Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Texas Roadhouse Food Bad For You?



Short answer

Dining at Texas Roadhouse can be challenging for health-conscious individuals due to the high caloric, saturated fat, sodium, and sugar content in many menu items. While indulging in their hearty portions can contribute to excessive intake in one meal, it's possible to enjoy a balanced meal with careful selection. Opt for grilled lean meats, fresh veggies, and smaller portions to align with nutritional goals. Awareness of hidden sugars and asking for modifications can further help maintain a healthier diet while dining out.



Long answer

Caloric Content and Portion Sizes at Texas Roadhouse

When dining out, especially at popular chain restaurants like Texas Roadhouse, it's essential to consider the caloric content and portion sizes of their menu items. In a society where overeating can be a common issue, understanding what we consume is the first step to making healthier choices.

With a menu known for hearty steaks, ribs, and fried sides, Texas Roadhouse's offerings can be quite caloric. Generous portion sizes—often larger than the recommended serving sizes—can contribute to the consumption of an excessive number of calories in just one sitting. Let's take a closer look:

  • Steaks: Steak entrees at Texas Roadhouse can vary widely in calories. A smaller 6-ounce sirloin might contain around 250-300 calories, while a larger 16-ounce ribeye could pack over 1,000 calories before sides are even considered.
  • Ribs: Their famous ribs, when ordered as a full slab, also contribute a hefty caloric load, potentially surpassing 1,500 calories depending on the preparation and sauces used.
  • Fried Sides: Options like the Loaded Fries or Cheese Fries can add upwards of 1,200 calories to an entrée. Even a seemingly innocuous side dish like steak fries can add several hundred calories.
  • Bread and Appetizers: The complimentary basket of fresh-baked bread with cinnamon butter, while delicious, can easily contribute over 200 calories per roll. Appetizers, such as the Cactus Blossom or Rattlesnake Bites, are often deep-fried and can contain between 500 to over 1,000 calories.

Consider the following guidance from dietary experts: The average adult should consume approximately 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day, depending on factors such as age, sex, weight, height, and physical activity levels. A single meal at Texas Roadhouse could easily approach or exceed these daily recommendations, particularly if multiple courses are ordered.

Research into the impact of portion sizes has consistently shown that larger portions can lead to increased calorie consumption. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that when served larger portions, people tend to eat more without recognizing the increase in consumption (Young & Nestle, 2016). This phenomenon can particularly affect diners at establishments like Texas Roadhouse, where the more-is-better culture is prominent.

For those concerned with their calorie intake, it's beneficial to:

  • Ask for a to-go box at the beginning of the meal and set aside a portion of your dish before beginning to eat.
  • Opt for grilled options over fried foods and choose vegetables or a side salad instead of higher-calorie side dishes.
  • Be mindful of sauces and condiments, which can quickly add extra calories.
  • Share entrees or sides with dining companions to enjoy a variety of foods without overindulging.
  • Monitor appetizer and bread consumption, as these can significantly contribute to total caloric intake.

By being informed about the caloric content of menu items and remaining vigilant about portion sizes, diners can enjoy their experiences at Texas Roadhouse without compromising their nutritional goals or health.

Saturated Fats and Sodium: A Closer Look at the Menu

When dining out, especially at a steakhouse like Texas Roadhouse, it's crucial to be aware of saturated fats and sodium in menu items. These nutrients can impact heart health and blood pressure when consumed in excess.

Saturated Fats: A diet high in saturated fats can lead to increased cholesterol levels, contributing to heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, adults should aim for a dietary pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, that's about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat.

Many of the meats served at steakhouses, particularly fattier cuts like ribeye and prime rib, are rich in saturated fats. Additionally, dishes often come with buttery sides or toppings, further increasing the saturated fat content. Here's a snapshot of the saturated fat content in some popular Texas Roadhouse items:

  • Prime Rib (12 oz) - approximately 11 grams of saturated fat
  • Ribeye (10 oz) - around 10 grams of saturated fat
  • Loaded Mashed Potatoes - about 5 grams of saturated fat
  • Cheese Fries - approximately 14 grams of saturated fat

To make healthier choices, diners can opt for leaner cuts like sirloin or choose grilled chicken or fish dishes, which generally have lower saturated fat content.

Sodium: High sodium intake is associated with increased blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day with an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg for most adults.

Restaurant meals, particularly at steakhouses like Texas Roadhouse, often contain high levels of sodium due to seasonings, marinades, and sauces used to enhance flavor. Here are some examples of the sodium content in common menu items:

Menu Item Sodium (mg)
Grilled Shrimp 1,580
Cesar Salad 1,150
Country Fried Chicken 3,200
Full Slab of Ribs 2,700

For those watching their sodium intake, it is possible to ask for meals to be prepared without added salt, and opt for fresh sides like steamed vegetables.

Being conscious of the saturated fat and sodium content of your meals can help you make more informed decisions while enjoying the dining experience. For a heart-healthy meal at Texas Roadhouse, consider balancing indulgent choices with nutrient-dense, lower-fat, and reduced-sodium options.

It's also important to consider portion sizes, as sharing an entrée or taking half home for later can cut down on both saturated fats and sodium. Always remember to consult nutritional information when available and don't hesitate to ask your server for special dietary requests to tailor your meal to your health needs.

Hidden Sugars in Texas Roadhouse Meals

When dining out, especially at popular chain restaurants such as Texas Roadhouse, it's easy to overlook the sugar content hidden in menu items that don't outwardly seem sweet. Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can be detrimental to our health, potentially leading to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It's important to be aware of these hidden sugars to make informed choices about our diets.

Appetizers: Starting with the appetizer menu, items like Texas Roadhouse's Cactus Blossom or Rattlesnake Bites, while savory and spicy, may contain sugars within their breading or dipping sauces. These items, although not dessert-like in flavor, can still contain hidden sugars that add up quickly before the main course has even been served.

Salad Dressings: Salads might appear as a healthy option, yet the sugars often lurk within the dressings. Texas Roadhouse offers a range of dressings, many of which contain added sugars. For instance, dressings such as Honey Mustard, Ranch, or the House dressing can significantly increase the sugar content of an otherwise healthy salad.

Main Courses: The sugar content in Texas Roadhouse's main dishes may not be immediately noticeable. Barbecue sauce, a popular condiment for ribs and chicken dishes, is often high in sugar. Glazes, such as the Jack Daniel’s or teriyaki used on grilled meats, are also common sources of unexpected sugar.

Side Dishes: Side dishes like the famous Texas Roadhouse Loaded Sweet Potato come with a generous amount of marshmallow and caramel sauce, contributing to the sugar tally. Even sides that might seem benign, like coleslaw or baked beans, are typically prepared with sugars that can accumulate stealthily in one's meal.

Beverages: Don’t forget the sugar that can be present in beverages. Cocktails, sweet teas, and soft drinks offered on the menu are notable contributors to the daily sugar intake. A single sugary drink can contain more than the recommended daily amount of added sugars, as per the American Heart Association guidelines.

It is essential to scrutinize nutritional information, if available, or consult with the serving staff about the ingredients used in dishes. This proactive approach can help manage and reduce the consumption of hidden sugars, contributing to a more balanced diet and better overall health.

To substantiate the advice mentioned above, here are several research-based insights:

  • The American Heart Association suggests that women should not consume more than 6 teaspoons (approximately 25 grams) of added sugar per day, while men should limit their intake to 9 teaspoons (approximately 38 grams).
  • According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a high-sugar diet is associated with a greater risk of dying from heart disease.
  • A study in the British Medical Journal indicated that consuming sugary drinks daily is linked to the incidence of type 2 diabetes, independent of body weight.

Being aware of these hidden sugars is crucial when dining at Texas Roadhouse or similar chain restaurants. By choosing the lower-sugar options and customizing orders to reduce sugar-heavy sauces and dressings, you can enjoy a meal that's more aligned with your health and dietary goals.

Nutritional Value of Sides and Salad Dressings

When considering the nutritional value of sides and salad dressings at any steakhouse, including Texas Roadhouse, it's essential to look at several key components: calorie content, sodium levels, presence of beneficial nutrients like vitamins and fiber, and the types of fats used in their preparation. Sides and dressings can significantly contribute to the overall nutritional makeup of your meal, sometimes adding just as many calories and fat as the main dish.

Caloric Content: Many sides, especially those that are deep-fried or covered in cheese and rich sauces, can be quite high in calories. For example, a serving of loaded mashed potatoes or cheese fries can add several hundred calories to your meal. It's important for individuals watching their caloric intake to be mindful of these additions and opt for lower-calorie choices when available.

Sodium Levels: Restaurants often add significant amounts of salt to enhance flavor, leading to high sodium content. Sides like seasoned rice, onion rings, or certain types of salad dressings can contain more than half of the recommended daily sodium intake in just one serving. High sodium intake is associated with increased blood pressure and risk of heart disease, so those with hypertension or cardiovascular concerns should pay special attention to these numbers.

Fiber and Vitamins: Sides such as fresh vegetables or side salads can offer a good source of dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Steamed veggies, for example, retain most of their nutritional value and are lower in calories and fat. Including these as part of your meal can help balance out the heavier, more indulgent options on the menu.

Types of Fats Used: The types of fats present in sides and dressings also matter. Dishes prepared with saturated fats, like butter or cream, can raise LDL cholesterol levels, whereas those with olive oil or other unsaturated fats could have a more neutral or even beneficial effect on heart health. It's pivotal to inquire about the fat sources in creamy dressings and butter-rich sides to make informed decisions.

Here's a quick reference guide to some common Texas Roadhouse sides and salad dressings with their approximate nutritional values:

Side/Dressing Calories Total Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Fiber (g)
Caesar Salad 430 29 840 3
House Salad (no dressing) 260 17 450 2
Ranch Dressing 300 31 600 0
Butter Glazed Corn 210 5 115 3
Seasoned Rice 250 9 580 2
Steak Fries 320 14 710 4
Loaded Mashed Potatoes 510 23 1200 7

In conclusion, when analyzing the nutritional value of sides and salad dressings, considering these factors and being selective about your choices can help maintain a balanced and healthy diet without foregoing the enjoyment of dining out at a place like Texas Roadhouse.

Healthier Choices at Texas Roadhouse

Navigating the menu at any restaurant, including Texas Roadhouse, can be a challenge for health-conscious diners. However, it is possible to enjoy a meal out without compromising on nutritional quality. When considering what to order at Texas Roadhouse, it's beneficial to focus on menu items that provide a balance of lean proteins, fiber, and healthy fat while minimizing excess calories, refined carbs, and saturated fats.

  • Grilled Seafood: Opting for grilled fish such as salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. The grilled shrimp is another great choice, being low in calories and high in protein.
  • Chicken Specialties: Grilled chicken dishes are preferable over fried versions. Texas Roadhouse offers grilled chicken options that come with a side of vegetables, making for a balanced meal.
  • Steak Cuts: When choosing steak, select leaner cuts like sirloin or filet. These cuts of meat have less saturated fat compared to more marbled options like ribeye or the New York strip.
  • Vegetables and Sides: Side options such as fresh vegetables, side salads without creamy dressings, and jacket potatoes eaten with the skin provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Salads: Salads can be a nutritious choice, provided they are not laden with high-calorie toppings. Ask for dressing on the side and limit croutons, cheese, and bacon bits to control additional calories.
  • Portion Control: Restaurant portions are often larger than what's recommended. Consider splitting a dish or asking for a half-portion if available.
  • Modifications: Don't hesitate to request modifications to your meal, such as cooking a steak without butter or asking for sauces and dressings on the side.
  • Beverages: Choose water, unsweetened tea, or other non-caloric beverages to avoid unnecessary sugar and calories that come from sodas and alcoholic drinks.

When dining out, the methods used in cooking and preparing the food also impact its nutritional value. Look for items that are grilled, broiled, or steamed as these cooking methods do not typically add extra fat or calories.

Study references:

An article published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that making informed choices while dining out can positively impact overall diet quality (Reference: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 116, Issue 4, April 2016, Pages 590-598).

Remember to pay attention to nutritional information provided by the restaurant, often available upon request or online, to help you make the best choices in line with your dietary needs and health goals. Enjoying a meal at Texas Roadhouse can fit into a balanced diet, especially when you arm yourself with knowledge and strategies for making healthier choices.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, Texas Roadhouse offers the possibility to tailor your meal to low-sodium needs. You can request for meals to be prepared without added salt and choose fresh sides like steamed vegetables. It is always advisable to communicate your dietary restrictions to your server when placing your order.

Certainly, you can opt for heart-healthy choices at Texas Roadhouse by choosing lean protein sources like grilled chicken or fish, selecting steamed veggies or side salads as your sides, and avoiding high-sodium and saturated fat items. Additionally, asking for sauces and dressings on the side allows you to control your intake.

To avoid hidden sugars at Texas Roadhouse, watch out for sugar-laden sauces and dressings, opt for unsweetened beverages, and choose simpler sides that do not come with added sweet toppings or glazes. When in doubt, consult with the server about the sugar content of particular menu items.

To practice portion control at Texas Roadhouse, you could begin by ordering smaller cuts of meat, sharing entrees with a companion, or packing half of your meal to go right away. Another strategy is to limit or forgo appetizers and bread, focusing on the main course for your calorie intake.

Ask a question about Texas Roadhouse Food and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased calorie consumption
  • high blood pressure
  • blood sugar spikes

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • increased cholesterol levels
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke

Ingredients to be aware of

  • excessive sodium
  • saturated fats
  • added sugars
  • refined carbs
  • high-calorie dressings and sauces


  • omega-3 fatty acids from seafood
  • lean protein from grilled meat
  • dietary fiber from vegetables
  • essential vitamins and minerals from side salads

Healthier alternatives

  • grilled seafood
  • grilled chicken
  • lean steak cuts
  • fresh vegetables
  • side salads without creamy dressings
  • non-caloric beverages
  • half-portions

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-17-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-17-2024

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