Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is Outback Steakhouse Bad For You?



Short answer

Eating at Outback Steakhouse is okay if you make informed choices. Dishes like the Bloomin' Onion are high in calories and fat, while the Grilled Chicken on the Barbie offers a healthier balance. Awareness of portion sizes and opting for items like the lean Center-Cut Sirloin or Victoria's Filet Mignon, with steamed veggies instead of heavier sides, allows for a nutritious meal. Frequent dining out may lead to overindulgence, so balancing restaurant meals with home cooking is recommended for a healthier lifestyle.



Long answer

Nutritional Profile of Popular Outback Steakhouse Dishes

When analyzing the nutritional profile of popular dishes at Outback Steakhouse, it's essential to consider factors such as calorie content, macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins), and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Dining out can be a delightful experience, but being aware of what's on your plate can help you make informed decisions that align with your health goals. Let's break down the nutritional content of some signature items.

1. Outback Center-Cut Sirloin: Offering a leaner cut, the Center-Cut Sirloin is a protein-rich option. A typical 6-ounce serving contains about:

  • Calories: 210
  • Total Fat: 7 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 3 grams
  • Protein: 36 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 590 mg

2. Alice Springs Chicken: Topped with mushrooms, bacon, and cheese, this dish is flavorful but heavier in calories and fats. A regular portion provides approximately:

  • Calories: 770
  • Total Fat: 47 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 18 grams
  • Protein: 60 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 14 grams
  • Sodium: 1530 mg

3. Bloomin' Onion: This famous appetizer is a decadent choice, high in calories and fats. For a single onion, which is often shared by several people, the numbers are:

  • Calories: 1950
  • Total Fat: 155 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 45 grams
  • Protein: 18 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 123 grams
  • Sodium: 3830 mg

4. Grilled Chicken on the Barbie: As a healthier grilled option, this dish offers balanced nutrition. A typical serving includes:

  • Calories: 401
  • Total Fat: 7 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 2 grams
  • Protein: 60 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 17 grams
  • Sodium: 960 mg

5. Chocolate Thunder from Down Under: A dessert favorite, it's high in sugars and fats. Be mindful of the indulgence:

  • Calories: 1550
  • Total Fat: 103 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 58 grams
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 139 grams
  • Sodium: 490 mg

Knowing that balance is key, perhaps coupling a higher-calorie entrée with steamed vegetables or a side salad could help mitigate the meal's overall density. On the other hand, if you're treating yourself after a week of disciplined eating, a little indulgence—when enjoyed mindfully and in moderation—can be part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Consider your dietary needs, daily caloric intake, and nutritional goals when selecting dishes. Sharing high-calorie items or opting for half portions could also be smart ways to enjoy the flavors without overindulging.

With regard to sodium content, which can be a concern for individuals with blood pressure issues or those watching their salt intake, dishes like the Bloomin' Onion have substantially high levels. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. Therefore, particularly sodium-heavy dishes might be best to share or enjoy occasionally.

Remember, while the occasional meal at Outback Steakhouse is not inherently bad for you, being aware of portion sizes, preparation methods (grilled vs fried), and the accompaniments included (sauces, sides, toppings) can vastly affect the nutritional content of your meal.

Hidden Calories and Sodium in Outback Meals

When dining at popular chain restaurants like Outback Steakhouse, it's easy to be swept away by the aromatic steaks and the generous portions. However, as delicious as these meals can be, they often come packed with hidden calories and sodium, lurking beneath the tantalizing flavors and appetizing presentations. Let's delve into the implications of these hidden nutritional culprits.

Caloric Density of Popular Dishes

Many of Outback's signature dishes are hearty and rich in flavor. For example, a typical Aussie-tizer like the Bloomin' Onion has far more calories than meets the eye. Dishes like these are often deep-fried or come accompanied by high-calorie dipping sauces. Main courses, especially those featuring red meats and buttery sides, can also be heavy-hitters in terms of caloric intake. Be mindful of the add-ons too—cheese, bacon, and rich cream-based sauces can substantially increase the calorie count of a meal.

Sodium Sneak

Sodium is an essential nutrient, but in excess, it can contribute to health issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Outback meals can be surprisingly high in sodium content, partly due to seasoning blends, marinades, and sauces that enhance flavor but also raise sodium levels significantly. Even seemingly healthier choices like salads or grilled chicken can become sodium pitfalls once dressings and toppings come into play.

Here are some eye-opening facts about the caloric and sodium content of commonly ordered dishes:

  • The Bloomin' Onion has over 2,000 calories and more than 3,800mg of sodium—well above the recommended daily intake.
  • A single Outback Center-Cut Sirloin, depending on size and without sides, ranges from around 240 to 570 calories, but steakhouse sides can double or triple your caloric intake.
  • Even the Grilled Chicken on the Barbie, which seems like a lighter option, packs over 600mg of sodium before you add a side dish or sauce.

Navigating the Menu

To navigate the hidden calories and sodium in Outback meals, consider the following tips:

  • Be sauce-savvy: Ask for sauces and dressings on the side so you can control how much you consume.
  • Opt for leaner cuts: Choose dishes with leaner meat options and ask for your steak to be seasoned lightly.
  • Swap sides: Substitute a steamed vegetable side for fries or mashed potatoes to significantly cut down caloric and sodium content.
  • Split indulgent dishes: Share larger, high-calorie appetizers like the Bloomin’ Onion to cut down on individual intake.
  • Know before you go: Check the nutritional information on Outback's website or app beforehand to make informed choices.

Keep in mind that by being selective with your meal choices and portion sizes, you can enjoy a satisfying dining experience at Outback Steakhouse without overindulging in hidden calories and sodium. Awareness and moderation are key when navigating any restaurant menu, ensuring that a flavorful meal can still align with a health-conscious lifestyle.

Trans Fats and Cooking Oils Used at Outback Steakhouse

When it comes to dining out, understanding the types of oils and fats used in food preparation can be crucial for maintaining a healthy diet. At establishments like Outback Steakhouse, the choice of cooking oils can significantly affect the nutritional value of the meals served.

Trans fats, also known as trans-fatty acids, are a type of unsaturated fat that have been hydrogenated, a process that makes them solid at room temperature. They are known for their long shelf life and ability to withstand repeated heating, which makes them appealing for restaurants. However, consumption of trans fats is linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, as they contribute to the buildup of plaques in arteries and can raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol levels.

Luckily, awareness and legislation have pushed many restaurants, including Outback Steakhouse, to reduce or eliminate the use of oils that are high in trans fats. Trans fats have been largely phased out of the food industry due to these health concerns, and in many countries, there are strict regulations regarding their use. It's worth noting, though, that some trans fats can be naturally occurring in the meat of ruminants, such as cattle, and in dairy products – albeit in much lower quantities than those that were once found in partially hydrogenated oils.

As part of their commitment to better health, Outback Steakhouse has made an effort to use cooking oils that are free of trans fats. The current standard oil for frying and cooking at Outback is a blend of vegetable oils, which typically includes a mix of sunflower, safflower, canola, and/or soybean oil, depending on availability and regional practices. These oils are favored for their lower saturated fat content compared to traditional options like palm oil and partially hydrogenated oils.

  • Vegetable Oils: Rich in unsaturated fats, these oils are considered a heart-healthier option due to their potential to improve blood cholesterol levels.
  • Canola Oil: It contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and is low in saturated fats, making it a popular choice for healthier cooking.
  • Soybean Oil: This oil also contains heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and is one of the few non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

It's important for patrons with specific dietary needs or health concerns to inquire about the types of oils used in meal preparation. Individuals who need to monitor their intake of certain fats, such as those with cardiovascular conditions or inflammatory diseases, should be particularly vigilant.

While Outback Steakhouse's move to trans-fat-free oils is commendable, customers should still be aware of their overall fat consumption when dining out. Even healthier oils can contribute to high caloric intake when used liberally.

Bear in mind that moderation is key. While the vegetables oils used at Outback Steakhouse are a healthier alternative to trans fats, the benefits can be nullified by overconsumption. Healthful eating involves not only choosing better ingredients but also paying attention to portion sizes and preparation methods. If you're aiming for a balanced diet, consider opting for grilled over fried options, and always be mindful of the amount of oil used in your favorite dishes.

Healthier Menu Options at Outback

Embarking on a culinary adventure at Outback Steakhouse doesn't have to derail your health goals. It's all about making informed choices and understanding that even within the realm of indulgence, there are options that can align with a balanced lifestyle. Let's talk about some of the healthier menu options available at Outback, perfect for those who are mindful about their intake yet still want to savor the experience.

Appetizers: While appetizers can be a hidden source of extra calories and sodium, you can opt for:

  • Seared Peppered Ahi – Rich in protein and Omega-3 fats, this appetizer is both nourishing and flavorful.
  • Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie – Choosing grilled over fried starts your meal on a lighter note.

Salads: Outback's salads can be a great way to incorporate fiber and vegetables, but be cautious with dressings:

  • House Salad with Light Balsamic Vinaigrette – Less calorie-dense than creamy options but still zestful.
  • Aussie Cobb Salad without Cheese and Croutons – Focuses on the greens and grilled chicken goodness.

Remember to ask for dressing on the side to control how much you consume, as this can significantly impact the healthfulness of a salad.

Steak: A steakhouse staple doesn't have to be a health compromise:

  • Sirloin – Among the leanest cuts available, offering satisfying protein with less saturated fat.
  • Victoria's Filet Mignon – A smaller, lean option that can satisfy cravings without overindulgence.

Pair these with steamed vegetables or a plain baked potato to build a balanced plate.

Seafood: Outback provides omega-rich seafood that's a lighter alternative to red meat:

  • Perfectly Grilled Salmon – An excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein.
  • Simply Grilled Mahi – Opt for a simple preparation to enjoy the natural flavors and health benefits.

Side Dishes: Side choices can make or break a healthy meal:

  • Fresh Seasonal Mixed Veggies – A colorful and nutritious addition to any meal.
  • Homestyle Mashed Potatoes without Gravy – Stick to the basics to avoid extra calories from creamy sauces or gravies.

Chicken and Ribs: For leaner sources of protein, consider:

  • Grilled Chicken on the Barbie – Skip the BBQ sauce and enjoy this well-seasoned, grilled option.
  • Alice Springs Chicken without Bacon and Cheese – Focus on the mushrooms and grilled chicken.

Beverages: Hydration is key, but calories in liquids can add up:

  • Water, Iced Tea, or Black Coffee – Zero-calorie drinks that can complement any meal without adding to the calorie count.

It's important to remember that portion sizes at restaurants are often larger than what we need. Consider sharing a meal with a friend or asking for a to-go box right away to set aside a portion for later.

Moreover, take note of the preparation methods - words like 'crispy,' 'battered,' or 'smothered' might signal a higher calorie count. Conversely, 'grilled,' 'steamed,' or 'broiled' are your keywords for healthier choices.

Eating out doesn't have to be about strict restrictions; it's an opportunity to apply mindful eating practices. By listening to your body and choosing options that are both enjoyable and nourishing, you can maintain a healthy balance. And remember, it's the overall dietary pattern that matters most for health, not a single meal out. Allowing yourself the flexibility to enjoy these moments can be an integral part of a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

Frequency of Dining Out and Its Impact on Overall Diet

When it comes to dining out, particularly at establishments like Outback Steakhouse, frequency can play a significant role in influencing our overall diet and health. While enjoying a meal out can be a delightful break from routine and a chance to socialize, consistent dining at restaurants may lead to less optimal nutritional choices that can accumulate over time.

Firstly, let's consider portion sizes. Restaurants often serve larger portions than we might eat at home, which can contribute to overconsumption of calories. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that 92% of meals from both large-chain and local restaurants provide excess calories based on daily recommended guidelines. This is often the case with steakhouse meals, which may include large cuts of meat alongside generous servings of sides.

  • Be mindful of portion sizes and consider sharing a meal or taking part of it home for another day.
  • Opt for lean cuts of meat and balance the meal with vegetables and salads.

Next up: nutritional balance. Dining out regularly may mean less control over how food is prepared. For example, a meal might have more salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats than you'd expect. Diets high in these can lead to increased risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Ask how dishes are prepared and request adjustments if necessary.
  • Choose menu options that are grilled, steamed, or baked rather than fried.

An often overlooked factor is the variety of foods we eat when dining out frequently. It's easy to fall into a pattern of ordering familiar dishes, which might limit the diversity of nutrients in our diet. A diverse diet is key to getting the wide range of nutrients our bodies need to function optimally, as supported by research in the field of nutritional science.

  • Try to vary your meal choices to ensure a broad intake of different nutrients.
  • Include a colorful array of vegetables and fruits with your meals, which can be a marker for a variety of nutrients.

Lastly, consider the social and psychological aspects of eating out. The ambiance of a restaurant and the act of dining with others can lead to more leisurely eating and potentially more indulgent choices. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that individuals may eat more when they are with others than when alone.

  • Stay conscious of your eating pace and practice mindful eating, even in a social setting.
  • Savor your food and the experience rather than eating absentmindedly or rushing through your meal.

Overall, the occasional visit to Outback Steakhouse or similar restaurants can certainly fit into a healthy lifestyle. However, the frequency of dining out should be balanced with meals prepared at home, where you have greater control over the nutritional content. By being proactive about your menu choices and how often you dine out, you can enjoy the experience without compromising your health and dietary goals.

Outback's Food Allergen Transparency and Customer Options

When it comes to dining out, individuals with food allergies or sensitivities need to be particularly vigilant. Thankfully, Outback Steakhouse has made strides in ensuring their customers are well-informed about potential allergens in their dishes. This sense of transparency is essential for diners who want to enjoy a meal without compromising their health. Let’s take a closer look at how Outback caters to guests with special dietary needs.

Firstly, Outback provides a comprehensive allergen guide that's readily accessible on their website. This resource details which menu items contain common allergens such as gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, and shellfish. For anyone managing food allergies, such detailed information is critical to making safe dining choices. Furthermore, the guide is helpful for individuals on specific diets, like gluten-free or lactose-free, as it helps identify menu options that align with their dietary restrictions.

  • Allergen Guide: An online resource for diners to check the presence of allergens in menu items.
  • Staff Training: Outback reportedly invests in training staff to handle allergy-related inquiries and food preparation with caution.
  • Menu Flexibility: Outback offers a level of customization for their dishes, allowing guests to omit or substitute ingredients that may trigger allergies.
  • Communication: Guests are encouraged to communicate their dietary needs when ordering, ensuring the kitchen is aware and can take extra precautions.

Outback’s effort to accommodate customers doesn’t end with their online guide, though. The staff at each location is reportedly trained to handle questions about allergens and to take appropriate measures in the kitchen to avoid cross-contamination. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice emphasizes the importance of such staff education in preventing allergic reactions in restaurants. If you have a food allergy, don't hesitate to ask your server about your options and the precautions the kitchen can take to ensure your meal is safe for you.

It's worth noting that while Outback takes precautions to avoid cross-contamination, there is always a risk when it comes to dining in a restaurant with a diverse menu. The best approach is open communication with the service staff regarding the severity of your food allergies or intolerance. Ensure that your server understands your needs so that they can alert the kitchen staff to take necessary precautions.

Finding a restaurant that acknowledges the needs of customers with food allergies and takes steps to provide safe dining options is a huge relief for many. By maintaining transparency about food allergens in their items, Outback Steakhouse shows an understanding of the importance of food safety and customer care.

Lastly, don’t forget to double-check the menu and speak to a server when you visit. Menus can change, and seasonal dishes might introduce new allergens. Proactive communication is key to a safe and enjoyable dining experience for those with food sensitivities.

Frequently asked questions

Outback Steakhouse offers a few vegetarian options like salads and sides of fresh seasonal mixed veggies. To keep it health-conscious, request salads without cheese and croutons, and ask for dressings on the side. For a more filling option, try building a meal with a mix of sides like a plain baked potato and steamed vegetables, keeping an eye on added fats and sodium.

For a low-sodium diet at Outback Steakhouse, request that your dishes are prepared with less salt and choose options like the grilled chicken, which naturally have lower sodium content. Opt for sides like steamed vegetables instead of fries, and avoid high-sodium sauces and dressings by asking for them on the side or omitting them altogether. Monitoring portion sizes can also help control sodium intake.

Incorporate mindful eating practices at Outback Steakhouse by paying attention to hunger cues and savoring each bite. Choose dishes that are both satisfying and nutritious, like grilled salmon or sirloin with vegetables. Avoid distractions such as phones while eating, and engage in conversation to help slow down your pace. Remember to drink water throughout your meal, which can help you feel satiated and prevent overeating.

To manage calorie intake at Outback Steakhouse, start by choosing lean protein options like the Center-Cut Sirloin or Grilled Chicken on the Barbie. Pair with steamed vegetables or a side salad, and ask for any dressings or sauces on the side to control added calories. Consider splitting high-calorie dishes with a dining partner or boxing up half of your entree for another meal to avoid overindulgence.

Ask a question about Outback Steakhouse and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • increased risk of chronic diseases
  • high blood pressure

Ingredients to be aware of


  • protein intake
  • omega-3 fatty acids

Healthier alternatives

  • seared peppered ahi
  • grilled shrimp on the barbie
  • house salad with light balsamic vinaigrette
  • sirloin
  • perfectly grilled salmon
  • water
  • iced tea
  • black coffee

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Desmond Richard
Published on: 03-16-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Desmond Richard
Published on: 03-16-2024

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