Restaurant Choices

Outback Steakhouse: What To Eat and What To Avoid For Weight Loss

Despite our best intentions, a diet plan can easily become derailed by a night of eating out. Chains like Outback Steakhouse offer convenience, but they also offer up quite a bit of temptation. When striving to lose weight, consistency and mindful eating are key. It isn’t just about counting calories or avoiding certain foods; it is about shifting the focus to what you’re putting into your body and how that can work in your favor. No one should have to fear stepping on the scale after a night out to eat. Keeping up with your goals starts with understanding the best foods for weight loss and how you can incorporate those when eating out.

Outback Steakhouse has long been known for offering up Aussie themed favorites from down-under. Whether it is a well-cooked steak or a blooming onion, this chain is all about grilled comforting classics and flavorful seafood pairings. Unfortunately, not everything on the Outback menu is fit for the diet conscious customer. In fact, there are some foods that you should totally avoid altogether. In the struggle to lose weight, it is key to zero in on individual ingredients or dishes and how those can serve up something healthy on a night out.

What To Eat For Weight Loss at Outback

Image by Michael Rivera on Wikipedia

Grilled Chicken On The Barbie

At Outback Steakhouse, many foods are grilled and cooked fresh to order. That’s a definite bonus. Deep fried foods are inherently less healthy, but even some grilled options are better than others. If you’re looking to stay on track, start with something simple like Grilled Chicken on the Barbie.

Grilled Chicken

Seasoned and wood-fired grilled-chicken is free of breading or heavy carbohydrates. Chicken itself is a key player in losing weight and keeping it off. Not only is chicken low in fat, it is high in protein. Studies suggest that you burn more calories by simply digesting and absorbing protein, as compared to digesting fats or carbohydrates. This gives you a serious edge on nixing fat in all areas of the body.

High protein foods also leave you feeling very satiated and full. You won’t succumb to cravings as quickly, nor will you feel as if you are being deprived. That’s paramount in sticking with a diet long term. A recent study in the Obesity journal also found that grilled chicken can have positive effects on body composition. The reason? Boosting dietary protein decreases your total body fat and abdominal fat, helping to create lean body mass, while boosting your body’s overall energy expenditures during periods of weight loss.

Broccoli and Carrots

Paired with the Grilled Chicken on the Barbie are mixed veggies, such as broccoli and carrots. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli delay digestion and induce a feeling of being full, meaning you’ll binge less while eating. Broccoli and carrots are chock full of dietary fiber. Fiber helps to delay secretions of the hormone that is responsible for hunger pains, known as ghrelin. It is also responsible for preventing spikes in blood sugar by slowing down sugar metabolism. Broccoli also contains calcium. Research suggests that calcium may play a role in reducing the production of new fat cells, stimulating the breakdown of stored fat.

Outback Center Cut Sirloin

Outback has long been known for their perfectly prepared steaks. Unfortunately, not every cut of steak is weight loss friendly. When choosing a steak off the menu, always opt for a center cut sirloin. Sirloin is a very “lean” cut of meat and has just 4 grams of saturated fat and 10 grams of regular fat. Each sirloin steak is packed with around 50 grams of protein, a key player in weight loss and lean muscle mass on the body.

When you replace carbohydrates and bad fats with protein, you help to reduce your hunger hormones and boost the hormones that alert you to being “full.” This leads you to feeling full and satisfied, helping you to lose weight by eating less calories. Studies have also found that lean cuts of meat like a sirloin can have a thermogenic effect on the body, meaning many of the calories in the meat itself are burnt off as your body digests.

Sweet Potato Side

Outback offers several side dish options, but few can beat the sweet potato in curbing hunger and helping you to lose weight. Sweet potatoes are a superfood rich in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber increases the production of hormones, such as cholecystokinin that can help to make you feel full, slow digestion, improve blood sugar, and call for slower eating and more chewing. Sweet potatoes in particular have a type of fiber known as resistant starch that many researchers have found can help to reduce the risk of obesity. In contrast, a regular old baked potato can actually spike blood sugar levels, making you feel hungrier and less satisfied, leading to a greater risk of obesity.

Perfectly Grilled Salmon

Not craving steak? Go for the Perfectly Grilled Salmon meal. Salmon is a very lean protein which is better for the heart and overall health. It takes longer to digest than carbohydrates due to the protein content, meaning you’re more satisfied and less likely to eat in between meals. Salmon is also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health and may even help reduce belly fat.

Studies suggest that the body burns more calories digesting protein than carbs. In one leading research endeavor, scientists fed three groups of volunteers low-calorie diets.  The control group ate no seafood, while the other group ate salmon. Data showed that the salmon eaters lost weight and had lower fasting insulin levels, which is better for overall health and maintaining weight loss long term.

What Not To Eat For Weight Loss at Outback

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Bloomin’ Fried Chicken

To the hungry dieters, the Bloomin’ Fried Chicken can signal like a lighthouse from the harbor. After all, it has chicken, could it really be so bad? Unfortunately, this twist on fried chicken is deep fried until golden brown and served with mashed potatoes.

Breaded Chicken

Fried chicken might not seem very offensive in the grand scheme of things, but when it comes to weight loss, it is extremely high in trans fats. Trans fats develop when regular unsaturated fats undergo the process of hydrogenation.  In deep fried foods, hydrogenation ensues when cooking oils are heated to a high temperature point during the cooking process. This development chemically changes the overall structure of fats, making it onerous for your body to break them down. In turn, this can result in significant health issues and weight gain.

Simply put, fried foods encompass more calories than their non-fried counterparts and can play a noteworthy role in accumulating weight. Many studies have found that trans fats and fried foods can actually alter the hormones that govern appetite and fat storage. Research conducted on monkeys found that, even in the absence of other calories, trans fat consumption lead to a significant increase in fat levels on the abdomen.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes may be a classic comfort food, but researchers at Harvard University also found that they’re a good way to pack on the pounds. The study discovered that most mashed potato varieties are mashed with butter, which was found to cause more weight gain than throwing back a 12-ounce can of Coca Cola. Spuds prompt a very sudden increase in blood sugar levels. This causes the pancreas to kick it into overdrive to try and bring those levels back down. As your blood sugar spirals, you’ll experience serious hunger, which leads to snacking. Potatoes also pack a lot of calories in a seemingly harmless and small package.

Aussie Cheese Fries

Most of us don’t think twice of adding fries as a side, even if we’re on a diet. Much like the fried chicken above, french fries are drenched in oil, deep fried to a crisp, and loaded with trans fats. They also boast the same ability as mashed potatoes to pack a lot of calories into what seems like a relatively small package. Take those same fries and cover them with cheese, bacon, and ranch dressing. That’s a whopping 117 grams of fat.  Eating too much fat, specifically trans fat, leads to a build up of dangerous abdominal fats and could even lead to heart issues down the line. If you’re looking to lose weight, avoid the fries, and stick with lean cuts of meat and fresh vegetables instead. If you’re craving a healthier side option, go for broccoli or sweet potatoes.

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