Seafood restaurant chain Red Lobster takes pride in a menu loaded with the lean protein of fish, shrimp, squid, shellfish, and, what else, lobster, of course. The seafood at Red Lobster is batter-dipped, breaded, deep-fried and smothered in creamy and heavy sauces, which somehow defeats the purpose of seafood being healthy and all.
Fortunately, however, Red Lobster has numerous lighter food options from their Lighthouse Menu, touted as delicious “smart meal choices” for customers who prefer to get their protein requirements from non-meat sources. You can choose to have your seafood order broiled, steamed or wood-grilled. Red Lobster has a list of available fresh fish and other seafood varieties daily.
Basic Guidelines When Dining at Red Lobster
Skip the butter and choose the cocktail sauce for dunking your crab legs or lobster in. If you’re limiting your intake of anything with sodium, squeeze some of those fresh lemon wedges on your order. And you can always choose the less caloric sides like the rice pilaf, asparagus, side salad with fat-free or light dressing, and fresh broccoli. Light choices for sauces include cocktail sauce, balsamic vinaigrette or pico de gallo.
Start a meal with shrimp cocktail or some oysters to half-fill you up so you end up eating less. Skip any food that is fried, served with butter sauce or swimming in cheese sauce or mayo. And remember that those cheddar and garlic biscuits have 150 calories each of which eight grams are fat. Ditch the butter and any salt you might think of sprinkling on it.
Do’s and Don’ts When Choosing from the Menu
Seafood per se is healthy and nutritious. It’s the way it’s prepared that adds the calories, fats, sodium, cholesterol, and the other stuff which raise the blood pressure, thicken the waistline, and increase the risk for potential medical conditions such as renal failure from excessive sodium intake. To make it easier for you to make healthy and wise food choices when you’re in a Red Lobster restaurant, read through this shortlist:
Do: have the stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer. While mushrooms are anything but seafood, they are the better option to fried vegetables. Take note that while these mushrooms rate only 220 calories, they do have a high sodium content of 740 milligrams.
Don’t: be deceived by the word “vegetables” in the Crispy Calamari and Vegetables because this happens to have the highest number of calories among the appetizers at 1,390 calories and double the sodium amount of more than 3,000 milligrams.
Do: try the Chilled Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with a calorie count of only 120 calories but with 19 grams of protein.
Don’t: bother ordering the Shrimp Nachos unless you’re willing to consume all 1,290 calories of it. This is nearly all of a day’s worth of the 2,000 calorie intake!
Do: have your fill of the Seafood-Stuffed Fish with a mere 170 calories, 24 grams of which is protein. Not only is this filling but a guilt-free choice as well.
Don’t: think of ordering the Crab Linguini Alfredo made with refined pasta and a sauce of heavy cream. A full serving of this is 1,580 calories with 3,500 milligrams of sodium, a double figure of a day’s overall sodium intake.
Do: consider the Steamed Live Maine Lobster with only 520 calories for a 1¼ pound crustacean inclusive of potatoes and corn. Because it’s steamed, you get all the nutrients, vitamins, and trace minerals from lobster.
Don’t: be tempted by the rich combination of creamy sauce and delectable seafood with al dente linguini because you’re going to pay for it by acquiring all 1,360 calories of it.
Do: choose salmon and have it grilled. At 190 calories, salmon is one of the best food choices you can give your cardiovascular system because of its high content of Omega 3-essential fatty acids.
Don’t: settle for the Beer Battered Walleye Fish no matter how enticing it sounds or how scrumptious it looks. Remember that any food with “beer batter” in its description is loaded with fat from the deep frying it underwent and this item is no exception because of the additional 530 calories that go with it.
Those Controversial Cheddar Biscuits
And of course the Cheddar Biscuits have to be discussed. Considered as one of Red Lobster’s specialties, these biscuits are served with each and every meal. Before popping one in your mouth, read the nutritional facts about it and how the ingredients can be to your health’s benefit or detriment.
At 150 calories each, a single biscuit serving can equal around 7.5% of the total number of calories you could consume in a day. Don’t forget that calories which are not burned are stored automatically as fat. One Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit has a total fat content of eight grams, 2.5 of which is saturated fat.
One biscuit also contains sodium at 350 milligrams – representing 14.5% of the maximum intake of 2,400 milligrams a day — and if you don’t get contented with eating just one biscuit, well, you know how it ends, take your pick from a stroke, hypertension or a massive coronary.
As to the carbohydrates, the biscuit’s flour base adds to the overall carbohydrate content of 16 grams per biscuit. And if you can’t eat just one biscuit, well, you know the drill. Check out https://www.redlobster.com to view all of the nutritional facts for the food items on Red Lobster’s menu.