phosphorus, and choline. Enjoy with veggies on the side.
Texas Size Combos
Worst: 12 oz. Ft. Worth Ribeye & Ribs
This combo of steak and ribs is once again over the top with the portion size, and the nutrient information reflects it. It provides 75% of the daily calories (based on 2,000 calories), 230% of the recommended daily max of saturated, and 113% of the recommended daily max of sodium. It also provides artery-clogging trans fat, which is recommended to be as little as possible—which this isn't.
Best: Chicken Critters® & Sirloin
This dish is made with all-white meat chicken tenders that are dipped in a buttermilk batter and fried, plus a lean 6 oz. sirloin. Although fried isn't my favorite recommendation, it is your best choice within the section. (Though there is a Grilled BBQ Chicken & Sirloin Texas Size Combo, it's 590 calories!) If opting for this meal, I would recommend skipping the apps and having this as your only dish, plus some lower-calorie veggie sides.
Worst: Sierra Chicken Pasta
This calorie-heavy pasta dish provides 165% of the daily recommended max of saturated fat and is close to 100% of the daily recommended max of sodium—certainly making it a non-heart healthy or calorie-friendly meal.
Best: Herb-Crusted Chicken
According to the Texas Roadhouse menu, this dish is made with boneless chicken breast seasoned with herbs and spices and served with caramelized lemon. Add two sides—a starch and low-carb veggies—and you have a nicely balanced meal.
Worst: The Country Fried Sirloin
Sirloin steak is a lean cut of beef and is rather tasty grilled. Once you fry it and drown it in cream gravy, the calories, saturated fat, and sodium go through the roof. Stick with grilled steak and skip this fried version.
Best: Single Grilled Pork Chop
Boneless pork chops are a healthier choice and provide a boatload of nutrition. This dish adds ingredients to up the saturated fat to 45% of your daily recommended max, and it does have over 100% of your daily recommended sodium. The calories are reasonable, so do be mindful of the saturated fat and sodium foods you eat the rest of the day to minimize intake.
Worst:4 Piece Fried Catfish
Although this item is only available in select stores, if you happen to catch this fried fish dish on the menu of your local Texas Roadhouse, just skip it. Fish is usually a healthy option, but this fried version provides 75% of your total daily recommended amount of saturated fat, which isn't what you should find in a fish dish.
Best: 5 oz. Grilled Salmon
What a fabulously healthy way to get in your omega-3 fats at dinner. Pair this grilled salmon with a starch and low-carb veggie side, and you're in business for a healthy meal.
Burgers & Sandwiches
Worst: The Smokehouse Burger
This Texas Roadhouse burger is served with sautéed mushrooms, onions, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion, with American and jack cheeses on a Texas-sized bun with steak fries and a pickle spear. The calories are certainly over what you should be eating at one meal. Still, it's the saturated fat and sodium that are way over the top, with both providing over 100% of the daily recommended amount.
Best: BBQ Chicken Sandwich
This marinated and grilled chicken breast is basted with BBQ sauce and served with lettuce, tomato, and onion on a Texas-sized bun with steak fries and a pickle spear. If you're jonesing for a burger, it's the healthiest option on the menu. To cut back on some calories, enjoy it as an open-faced sandwich.
Worst: Caesar Side Salad
You would think the salad is the best option for a side dish, but the dressing on this one jacks up the saturated fat. Your side dish shouldn't provide 40% of your daily recommended max of saturated fat. If you want to order this side salad, ask for the dressing on the side or switch to a vinaigrette dressing.
Best: Green Beans
Up your veggies by ordering this side dish to complement your meat, chicken, or fish. You'll get some fiber and protein (yes, veggies provide some!) and a minimal amount of saturated fat.
Worst: Big 'Ol Brownie
The Texas-sized meal you'll be eating (and hopefully monitoring your portions) will be plenty of food. But if you're craving dessert, skip the brownie dish. It has 60% of your recommended amount of calories (based on a 2,000-calorie diet), 32% of your daily recommended max of sodium, and close to 36 teaspoons of sugar. (SKIP! SKIP! SKIP!)
With all the food and beverages you've eaten—even if you picked healthier choices—it's enough for this meal. If you're craving dessert, opt for a piece of fruit with about 60–70 calories or 1 ounce of dark chocolate with 150 calories.