The Healthiest Texas Roadhouse Orders—and What To Skip

four Texas Roadhouse menu items on a red background
Photos: Texas Roadhouse, Shutterstock. Design: Eat This, Not That!

Everything is bigger in Texas, or so they say, and if you've dined at a Texas Roadhouse before, that slogan may seem on par with their plates of food too. Ironically, the globally known chain (with over 580 locations in 49 states and 9 foreign countries) is actually based in Kentucky. And, another surprise, the first location opened up in 1993 in Indiana, not Texas!

Regardless of their roots, Texas Roadhouse has infiltrated American food culture and with it brings a few gems that even myself as a dietitian can get behind. First, in each restaurant chain, they have an in-house baker and butcher, ensuring you get the best quality homemade breads and high-quality meats at every location. Second, they make almost every recipe from scratch, down the dressings, bacon bits and croutons. While I may recommend swapping some of these classic staples for foods that offer a bit more nutritional bang-per-bite, it's still wonderful to see a chain restaurant stay true to its values and keep scratch cooking at the forefront.

How We Chose The Healthiest Orders at Texas Roadhouse

  • Keep calories in check: Listen, we don't want you to get wrapped up in calorie counting on the regular, but when dining out, it can be eye-opening when you see some of the menu options exceed 2,000 calories in one plate. So, while we discourage you from becoming number-obsessed, we encourage you to be mindful of the energy (aka nutrients) the meal is actually providing. As a general rule of thumb based on a 2,000-calorie diet per day, your main meals should be around 500 to 600 calories if you snack, which would then make up the remaining calories. Or, if you omit snacking, you have a little more wiggle room with your main meals, allowing approximately 600 to 800 calories per meal (give or take). The menu options we've selected for you are within this range. Plus, some can even serve as a snack if you find yourself at a Texas Roadhouse and need an in-between meal bite!

  • Aim for 20 grams of protein per meal: For a food to be rich in a nutrient, it has to provide 20% or more of the daily value. The main menu options we've selected for you meet this criterion and are packed with over 20 grams of protein per meal, including the kids' menu options. Your individual protein needs vary depending on age, gender, activity level, and lifestyle factors. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is between 46 and 56 grams for adults. While needs may be much higher for individuals, this amount covers the essential needs of a generally healthy person. Aiming for 20 grams of protein per meal when dining out helps set you up for success in meeting these numbers.

  • Look for items that provide a source of fiber: Fiber helps keep you fuller for longer, which becomes especially important if you're stopping into a Texas Roadhouse on a road trip and trying to keep your mindless munching at bay. While higher protein options, like stand-alone steaks, will not likely provide a good source of fiber (upwards of 5 grams), every gram counts. Adding vegetables as your side dish can really up your intake of this nutrient and aid in keeping you satiated long after your meal.

  • Limit saturated fat intake: The recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting saturated fat intake to no more than 10% of your daily calories. For someone on a 2,000-calorie diet, that's the equivalent of about 200 calories (or about 22 grams of saturated fat total per day.) While red meats naturally contain more saturated fats than poultry or vegetarian options, we recommend choosing the leanest cuts and steer clear of adding additional cheese, butter, or bacon (all foods that contain saturated fat, too.)

  • Cut down on the salt: The recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium intakes to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, or about 1 teaspoon. When dining out, you will consume more sodium than you would if you prepared that same meal at home. While we can't say all of these menu items are a good choice when it comes to their sodium content, we can say they are the better choice when looking at the entire menu. Plus, you can always ask your server to omit any salt added in the kitchen and refrain from shaking it on your dish out of habit, too. Be sure to keep a better handle on your eating choices throughout the rest of the day to offset the higher sodium intakes you're likely to enjoy at a Texas Roadhouse.

Now that you know some of the things to look for when finding a healthy restaurant meal, here are the healthiest Texas Roadhouse orders to enjoy, plus five orders we suggest skipping. Read on, then check out The #1 Healthiest Menu Item at 30 Popular Restaurants.

The Healthiest Texas Roadhouse Orders

Starters

Best: Grilled Shrimp

Texas Roadhouse Grilled Shrimp Starter
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 70
Fat: 1.5 g (Saturated fat: 0.5 g)
Sodium: 1,080 mg
Carbs: 1 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g)
Protein: 13 g

Sizzling shrimp is served in garlic lemon butter and with a toasted baguette— sounds dreamy, right? The healthier option is to nix the garlic lemon butter and baguette, leaving you with a low-calorie, low-fat, higher-protein option. But, it may not be as satisfying, which is also important when choosing what to eat. When you're not satisfied, you may end up exceeding the total calories of the meal without modifications depending on how you snack later to fill that void.

To round out this snack option while keeping the total saturated fat and sodium in check (which would be around 6 grams of saturated fat and 1,530 milligrams of sodium if you ordered as is), consider pairing the shrimp with the fresh vegetable side to increase the fiber to 5 grams.

RELATED: I Tried All the Appetizers at Texas Roadhouse&This Is the Absolute Best One

Best: Texas Red Chili With Beans

Texas Roadhouse
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per 1-cup serving):
Calories: 210
Fat: 10 g (Saturated fat: 4 g)
Sodium: 640 mg
Carbs: 14 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g)
Protein: 16 g

Chili with beans is my go-to when dining out. Why? Because it's filled with heart-healthy beans that pack fiber and protein and a decent amount of protein from the beef. While I prefer vegetarian chili, I don't shy away from one made with meat at chain restaurants as it is still one of the menu's better-for-you choices. Not only does a 1-cup serving of the Texas Roadhouse Chili pack 16 grams of high-quality protein, but it also contains 4 grams of filling fiber and only 4 grams of saturated fat, meaning they are likely preparing this with leaner ground beef. Feel free to keep the cheese and onions on top, as they are included in the nutritional information and can easily fit into your daily nutrient needs.

Salads

Best: Grilled Salmon Salad

plate of salmon salad from Texas Roadhouse
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 460
Fat: 27 g (Saturated fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 470 mg
Carbs: 19 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 9 g)
Protein: 38 g

Salmon is a great addition to your diet, especially if you can sneak it in when dining out. Not only is this a good way to increase your intake of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA that are stellar for your brain and heart health, but it's also a substantial source of protein, with 38 grams in this salad alone. Plus, when paired with the Grilled Salmon Salad, you also reap the fiber benefits those vegetables offer too. I recommend omitting the cheese and bacon on this one, though, as that will put you at 22 grams of saturated fat and 1310 milligrams of sodium in one meal.

RELATED: 10 Unhealthiest Restaurant Salads—Ranked by Sugar Content

Steaks

Best: USDA Choice Sirloin with Fresh Vegetables

Texas Roadhouse: Hand-cut Sirloin 6 oz
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 440
Fat: 21 g (Saturated fat: 7 g)
Sodium: 1,040 mg
Carbs: 16 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 49 g

Lean beef can fit into a balanced, healthy diet. In fact, it's a source of vitamins and minerals, like choline, which most Americans aren't getting enough of. Pairing a 6-ounce sirloin with a side of fresh vegetables not only packs the protein at 49 grams but also offers 7 grams of filling fiber too. While the sodium is a bit higher, it's pretty reasonable compared to the shrimp starter that packs over this amount and only 13 grams of protein. Just be sure to be mindful of your other foods that day and opt for the lower sodium choices.

RELATED: The #1 Unhealthiest Dish at 8 Steakhouse Chains

Best: Dallas Filet with Steamed Broccoli

Texas Roadhouse Dallas Filet
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 480
Fat: 25 g (Saturated fat: 9 g)
Sodium: 1,210 mg
Carbs: 23 g (Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 51 g

Like the sirloin, a filet is considered another leaner cut of beef by the USDA. This means it can have no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat in a 3.5-ounce serving. Judging by the saturated fat content posted, the serving size of the Dallas Filet here is probably a bit more than 3.5 ounces. While still within the recommended limits for saturated fat consumption for the day, you can enjoy the whole meal here if your hunger levels advise you to do so. Just be sure to keep a closer eye on your other food choices during the day and opt for the lower saturated fat and sodium options as well since this combo does have a significant amount of sodium, too

Ribs

Best: Fall Off-The-Bone, Half-Slab, Half Portion

Texas Roadhouse Fall Off-The-Bone Ribs, Half-Slab, Half Portion
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 450
Fat: 32 g (Saturated fat: 13 g)
Sodium: 700 mg
Carbs: 5 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g)
Protein: 36 g

Surprisingly, if you're a rib fan, this menu option may be worthwhile. But be sure you note this is for a half portion of the half-slab, meaning you should ask for that box right away and save the other portion for another day. The thing with the Fall-Off-the-Bone Ribs is that they do yield a higher fat content, making the saturated fat level roughly 65% of your daily recommended limit. It's not a no, but rather a decision you will have to consciously make to lower your other saturated fat intake throughout the day.

RELATED: Texas Roadhouse vs. Chili's: Which Has Better Ribs?

Combos

Best: 6 oz. Sirloin&Grilled Shrimp

Texas Roadhouse 6 oz. Sirloin&Grilled Shrimp
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 650
Fat: 29 g (Saturated fat: 10 g)
Sodium: 2,210 mg
Carbs: 33 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 64 g

Protein enthusiasts, this Sirloin&Grilled Shrimp meal is for you. With 64 grams of high-quality protein from lean beef and shrimp, it's easy to meet your protein goals when on the road. But it also has nearly a day's worth of sodium in one serving, so I recommend halving this menu option with a friend or boxing half up later if you have high blood pressure or have been told to monitor your sodium intake. You'll still get a whopping 32 grams of protein if you do this, but also lower the saturated fat to just 5 grams and sodium to a more manageable 1,105 milligrams.

Dockside Favorites

Best: Grilled Salmon with Fresh Vegetables

texas roadhouse grilled salmon
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 430
Fat: 29 g (Saturated fat: 7 g)
Sodium: 750 mg
Carbs: 14 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 30 g

Similar to the salmon salad, the Grilled Salmon plate is another nice option to increase your omega-3 intake. Forgo the lemon butter on this one, as it will increase the saturated fat and sodium of your entire dish. Instead, add the fresh vegetables as a side, and you'll take the dish from 0 grams of fiber to a wonderful 6! And, with 30 grams of protein, you'll be fueled and focused to take on whatever the rest of your journey that day has in store.

Chicken

Best: California Chicken Dinner

Texas Roadhouse California Chicken Dinner
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 390
Fat: 18 g (Saturated fat: 7 g)
Sodium: 620 mg
Carbs: 6 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 2 g)
Protein: 55 g

While the California Chicken Dinner is a hidden gem to exclusive markets, as a California native myself, I'm grateful for this move the chain has enlisted in their menus. Known for its beautiful green hue, California is home to the gorgeous avocado used in specialty menus along the coast. While the honey lime sauce may sound appealing, it's also got almost 18 grams of added sugars. To keep your goals top of mind, nix the sauce and enjoy the fresh taste of fresh California avocados to enhance the meal.

RELATED: The 10 Unhealthiest Chicken Dishes At Major Restaurant Chains

Best: Grilled BBQ Chicken with Fresh Vegetables

Texas Roadhouse grilled bbq chicken
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 410
Fat: 19 g (Saturated fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 670 mg
Carbs: 14 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 50 g

With half a pound of chicken served in a glazed BBQ sauce, the Grilled BBQ Chicken is quite literally a feast. While I won't cut down the portion as it's still relatively low in saturated fat, I do recommend omitting the BBQ sauce, as that alone packs almost 14 grams of added sugars, or roughly 3 to 4 teaspoons worth. Order the fresh vegetables, which pack some more fiber into the meal and flavor with red pepper flakes.

Country Dinners

Best: Grilled Pork Chop, Single Chop with Fresh Vegetables

texas roadhouse grilled pork chops
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 480
Fat: 28 g (Saturated fat: 9 g)
Sodium: 2,100 mg
Carbs: 16 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 44 g

Lean pork chops are another cut of meat that typically has a lower saturated fat content than fattier cuts of pork, like bacon or pork shoulder. Ordering a single chop still yields 41 grams of high-quality protein, too. I recommend adding fresh vegetables again as a side (it's actually one of the best side choices since the preparation method for some of the other vegetables can add a substantial amount of sodium and saturated fat to your dish). Omit the peppercorn sauce to save almost 4 grams of saturated fat and 900 milligrams of sodium. The Grilled Pork Chop is still very high in sodium, so you will need to be mindful of your other eating choices throughout the day.

Burgers&Sandwiches

Best: Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Texas Roadhouse BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 560
Fat: 18 g (Saturated fat: 5 g)
Sodium: 1,040 mg
Carbs: 45 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 55 g

While the Grilled Chicken Sandwich is only available in some markets, the BBQ Chicken Sandwich appears to be available everywhere. Here's an inside secret: you can actually make the Grilled Chicken Sandwich and reap the 55 grams of protein with only 5 grams of saturated fat and 6 grams of filling fiber by ordering the BBQ Chicken Sandwich and asking for the BBQ sauce to be omitted. This is a wonderful option when you're craving a handheld with a bun that won't derail your goals. Even though the sodium is a bit higher, you can still enjoy this option and be more considerate of your other food choices that day.

RELATED: 14 Best&Worst Fast-Food Chicken Sandwiches

Kids&Ranger Meals

Best: Lil' Dillo Steak Bites with Fresh Vegetables&Diet Coke

Texas Roadhouse Lil' Dillo Steak Bites with Fresh Vegetables&Diet Coke
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 360
Fat: 19 g (Saturated fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 860 mg
Carbs: 15 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 34 g

Listen, it never hurts to ask if you can order off the kids' menu. Unless you're told no, it's actually a cost-efficient way that allows you to enjoy what you're craving in a more nutritionally sound (and savvy) way. The Lil' Dillo Steak Bites served with fresh vegetables and Diet Coke (or water) is actually a pretty sound meal for an adult (I may have some things to say about the sodium content if this was for a child since their daily recommended amount is between 800 to 1,200 milligrams.) Nonetheless, with 34 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber for just 360 calories, it's a meal you can enjoy while helping you achieve your personal health goals.

Best: Kid's Grilled Chicken with Fresh Vegetables&Diet Coke

Texas Roadhouse Kid's Grilled Chicken with Fresh Vegetables&Diet Coke
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 300
Fat: 17 g (Saturated fat: 5 g)
Sodium: 580 mg
Carbs: 13 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 4 g)
Protein: 27 g

Similar to the steak bites, if you're craving poultry protein, the Kids' Grilled Chicken paired with fresh vegetables and a Diet Coke (or water) is actually a solid choice. Not only does it pack 27 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber, but it's also 280 milligrams lower in sodium than those steak bites as well. Adults and kids alike can enjoy this meal.

Desserts

Best: Strawberry Cheesecake, 1/2 serving

Texas Roadhouse Strawberry Cheesecake
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 350
Fat: 23 g (Saturated fat: 12 g)
Sodium: 280 mg
Carbs: 28 g (Fiber: <1 g, Sugar: 21 g)
Protein: 5 g

For those diners who are feeling dessert, there are fewer options to choose from in this category. While I would not call the Strawberry Cheesecake a healthy option, it's a better-for-you option than the others on the list. Splitting this one with a friend is a solid way to ensure you're not going completely over your added sugar totals for the day. These nutritionals are also for the naked cheesecake, which means sans the strawberry and whipped toppings. If you crave a little more sweetness, then ask for some fresh berries on the side, as the strawberry topping has almost two teaspoons of sugar in the half-portion serving.

RELATED: The #1 Healthiest Dessert at 14 Popular Restaurant Chains

Texas Roadhouse Orders to Skip

Worst: Cactus Blossom

Texas Roadhouse Cactus Blossom
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per full order):
Calories: 2,250
Fat: 135 g (Saturated fat: 26 g)
Sodium: 5,000 mg
Carbs: 236 g (Fiber: 19 g, Sugar: 36 g)
Protein: 25 g

Whether you're splitting this starter with a friend or diving into the Full Cactus Blossom on your own, neither option is redeeming when it comes to nutrition. With 130% of your daily recommended values for saturated fat in the full order and 65% in the half order, this fried delight isn't recommended as an everyday addition to your meal plan. While it does have fiber, it's not the way dietitians are encouraging you to eat more of this nutrient. But I'm willing to bet you're not choosing this for that reason, so if you are enjoying this starter with a group, be mindful of the portion you enjoy and fill up on other fiber sources throughout the day.

RELATED: The Worst Appetizers To Avoid at 15 Restaurant Chains

Worst: Prime Rib, 12 oz, with Au Jus, Monterey Jack Cheese&Loaded Baked Potato&Salad with Ranch Dressing

Texas Roadhouse
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 2,090
Fat: 157 g (Saturated fat: 63 g)
Sodium: 4,770 mg
Carbs: 68 g (Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 7 g)
Protein: 106 g

We've exceeded the three-hundredth percentile in this 12-ounce Prime Rib order, and let's make it clear: that's not a good thing. Prime rib is known to be a very fatty cut of beef, and this menu item proves it. With 315% of your daily value for saturated fat and nearly 200% of your daily value for sodium, this menu option is one you will want to tweak significantly if you'd like to enjoy it as part of your dining-out experience.

Worst: Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs, Full-Slab with Mashed Potatoes&Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Texas Roadhouse Fall Off-The-Bone Ribs, Half-Slab, Half Portion
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 1,990
Fat: 149 g (Saturated fat: 52 g)
Sodium: 2,990 mg
Carbs: 42 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 13 g)
Protein: 121 g

If you're eating hungry man style, you may lean into the full slab of ribs with all the fixings (i.e., mashed potatoes and salad). While you may be meeting over 100% of your protein needs in this meal, you're also consuming nearly a full day's worth of fuel and 260% of your daily value for saturated fat. You're better off going halfsies on the half slab and upping the ante with your fiber from fresh vegetables to satisfy your rib craving.

Worst: Country Fried Sirloin with Cream Gravy and Mushrooms, Mashed Potatoes&Side Salad with Ranch Dressing

Texas Roadhouse Country Fried Sirloin Steak
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 1,790
Fat: 129 g (Saturated fat: 35 g)
Sodium: 3,190 mg
Carbs: 102 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 14 g)
Protein: 57 g

Nothing screams comfort food like country-fried steak. With a whopping 3190 milligrams of sodium and 175% of your daily value for saturated fat, the Country Fried Sirloin alone is setting your blood pressure up to work overtime. While no meal will break your health entirely, focusing on fueling ourselves, especially when on the go, with foods that will support an active lifestyle is important.

Worst: Bacon Cheeseburger with Charred Jalapenos, Steak Fries&Salad with Ranch Dressing

Texas Roadhouse Bacon Cheeseburger with Charred Jalapenos, Steak Fries&Salad with Ranch Dressing
Texas Roadhouse

Nutrition (Per serving):
Calories: 1,680
Fat: 112 g (Saturated fat: 32 g)
Sodium: 5,450 mg
Carbs: 108 g (Fiber: 13 g, Sugar: 15 g)
Protein: 65 g

Handheld fans, the Bacon Cheeseburger, unfortunately, is a real no-go. With over two days' worth of sodium in one meal, you'll want to think twice about how you maneuver your eating occasions after enjoying this. Plus, it's also relatively high in saturated fat, at 160% of the daily value. Do yourself a favor, order the grilled chicken sandwich, and share a side of fries with a friend if you're really jonesing to satisfy a burger-like craving.

Remember, at the end of the day, nutrition is about having some flexibility in your daily life. If you find yourself at a Texas Roadhouse and end up having a bit more of one nutrient than you should, don't stress. Instead, focus on fueling your body with balance and nutrition as you plan your other eating occasions that week. Living life with an 80/20 approach to food allows those moments of indulgence to fit in without causing harm or offsetting your health goals.

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