Deep-fried, massive, and served with a creamy sauce, Outback Steakhouse’s famous Bloomin’ Onion is arguably the Australian-inspired restaurant chain’s most famous menu item, but it’s certainly not its healthiest. If you’re trying to put together a more nutritionally-dense meal at Outback Steakhouse beyond a gigantic deep-fried onion, the best method is to create your own meal.
Blanca Garcia, RDN, a registered dietitian at Health Canal, recommends going against any of the suggested meal combinations on the restaurant chain’s menu, and instead cobbling together your own large meal with several dishes, based on some of the restaurant’s more health-minded options. This could include the six ounce Outback Center Cut Sirloin, a Caesar salad with dressing served on the side, chicken tortilla soup and a side of grilled asparagus. Garcia says that altogether the calorie total for this meal would wind up at around 820 calories.
“Choosing each food item independently can help you determine the choices with the least amount of calories,” Garcia says. “This meal isn’t a combo easily ordered, it’s a combination of choices based on low calories as well as low-fat content.”
In fact, for any restaurant-goer looking to make the healthiest choice when ordering, Garcia says that any combo meal on the menu should be avoided, as they typically are some of the unhealthiest options at restaurant chains.
“Completely avoid combo meals,” Garcia says. “These meals will often be the highest in calories and saturated fats and lowest in veggies.”
To add a drink to the meal, Garcia suggests ordering an orange juice, at just 90 calories, if you’re looking for something to drink other than water, which is the healthiest beverage option by far.
In order to make the meal the healthiest that it can be, while still remaining filling, Garcia recommends getting rid of one of the carb options, in a meal that’s already filled with plenty of them.
“To make it even healthier, you can remove the mashed potatoes,” Garcia says. “Since the Caesar salad and the soup already come with some carbs, you really don’t need the mashed potatoes.”
While it may be trickier to choose a steak and a side, along with the Caesar salad and soup for dinner versus one of the menu’s combination items, the health benefits will be worth it, as the dish is lower in calories as well as fat, according to Garcia.