10 Texas Roadhouse Healthy Options for Athletes
Texas Roadhouse is a popular steakhouse restaurant chain that athletes and sports teams frequently enjoy for post-game meals. It can be helpful for athletes to know ideas for healthy options on the Texas Roadhouse menu that can support their sports nutrition needs.
Let’s take a look at ideas for making nutritious choices when dining at a steakhouse. We will then explore the Texas Roadhouse menu to identify healthy options for athletes.
How to Make Healthy Choices at a Steakhouse
Before looking at the Texas Roadhouse menu, let’s review some general tips for making healthy choices when eating at a steakhouse.
Select Lean Protein Entrees
When selecting cuts of beef or pork items from the menu, it can be helpful to look for the word “loin” or “round” in the name. Typically, these cuts of meat are leaner options.
For example, top sirloin, tenderloin, pork loin, top round steak, or eye of round steak will be leaner cuts of meat, than a T-bone, porterhouse, or New York strip steak.
Chicken breasts and turkey (without skin), as well as seafood and fish are all lean sources of protein that athletes can enjoy with their meals.
Athletes following a vegetarian or vegan diet can add beans, edamame, tofu, and plant-based protein burgers, as well as cheese to their meals to help meet their protein needs.
Limit Fried Foods
Choose appetizers, entrees, and side items that are grilled, baked, roasted, or steamed over items that are deep-fried. Deep-frying increases the saturated fat content of the menu item, making it a less healthy option.
For example, choose a sirloin steak over a chicken fried steak, grilled chicken over fried chicken strips, and a baked potato instead of French fries.
Order the Sauce on the Side
It is common at steakhouses for entrees to come topped with sauces, such as cream gravy, queso or cheese sauce, mushroom sauce, butter, or peppercorn sauce. It is best to request the sauce be served on the side so you can control the amount added to your meal.
The same applies to salads; request the salad dressing be served on the side so you can limit the amount added to your salad.
Choose Healthy Sides
Steakhouses frequently offer a variety of healthy side options athletes can select from to accompany their meals. Look for items on the menu such as fresh steamed vegetables, side salads, fruit cups, applesauce, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice, which are all great choices.
Be Aware of Portion Sizes
When eating out, be mindful of portion sizes. Often restaurants serve large portion sizes that may exceed your nutrition needs in a single meal. It is best to enjoy your meal in moderation and then have a healthy, balanced snack later in the day when you get hungry.
At steakhouses, the amount of protein served with the meal is often quite large. In general, athletes should aim to eat ~0.25 grams of protein per kg of body weight at each meal. This amount of protein will optimally stimulate muscle protein synthesis in the body (1).
For reference, this calculates to be in the range of 20-40 grams of protein per meal (1), with larger athletes needing more protein than smaller athletes.
While athletes can consume and digest more than this amount of protein in one meal, they may be better off balancing out their meal with more carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.
Hydration is important for an athlete’s health as well as sports performance. At steakhouses, choose water, unsweet tea, low-fat milk, or 100% fruit juice over sodas, lemonade, sweet tea, alcoholic beverages, and other sugar-sweetened drinks.
Healthy Choices for Athletes at Steakhouses
Athletes looking for healthy options at steakhouses should focus on meals that provide a good source of carbohydrates, a moderate amount of lean protein, as well as healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.
Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy needed to perform at its best, while protein is important for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, supporting an athlete’s health and well-being.
10 Texas Roadhouse Healthy Options for Athletes
Now that you have some general ideas for making healthy choices at steakhouses, let’s explore the Texas Roadhouse menu to identify healthy options for athletes.
All the nutrition information included in this article comes from the Texas Roadhouse® website. Menu options and nutrition information may change as products are updated. For the most current nutrition information, refer to the Texas Roadhouse® website.
Texas Roadhouse Healthy Appetizer Options
Texas Roadhouse is known for their freshly-baked bread, served hot to the table. The bread can be an easy way for athletes to add carbohydrates to their meal (28 grams per piece).
However, athletes should be mindful not to fill up on the bread before the meal. In addition, athletes should limit the amount of honey cinnamon butter used on the bread, as this can quickly increase the saturated fat content of the meal.
#1 Texas Red Chili with Beans
Ordering a cup of the Texas Red Chili with Beans is a great appetizer option for athletes. The chili with beans provides both carbohydrates and protein, thus supporting an athlete’s post-workout nutrition needs.
A cup of the Texas Red Chili with Beans provides 16 grams of protein, 14 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of fiber.
#2 House Salad
The house salad is a good option for athletes to start their meal with. The salad is topped with hardboiled eggs and cheddar cheese, providing 13 grams of protein.
Choose a salad dressing that is lower in saturated fat, such as the Honey French, Honey Lime, or Low-Fat Ranch. Also, consider ordering the salad dressing on the side so you can control the amount added.
Texas Roadhouse Healthy Entrée Options
#3 USDA Choice Sirloin
The 6-oz USDA Choice Sirloin is a high-protein option for athletes who would like to enjoy a steak for their meal. The 6-oz sirloin provides 46 grams of protein and only contains 2.5 grams of saturated fat. The sirloin is a leaner cut of meat than the ribeye, New York strip, or Porterhouse T-bone steaks.
#4 Grilled BBQ Chicken
The marinated and grilled BBQ chicken breast is a good choice for athletes at Texas Roadhouse. The chicken provides 46 grams of protein and 1 gram of saturated fat.
When planning meals for teams, I find BBQ sauce is often a favorite amongst athletes. Thus, this entrée option at Texas Roadhouse definitely caught my eye as a meal that would appeal to athletes and support their sports nutrition needs.
#5 Herb Crusted Chicken
Another lean, grilled chicken option at Texas Roadhouse is the herb crusted chicken, which is marinated and seasoned with a variety herbs and spices.
The herb crusted chicken provides 47 grams of protein and 1 gram of saturated fat. This chicken entrée is higher in sodium (1,210 mg sodium) than the grilled BBQ chicken (450 mg).
Following a workout, athletes need to replace both the fluid and sodium lost in sweat. Consuming foods that contain sodium with the post-game meal can support athletes with meeting these recovery nutrition needs.
However, athletes who have been advised to limit their sodium intake should be mindful of the sodium content of the herb crusted chicken breast.
#6 Grilled Salmon
Texas Roadhouse offers grilled salmon as an entrée choice, which is a great way for athletes to add both protein and omega-3 fatty acids to their meal.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids because the body cannot produce them. They have many important roles in the body, such as supporting optimal brain health, cardiovascular function, and working to help reduce inflammation (2).
The 5-oz grilled salmon at Texas Roadhouse provides 27 grams of protein, while the 8-oz grilled salmon provides 45 grams of protein. Athletes should request the lemon pepper butter be served on the side. Limiting the amount of butter added to the salmon, will decrease the saturated fat content of the meal.
#7 BBQ Chicken Sandwich
The BBQ chicken sandwich at Texas Roadhouse is a good choice for athletes, providing both carbohydrates and protein. The sandwich contains 55 grams of protein as well as 63 grams of carbohydrates. It should be noted that similar to the herb crusted chicken, the BBQ chicken sandwich is high in sodium (1,310 mg).
#8 Grilled BBQ Chicken & Sirloin
The grilled BBQ chicken & sirloin plate is a good option for athletes who desire both chicken and steak with their meal. The meal provides 92 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of saturated fat.
Given the high protein content of the meal, athletes could easily enjoy half of the meal at the restaurant and take the other half home to enjoy at a later time.
Texas Roadhouse Healthy Side Options
#9 Baked Potato or Sweet Potato
The baked potatoes and sweet potatoes are both high-carbohydrate, healthy side options at Texas Roadhouse. In addition to carbohydrates, baked potatoes provide fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, along with other vitamins and minerals. Sweet potatoes contain fiber, Vitamin A, and antioxidants, making them a healthy choice for athletes.
Athletes should request the toppings for both the baked potatoes and sweet potatoes be served on the side so they can control the amount added. In addition, they can consider using Texas Red Chili as a potato topping to increase the protein content of the side item.
#10 Vegetable and Fruit Sides
Texas Roadhouse offers a variety of vegetable and fruit side items that can make a healthy addition to an athlete’s meal. When ordering the vegetables, athletes should ask for the lemon pepper butter to be omitted or served on the side.
Healthy Side Options at Texas Roadhouse Include:
- Fresh vegetables
- Green beans
- Steamed broccoli
- Sauteed mushrooms
Texas Roadhouse Gluten-Free Options
Athletes following a gluten-free diet can find a variety of gluten-friendly menu options to support their nutrition needs at Texas Roadhouse. Of the healthy Texas Roadhouse menu items discussed above, the following items are listed as not containing gluten:
- USDA choice sirloin
- Grilled BBQ chicken
- Herb crusted chicken
- Grilled BBQ chicken & sirloin
- Grilled salmon
- Baked potato, sweet potato
- Applesauce, fresh vegetables, green beans, sauteed mushrooms
It is important to note that while the menu items do not contain gluten, Texas Roadhouse shares on their website that cross-contact with food containing gluten is possible during food preparation. Thus, Texas Roadhouse cannot guarantee that any of the menu items are completely free of gluten or other allergens.
Texas Roadhouse Healthy Options for Athletes
You are now set with a variety of menu options that athletes can enjoy at Texas Roadhouse to support their sports nutrition needs.
For additional dining out tips for athletes, check out my blog on healthy options at Maggiano’s Italian Kitchen.
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About the Author
Mandy is a Sports Dietitian Nutritionist in the San Antonio, TX area. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Licensed Athletic Trainer, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Mandy has experience working with athletes at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. She believes the key to reaching one’s full potential, both in everyday life and in sports performance, relies on a healthy nutritional foundation. Learn more about the work Mandy does here.