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The Best & Worst Menu Items at Texas Roadhouse

We called on a registered dietitian to tell us what is best to order and what's a potential threat to your health.
The Best & Worst Menu Items at Texas Roadhouse

Texas Roadhouse is famed for its buttery, fluffy rolls and honey cinnamon butter, however, the steakhouse fries up (quite literally) various other mouthwatering meals, sides, and pre-meal appetizers. We wanted to showcase a few Texas Roadhouse menu items, specifically the very worst and the very best from nine sections of the menu. To accomplish such a feat, we consulted nutrition expert Kelli McGrane MS, RD for Lose It!, a food tracking app, to pick out which items she thought were the best for your health as well as which ones are the absolute worst.

See which Texas Roadhouse menu items got the stamp of approval and which ones got the ax.

Starters

Worst: Cactus Blossom

texas roadhose cactus bloom Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
Without sauce: 1,700 calories, 89 g fat (17 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 5,670 mg sodium, 202 g carbs (13 g fiber, 26 g sugar), 27 g protein

McGrane was torn between Texas Roadhouse’s Chili Cheese Fries and Cactus Blossom, but ultimately she said the giant fried onion is the worst for you of the two. While they are both very high in sodium, the dipping sauce is what puts the Cactus Blossom over the edge in calories, fat, and sodium.

“Before the sauce, the appetizer contains a whopping 1,700 calories—more than some of us need in an entire day—and more than twice the daily sodium recommendation,” she says. “With the sauce, you’re talking a meal-sized amount of calories, fat, and sodium.”

And to think this menu item falls underneath the “Just For Starters” portion of the menu. What could you possibly stomach after nibbling on this caloric beast?

Best: Grilled Shrimp

texas roadhouse grilled shrimp Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
240 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,240 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 17 g protein

From the Cactus Blossom to the Tater Skins, Texas Roadhouse doesn’t offer a lot of health-conscious choices in its lineup of appetizers.

“While all starter options are very high in sodium, your best bet is the grilled shrimp, which is the lowest in saturated fat (3 grams) and sodium (1,240 milligrams),” advises McGrane. “It’s also high in protein and contains just 240 calories.”

However, the dietitian suggests skipping the butter dipping sauce that comes with it, since it adds 18 grams of fat—8 grams of which are saturated—and 430 milligrams of sodium. Since the main meals served here are high in sodium, it’s best to keep this number as low as possible, especially since the shrimp itself will already cost you over 1,000 milligrams of the salty stuff. Consider splitting this appetizer between another person or two!

Salads

Worst: Grilled Shrimp House Salad

texas roadhouse house salad Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
without dressing: 730 calories, 44 g fat (22 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 3,210 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (6 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 65 g protein

Imagine several pieces of grilled, plump, and salty shrimp atop this house salad.

“While it sounds lighter than some of the other options, the Grilled Shrimp House Salad is actually the worst option for a dinner-sized salad,” says McGrane. Why?

Without the dressing, this meal costs you just over 1,000 milligrams more sodium than you need in one day as well as a day’s worth of saturated fat.

“While 710 calories may not sound like much, even if you add the lowest calorie dressing (honey french), you’ll end up with a salad containing over 1,000 calories,” she says.

Best: Chicken Critter Salad

texas roadhouse chicken critter salad Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
690 calories, 41 g fat (17 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,440 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (6 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 56 g protein

“While all salad options are quite high in sodium and saturated fat, the healthiest choice is their Chicken Critter Salad. Including dressing, it’s the lowest in calories and saturated fat,” says McGrane.

We suggest adding the honey French dressing or, if the restaurant offers, a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar as the dressing.

Steaks and Ribs

Worst: TIED—Full Slab of Ribs

texas roadhouse full stack ribs Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
1,450 calories, 102 g fat (41 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 2,260 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (4 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 116 g protein

“The least healthy option is a tie between the Full Stack of Ribs and the 20-ounce Bone-In Ribeye. Both are over 1,400 calories and contain more than 40 grams of saturated fat,” says McGrane. “They’re also very high in sodium and thanks to the BBQ sauce, the ribs also contain 10 grams of sugar.”

The protein content with this meal is also outrageously high—your body cannot metabolize this much protein at one time. Experts say that the body can only properly break down and digest about 30-35 grams of protein per sitting. Excess protein consumed, and that’s not burned off through exercise, typically stores as fat instead of contributing to muscle mass.

Worst: TIED—20-ounce Bone-In Ribeye

texas roadhouse bone in ribeye Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
1,480 calories, 101 g fat (44 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,720 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (4 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 143 g protein

This steak contains double the maximum amount of saturated fat you should consume daily. Save your heart from the stress it will endure trying to digest this beast and order something that’s less than half the size, such as the option below.

Best: 6-oz Choice Sirloin

texas roadhouse 6oz choice sirloin Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
250 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 560 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 46 g protein

McGrane says that the healthiest steak option you could pick is the 6-oz Choice Sirloin since it costs you the least amount of calories and fat. It also contains more than enough protein. Add a vegetable on the side to complete the meal!

Texas-Sized Combos

Worst: 12-ounce Ribeye with Ribs

texas roadhouse 10oz ribeye ribs Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
1,510 calories, 111 g fat (46 g saturated fat, 6 g trans fat), 2,040 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (5 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 122 g protein

“At 1,510 calories it’s the highest option on the combo menu. It has 111 grams of fat—the same amount that’s in 10 tablespoons of butter, and a whopping 46 grams of saturated fat,” says McGrane.

Even more disturbing is the trans fat content at a whopping 6 grams. Considering you shouldn’t consume trans fat in your diet, this makes us very concerned that one meal packs so much artery-clogging fat. Steer clear of this menu item friends.

Best: Grilled BBQ Chicken with 6-ounce Sirloin

texas roadhouse grilled bbq chicken 6oz sirloin Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
510 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 880 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 92 g protein

“The Grilled BBQ Chicken with 6-ounce Sirloin is your healthiest bet, as it’s the lowest in calories, saturated fat, and sodium,” McGrane shares.

Chicken Specialities

Worst: Sierra Chicken Pasta

910 calories, 44 g fat (23 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,320 mg sodium, 79 g carbs (13 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 53 g protein

“Avoid the Sierra Chicken Pasta, which contains nearly half of your calorie needs for the day, and is high in total and saturated fat. It also contains more than half of your daily sodium needs,” says McGrane.

Yeah, we’ll happily pass!

Best: Grilled BBQ Chicken

texas roadhouse grilled bbq chicken Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
260 calories, 3.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 320 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 46 g protein

McGrane says the Grilled BBQ Chicken is hard to beat with under 300 calories and less than 400 milligrams of sodium. It also packs a lot of protein, so this chicken is satiating on its own.

Country Dinners

Worst: Beef Tips

texas roadhouse beef tips Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
with seasoned rice: 990 calories, 54 g fat (17 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 4,910 mg sodium, 66 g carbs (4 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 57 g protein

“The Beef Tips are your least healthy option, regardless if you choose the ones with mashed potatoes or seasoned rice,” says McGrane. “While the mashed potato option is higher in saturated fat (24 grams compared to 17 grams), the seasoned rice is very high in sodium with 4,910 milligrams compared to 4,090 milligrams—both of which are almost double the amount of recommended sodium for the day.”

Best: Single Grilled Pork Chop

texas roadhouse grilled pork chops Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
290 calories, 12 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,620 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (1 g fiber, <1 g sugar), 41 g protein

McGrane says that excluding the sodium content, the single Grilled Pork Chop is the healthiest option under the country dinner section of the menu at Texas Roadhouse.

“With just 290 calories it leaves plenty of room for a side dish. It’s also the lowest option in saturated fat while still providing filling protein. However, with 1,620 milligrams of sodium, it’s still a very high-sodium option,” she explains.

Dockside Favorites

Worst: Fish and Chips with Steak Fries

Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
without tartar sauce: 1,180 calories, 42 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 4,770 mg sodium, 136 g carbs (9 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 61 g protein

If the fish and chips dish with steak fries is offered at your local Texas Roadhouse, McGrane recommends you steer clear of ordering it.

“While it’s high in fat, what really makes it stand out is it’s 4,770 milligrams of sodium—more than twice as much sodium you should have in one day,” she says. “And this is all before adding the tartar sauce, which adds an additional 390 calories, 38 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 530 milligrams of sodium and 9 grams of sugar.”

Best: Grilled Salmon (5 ounces)

texas roadhouse grilled salmon Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
320 calories, 24 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 500 mg sodium, <1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 27 g protein

If you’re craving something from the dockside favorites portion of the menu, the 5-ounce serving of salmon is undoubtedly the best option.

“With just 320 calories and 500 milligrams of sodium, it’s a healthier option that also leaves a little wiggle room for dipping in tartar sauce, which contains 260 calories, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, and 360 milligrams of sodium,” says McGrane.

She suggests only using half of the tartar sauce given because the salmon already provides healthful omega-3 fatty acids which fight inflammation—no need to add more fat!

RELATED: Your guide to the anti-inflammatory diet that heals your gut, slows the signs of aging, and helps you lose weight.

Burgers and Sandwiches

Worst: Smokehouse Burger

texas roadhouse smokehouse burger Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
1,200 calories, 80 g fat (33 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 2,710 mg sodium, 62 g carbs (6 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 60 g protein

“With 1,200 calories and 33 grams of saturated fat, the Smokehouse Burger contains nearly 5 times more calories and 11 times more saturated fat than a regular hamburger from popular fast food joints,” says McGrane. “It also exceeds your daily recommended sodium limit, and remember, that’s all without any fries on the side.”

Best: Mushroom Jack Chicken Sandwich

texas roadhouse mushroom jack chicken sandwich Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse
820 calories, 42 g fat (16 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,600 mg sodium, 48 g carbs (6 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 65 g protein

“While the BBQ Chicken Sandwich is slightly lower in calories and saturated fat, I recommend the Mushroom Jack Chicken Sandwich as you get the benefit of having mushrooms, which are good sources of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, copper, selenium, and potassium,” explains McGrane. “It’s also much lower in sugar than the BBQ Chicken Sandwich, with just 5 grams. However, at 820 calories and 16 grams of saturated fat, you may want to skip the fries.”

Sides

Worst: Loaded Baked Potato

650 calories, 39 g fat (17 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 2,440 mg sodium, 61 g carbs (6 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 17 g protein

“The Loaded Baked Potato side is higher in calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium than the other side options. It contains as many calories as a main entrée and more than your daily recommended amount of sodium,” says McGrane.

Best: Sautéed Mushrooms

90 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 350 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 3 g protein

“[At] just 90 calories, it’s one of the lowest sides in saturated fat and sodium, while still being nutritious thanks to mushrooms being naturally rich in several vitamins and minerals,” says McGrane.

Add this side to the 6-ounce Choice Sirloin or 5-ounce salmon for a boost in zinc!

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