Red Lobster uses a combination of both wild-caught and farm-raised fish and seafood on its menu in an attempt to become more environmentally-friendly. While this is refreshing news, we’d like to point out that not everything on their menu is good for you.
Endless shrimp and cheddar bay biscuits are two reasons why you might want to avoid coming here and enjoy a meal at home instead.
However, if you find yourself in need of food or you can’t get out of a social obligation happening at Red Lobster, then follow our tips for ordering low-carb so you can maintain your ketogenic diet.
Tips For Ordering at Red Lobster
Franchises aren’t always good at serving up fresh, healthy food. This is challenging if you have special dietary needs, such as most people do with the low-carb or ketogenic diet.
For this reason, we recommend eating at home and cooking your own ketogenic meals using our recipes and meal plans on our website. This will ensure that you’re eating high-quality foods and safe ingredients with no hidden sugars that might sabotage your diet.
Remember that eating low-carb isn’t the same as eating ketogenic. You might be able to find a dish on the menu that is low-carb by general standards but still contains too much protein or too many carbs to be ketogenic.
If you’re forced to eat at Red Lobster or can’t get out of it, then we recommend custom-ordering your dish. Red Lobster has a lot of made-to-order dishes on its menu, such as their create-your-own lunch option.
Here are some other tips for keeping it low-carb at Red Lobster.
#1. Try the lobster, crab, or steak
We like that the lobster and crab at Red Lobster are wild-caught, which means that it’s less likely to contain chemicals and other harmful ingredients.
A three-ounce serving of crab contains 98 calories, 1.3 grams of fat, 0 carbs, and 20.2 grams of protein which is great when you’re on a low-carb diet.
The same goes for lobster. A three-ounce serving contains 83 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 1.1 grams of carbs, and 17.4 grams of protein. These numbers are fine when you’re trying to keep your carb count down.
On the other hand, a three-ounce serving of steak contains 174 calories, 8.6 grams of fat, 0 grams carbs, and 22.7 grams of protein. Not only will a steak fill you up better than lobster or crab, but it also contains more fat. And since fat is the driving force behind the ketogenic diet, you’ll be doing your body a favor by increasing your fat metabolism.
Red Lobster features a few different steak dishes. We like the six-ounce filet mignon, which is seasoned with peppercorn seasoning and cooked on a wood-fired grill. Get it with a side of steamed broccoli and hold the mashed potatoes.
#2. Try a meat and vegetable dish
Red Lobster used to have an interactive menu on their website that allowed you to customize your meals and it would spit out the macros for each dish. They don’t have this anymore. They also used to have a nutrition calculator, but they don’t offer this either.
For example, nutrition calculator used to state that the wood-grilled shrimp and sirloin dish with seasonal fresh broccoli and a garden salad contains 730 calories, 31 grams of fat, 46 grams of carbs (37 grams net carbs), 9 grams of fiber, and 67 grams of protein.
You can drop the carbs on this dish from 37 net carbs to 32 net carbs by eliminating the broccoli. This would also bring your total calories down to 690 for the entire dish.
We noticed that the fresh seasonal broccoli and asparagus side dishes may contain soy, based on the nutrition information that Red Lobster used to have. You might want to ask to have these low carb vegetables steamed without any seasoning to make sure you’re not ingesting more harmful ingredients than you need to.
Here is a list of the top foods that are lowest in carbs at Red Lobster:
- Live Maine Lobster (0 grams carbs)
- Wild caught snow crab legs (0 grams carbs)
- Fresh wood grilled tilapia (<1 gram carbs)
- Oven broiled wild caught whitefish (1 gram carbs)
- Cod (<1 gram carbs)
- Grouper (<1 gram carbs)
- Halibut (<1 gram carbs)
- Opah (<1 gram carbs)
- Grilled shrimp (0 grams carbs)
- Bay Scallops (1 gram carbs)
- Snapper (<1 gram carbs)
- Perch (<1 gram carbs)
- Haddock (<1 gram carbs)
- Rock Redfish (<1 gram carbs)
- Salmon (<1 gram carbs)
- Sole (<1 gram carbs)
- Gulf Snapper (<1 gram carbs)
#3. Use melted butter as needed
Red Lobster serves up their lobster and crab dishes with 100 percent pure melted butter. This is great because it increases the fat content of crab and lobster to make your dish more ketogenic-friendly. You can even ask to have your chicken or steak cooked in butter in place of cheap vegetable oils.
They also have sour cream. This would also be good on top of a steak with some herbs or added to a piece of chicken to improve the taste, keep your meat flavorful, and increase the fat content while keeping your carbs down.
#4. Ask what the catch of the day is
Red Lobster offers a “today’s catch” that changes daily based on your location. This can be a good way to enjoy some fresh fish. Ask whether it’s farm-raised or wild-caught. Generally, wild-caught fish is lower in additives and chemicals than farm-raised, so it’s the healthier option.
Organic fish is another good way to go. Just be sure to get your fish broiled or baked and not fried. Also, get a low-carb side to go with it, such as steamed broccoli or asparagus, and stay away from the potatoes or beans. You can’t go wrong with a side salad with oil and vinegar either.
What To Order at Red Lobster
We’ve gone through the entire menu at Red Lobster and broken down which dishes are safe to eat and which ones are better left avoided. Here are your best options.
Lobsterfest and Feasts (order these with green beans, broccoli or a Caesar salad minis the croutons as your side dishes)
- Lobster Lover’s dream (hold the linguini)
- Lobster, shrimp, and salmon
- Ultimate surf and turf
- Ultimate endless shrimp (make sure the shrimp is not breaded)
- Ultimate feast (hold the Walt’s favorite shrimp or ask to have it grilled instead of fried; choose broccoli as your side instead of rice; hold all dipping sauces or ask for butter)
Appetizers and Party Starters
- Signature shrimp cocktail (ask for a side of butter in place of cocktail sauce to dip these in)
- White wine and roasted garlic mussels (only get this dish if you can get the mussels without the sauce; hold the bread)
- Bacon wrapped jumbo sea scallops (make sure the scallops are not breaded)
Lunch Options (bowls and sandwiches)
- Classic Caesar salad with chicken (hold the croutons; you can also get this with shrimp or salmon but make sure it’s grilled or oven-baked)
- Loaded Caesar salad bowl (only order this dish if you can get the chicken tenders grilled and not breaded)
- Wagyu bacon cheese burger (hold the bun and order this with green beans, broccoli, or a Caesar salad with no croutons instead of fries)
- Salmon New Orleans (ask for broccoli or asparagus as your side dish in place of rice or potatoes)
- Wild-Caught snow crab legs (order with steamed vegetables or a Caesar salad as your sides)
- Today’s Catch – salmon, mahi-mahi or rainbow trout (make sure the fish is NOT breaded and comes with steamed vegetables instead of rice or fries; you can also get a side Caesar salad with no croutons)
- Grilled chicken tenders dinner (order this with green beans, broccoli, or a side Caesar salad without croutons)
For all steak dishes, hold the mashed potatoes and get a double order of broccoli, asparagus, or a side salad with oil and vinegar dressing:
- Six-ounce filet mignon
- New York strip and rock lobster tail
- Seven-ounce sirloin
- 12 ounce New York Strip
- Wood-grilled shrimp and sirloin
Bonus tip: order all shrimp dishes with melted butter instead of traditional dipping sauce.
Foods To Avoid at Red Lobster
There are plenty of dishes at Red Lobster that you are better off avoiding because just like most fast food options, they contain too many carbs either in the sauce, breading or seasoning, and cannot be easily customized.
We recommend avoiding the following dishes and sticking with something on the list above.
- Buffalo chicken wings
- Fried oysters
- Batter fried crawfish
- Parrot Isle jumbo coconut shrimp
- Peppercorn-panko calamari
- Sweet chili shrimp
- Mozzarella cheese sticks
- Seaside sampler
- Langostino lobster-artichoke-and-seafood dip
- Lobster and Langostino pizza
- Seafood stuffed mushrooms (because the menu doesn’t list what’s in the signature seafood stuffing, we cannot recommend this dish!)
- Loaded seaside fries
- Shrimp potstickers
- Chilled lobster and shrimp roll
- Dragon broccoli
- Crab and avocado melt
- Mediterranean shrimp bowl
- Sesame soy salmon bowl
Lunch and Dinner:
- Endless shrimp
- Southwest style tacos
- All soups
- Chilled lobster and shrimp rolls and fries
- Sailor’s platter
- Shrimp, crab, lobster, or chicken linguini alfredo
- Hand-breaded shrimp
- Crunchy popcorn shrimp
- Admiral’s feast
- Walt’s favorite shrimp
- Seaside shrimp trio
- Dragon shrimp
- Snow crab legs
- Lobster macaroni and cheese
- Parrot Isle Jumbo coconut shrimp
- Crispy shrimp
- Fried sole (this would be OK if you can get it steamed, broiled, or baked)
- Bay harbor lobster bake
- Date night feast for two (you can get this if you order it without the mac and cheese and ask for lobster tail that isn’t breaded; choose green beans, broccoli, or Caesar salad as sides)
- Lobster linguini
- King Pao noodles with crispy lobster
- All desserts
- All sweetened beverages or alcoholic drinks
Red Lobster offers a wide variety of seafood dishes, which sounds tasty and easy to accommodate on a low-carb diet. But keep in mind that eating at home using high-quality ingredients is always better than eating out.
The options at Red Lobster can be overwhelming because there are so many different ways to prepare your shrimp. Always ask for grilled, broiled, or oven-roasted meat and seafood instead of fried.
Red Lobster serves 100 percent pure melted butter, so don’t be afraid to add this to your dishes for a healthy fat boost. Lastly, make sure you ask for no sauce on your meats and stick to broccoli or asparagus as your side dishes. A side salad with oil and vinegar dressing is also a good choice.
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