Restaurant Eating

Eating out while maintaining a heart-healthy diet can be especially challenging. Most restaurants don’t publish nutrition information, and meals are often incredibly high in saturated fat and sodium… sometimes more than the entire recommended Daily Value for a single meal!

Reading the Menu

When you’re eating in a new restaurant and they don’t provide nutrition info, you can make good choices by carefully reading the menu.

Avoid TheseLook for These
pan-fried
crispy
dipped
scalloped
breaded
cream
alfredo
crusted or breaded
grilled
seared
steamed
baked
roasted
braised
broiled
raw

Steaks

When eating at a steakhouse, some cuts are usually healthier (lower fat) than others. However, seasonings can add a lot of sodium, and sauces can add both sodium and saturated fat. Be sure to check the restaurant’s nutrition info, or ask how the steak is prepared.

Healthy CutsUnhealthy Cuts
Tri-Tip
Sirloin, Top Sirloin
Filet Mignon
New York Strip
Skirt Steak
Ribeye
T-Bone
Prime Rib

Talk to Your Server about Lower Sodium!

Let your server know if you’re on a low-sodium diet! Ask if there are any low-salt options they would recommend, or if it’s possible to leave out the salt while preparing dishes.

Restaurant Reviews & Recommended Meals

Listed below are our recommendations for the best heart-healthy meal choices at popular restaurants.

  • Applebee’s
    If your friends want to eat at Applebee’s – stay home! The majority of meal choices at Applebee’s exceed the total recommended Daily Value for sodium (2,300 mg). Many top a heart-stopping 4,000 mg! Most are also very high in saturated fat. It’s ironic that Applebee’s serves such unhealthy fare, considering that the original name… Continue reading Applebee’s
  • Black Angus Steakhouse ★★★★
    Steak houses often have some heart-healthy choices on the menu, and Black Angus is no exception. See more restaurant meal recommendations. What to Order We’ve listed a few of our heart-healthy favorites.  Our Heart Health SCORE algorithm identifies healthier choices with higher scores. See complete nutrition info for Black Angus. What to Avoid Avoid the… Continue reading Black Angus Steakhouse ★★★★
  • Burger King ★★★
    Fast food is not healthy, but some fast food restaurants offer healthier options than others. We’re pleased with the choices Burger King offers. While not ideal, they’re OK for an occasional fast-food outing. See more restaurant meal recommendations. What to Order Burger King offers two varieties of burgers… their signature Whoppers, and their “regular” burgers,… Continue reading Burger King ★★★
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill ★★★
    Like most Italian restaurants, Carrabba’s has lots of bad choices, but they also have a number of healthy options, especially from the grill. See more restaurant meal recommendations. What to Order The best entrees on the Carrabba’s are grilled steaks and seafood, with steamed vegetables on the side. Our Heart Health SCORE algorithm identifies healthier… Continue reading Carrabba’s Italian Grill ★★★
  • Chick-Fil-A ★★★
    If you are careful, Chick-Fil-A offers several reasonably healthy choices, both as entrées and sides. See more restaurant meal recommendations. What to Order We’ve listed a few of our Chick-Fil-A heart-healthy favorites. Our Heart Health SCORE algorithm identifies healthier choices with higher scores. See full Chick-Fil-A nutrition and allergen information. What to Avoid Breakfast Items.… Continue reading Chick-Fil-A ★★★
  • Eureka!
    Eureka! is one of the least healthy restaurants we have ever reviewed. Most of the meal choices at Eureka! far exceed the total recommended Daily Value for sodium (2,300 mg), and many have more than twice that! Most are also very high in saturated fat. The healthiest burger on the menu, the Veggie Beet Burger,… Continue reading Eureka!
  • IHOP ★★★
    IHOP is known for its breakfast menu, but many of the choices contain more saturated fat and sodium than you should eat in an entire day! See more restaurant meal recommendations. What to Order The best choices are “build your own omelettes” and eggs. For the omelette, stick with Swiss cheese (the other choices add… Continue reading IHOP ★★★
  • Olive Garden ★★
    Olive Garden destroys the idea of healthy Mediterranean food by loading it with saturated fat, carbohydrates, and salt. While their menu is far from the worst we have seen, there are few entrees that could genuinely be called healthy. If you’re looking for a healthier option for Italian food, try Carrabba’s Italian Grill. See more… Continue reading Olive Garden ★★
  • Outback Steakhouse ★★★★★
    Outback Steakhouse has a lot going for it when it comes to heart health! There are certainly unhealthy items on the menu, but the chain has made a genuine commitment to offering healthy choices. They offer a range of meals that total under 600 calories, including many appetizers and desserts. Proteins and veggies can be… Continue reading Outback Steakhouse ★★★★★
  • Texas Roadhouse ★★★
    While not known for healthy eating, Texas Roadhouse offers a number of heart-healthy choices. See more restaurant meal recommendations. What to Order We’ve listed a few of our Texas Roadhouse heart-healthy favorites. Our Heart Health SCORE algorithm identifies healthier choices with higher scores. Download full Texas Roadhouse nutrition information. What to Avoid Starters. Most of… Continue reading Texas Roadhouse ★★★