What to Eat at Cheesecake Factory: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Cheesecake Factory restaurant awning in Chicago

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Are you a cheesecake lover? If you love the smooth, creamy taste of this decadent dessert, then you've probably dined out at the Cheesecake Factory. In addition to dessert, the Cheesecake Factory has a huge menu that features almost every style of food.

Like many restaurants, food portions at the Cheesecake Factory can be much larger than the average person requires. Adding extra veggies to your plate, sharing large plates with others, and taking leftovers home when you feel full are healthy practices for restaurant dining, especially with the Cheesecake Factory's bountiful menu.

What Experts Say

"The Cheesecake Factory has a plethora of menu options to choose from, some more indulgent than others. Many menu options are high in calories, fat, and sodium due to their large portion sizes. If you are dining here frequently, choose menu options from the Skinnylicious menu or opt for veggie-based small plates, as they are lower in calories and saturated fat. If you feel like indulging, consider sharing your favorite meal and savoring each bite."

Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN

Navigating the Menu

Along with a variety of signature cheesecakes, the Cheesecake Factory also serves pasta, flatbread (pizza), traditional American fare, salads, Asian specialties, sandwiches, "Glamburgers," seafood, and steaks. It also serves weekend brunch with pancakes, waffles, omelets, and eggs.

Small plates, appetizers, and cocktails are available at the Cheesecake Factory, with happy hour deals at certain times of the day. Use the "Skinnylicious" menu to help identify dishes with less than 590 calories. There is also a designated kids' menu.

Most Nutritious Options
  • Bowl of fresh strawberries (Desserts)

  • Burrata with fresh tomato (Small Plates & Snacks & Appetizers)

  • Seared tuna tataki salad (Salads)

  • Margherita flatbread with cauliflower crust (Flatbread Pizzas)

  • Fresh grilled salmon (Lunch Specials)

  • Old fashioned burger (Glamburgers & Sandwiches)

  • Pasta Pomodoro (Pastas)

  • Pan seared branzino with lemon butter (Steaks, Chops, Fish & Seafood)

  • White chicken chili (Specialties)

  • Beet and avocado salad (Skinnylicious)

  • Spinach, mushroom, bacon and cheese omelette (Eggs & Omelettes & Saturday & Sunday Brunch)

  • Kids' grilled salmon (Kids)

  • Arnold Palmer (Beverages)

Least Nutritious Options
  • Chocolate tower truffle cake (Desserts)

  • Factory nachos with spicy chicken (Small Plates & Snacks & Appetizers)

  • Barbeque ranch chicken salad (Salads)

  • Molto Meat (Flatbread Pizzas)

  • Pasta carbonara with chicken (Lunch Specials)

  • Chicken parmesan sandwich (Glamburgers & Sandwiches)

  • Louisiana chicken pasta (Pastas)

  • Fried shrimp platter (Steaks, Chops, Fish & Seafood)

  • Crispy pork schnitzel (Specialties)

  • Chicken samosas (Skinnylicious)

  • Cinnamon roll pancakes (Eggs & Omelettes & Saturday & Sunday Brunch)

  • Kids' macaroni and cheese (Kids)

  • Strawberry lemonade (Beverages)

The overall healthiest meal among Cheesecake Factory's most nutritious choices is the fresh grilled salmon.

Dessert

At the Cheesecake Factory, it only makes sense to start with dessert first. Many of the cheesecake slices contain enough calories to cover an entire day's worth of calories, so it's important to keep that in mind when deciding on your order. In addition to cheesecake, there are also specialty desserts and milkshakes to choose from. Consider sharing with a friend or pairing dessert with a light meal to avoid overeating.

Most Nutritious Option

The most nutritious option for dessert by far is the bowl of fresh strawberries, which is served with whipped cream on the side.

That said, if you're looking for the most nutritious cheesecake option, with about half the calories, a fraction of the sugar, and a decent dose of fiber, the Cheesecake Factory's low carb cheesecake with strawberries is a healthier alternative to the other cheesecakes available. It has 620 calories, 55g total fat, 33g saturated fat, 44g carbohydrate, 11g fiber, 13g protein, and 450mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

The chocolate tower truffle cake has a whopping 1770 calories, 111g total fat, 60g saturated fat, 192g carbohydrate, 20g protein, and 970mg sodium. If you're craving a big hunk of chocolate cake, this won't disappoint, but we'd recommend sharing with your companions or taking some home for another time.

Small Plates & Snacks & Appetizers

The Cheesecake Factory has an assortment of starter soups and salads, along with small plates and share-worthy appetizers. Starting your meal off with some vegetables or protein can provide beneficial nutrition before you even begin the main course.

Most Nutritious Option

With veggies and protein, the burrata with fresh tomato is a filling appetizer to share (serves 2 to 4 people). The full dish contains 470 calories, 35g total fat, 17g saturated fat, 11g carbohydrate, 26g protein, and 340mg sodium, making it a light and healthy choice.

Least Nutritious Option

Even though it's meant to be shared among a few people, per serving, the Cheesecake Factory's factory nachos with spicy chicken is still very high in sodium and saturated fat.

The whole dish contains 2950 calories, 210g total fat, 85g saturated fat, 180g carbohydrate, 88g protein, and 3160mg sodium. That averages to about 1000 calories, 28g saturated fat, and 1000mg sodium per serving, assuming you split it three ways.

Salads

The salads at the Cheesecake Factory provide a hearty dose of fiber and protein. They're an overall filling choice, complete with natural vitamins and minerals provided by the vegetables. However, some options can be very high in saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and calories, making them less ideal than entrees from other sections of the menu.

Most Nutritious Option

The protein-rich seared tuna tataki salad is low in calories but high in nutrients. Between the lean tuna and avocado slices ripe with monounsaturated fats, this salad packs a nutritious punch. It provides 490 calories, 29g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 17g carbohydrate, 42g protein, and 1380mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

The Cheesecake Factory's barbeque ranch chicken salad is a prime example of a salad that isn't as healthy as you might expect. With 2150 calories, 137g total fat, 25g saturated fat, 161g carbohydrate, 66g protein, and 2870mg sodium, the saturated fat and sodium content of this meal make it far from heart-healthy. Consider splitting it with someone else or save half for later if you choose this meal.

Flatbread Pizzas

Part of the lunch menu at the Cheesecake Factory includes cauliflower crust flatbreads and lunch pizzas. Opting for the cauliflower crust usually means you get a little extra fiber, but it's ultimately the toppings that determine how healthy these items are. Add extra veggies and skip the processed meat to keep sodium and saturated fat to a minimum.

Most Nutritious Option

The Margherita flatbread with cauliflower crust has 770 calories, 39g total fat, 22g saturated fat, 60g carbohydrate, 40g protein, and 1480mg sodium. Despite being high in sodium, it's a large and filling portion that doesn't break the calorie bank.

Least Nutritious Option

Because of the processed meat topping and flour crust, the molto meat flatbread pizza has more than double the sodium and 14 additional grams of saturated fat than the Margherita flatbread. This dish provides 1270 calories, 71g total fat, 36g saturated fat, 91g carbohydrate, 66g protein, and 3450mg sodium.

Lunch Specials

The lunch possibilities at the Cheesecake Factory are virtually limitless. Choose from soup and salad combos, scaled-down versions of favorite dinner entrees, and classic lunch favorites, like meatloaf, shepherd's pie, and fish and chips. Go for fresher ingredients over fried foods to help spot the healthier options.

Most Nutritious Option

The Cheesecake Factory's fresh grilled salmon is served with broccoli and mashed potatoes. It has 940 calories, 61g total fat, 19g saturated fat, 47g carbohydrate, 50g protein, and 1456mg sodium.

Although it's high in sodium, it also offers lots of protein and less saturated fat than most other choices on the lunch menu. Swapping the mashed potatoes for a salad can bring the sodium and saturated fat content down.

Least Nutritious Option

The pasta carbonara with chicken is a high-calorie dish with too much saturated fat and sodium to make it on our healthy list. For the lunch portion, you'll get 1640 calories, 106g total fat, 47g saturated fat, 112g carbohydrate, 58g protein, and 2960mg sodium. If you opt for this dish, you may want to pass on dessert or appetizers. Consider splitting it with a friend or bringing half home for later.

Glamburgers & Sandwiches

On the Cheesecake Factory's menu, you'll find a wide range of tasty "Glamburgers" and sandwiches, including interesting combinations like the macaroni and cheese burger and classic favorites, such as the California cheesesteak and Cuban sandwich. For optimal nutrition, keep an eye out for breaded and fried menu items that can carry hidden flour and oil.

Most Nutritious Option

If you're in the mood for a traditional burger, the old fashioned burger is your best bet at the Cheesecake Factory with 990 calories, 60g total fat, 22g saturated fat, 64g carbohydrate, 46g protein, and 1880mg sodium. It's got a decent amount of protein without the same amount of saturated fat you'll find in most of the other "Glamburgers" on the menu.

Least Nutritious Option

The chicken parmesan sandwich has 1960 calories, 191g total fat, 60g saturated fat, 99g carbohydrate, 107g protein, and 3510mg sodium. The American Heart Association recommends aiming for a dietary pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat. If you need about 2,000 calories a day, that works out to no more than 13 grams of saturated fat per day. Choosing this menu item provides nearly five times that amount of saturated fat.

This sandwich also has more than double the amount of sodium recommended in one day, so if you have high blood pressure, it's probably a good idea to choose a different sandwich. Luckily, the Cheesecake Factory has no shortage of options to pick from.

Pastas

The Cheesecake Factory's pasta menu ranges from classic spaghetti and meatballs and fettuccine Alfredo to Cajun jambalaya pasta with a spicy kick. Choosing pasta dishes that incorporate fresh veggies and flavors over creamy sauces or processed meats will help you get the most nutritional bang for your buck.

Most Nutritious Option

The pasta Pomodoro is a simple dish of spaghetti, fresh tomatoes, and basil that contains 1380 calories, 159g total fat, 12g saturated fat, 153g carbohydrate, 34g protein, and 3800mg sodium. Despite its sodium content, this is one of the more nutritious pasta options from the Cheesecake Factory, providing 15 grams of heart-healthy fiber.

Least Nutritious Option

The Cheesecake Factory's Louisiana chicken pasta has 2120 calories, 125g total fat, 65g saturated fat, 168g carbohydrate, 83g protein, and 4030mg sodium. This Parmesan-crusted chicken with pasta and spicy New Orleans sauce provides a day's worth of calories and more saturated fat than the average chicken and pasta dish.

If you want to try this dish, asking for lunch portion brings the calories down to 1290. You could also save half of the dinner portion for a second meal rather than eating it in one sitting.

Steaks, Chops, Fish & Seafood

You might assume that seafood is always healthier than red meat. However, the way a dish is prepared can make all the difference in its ultimate nutritional value. Choosing simple proteins prepared with vegetables, rather than "crispy" fried meats and fish, will help keep your plate as healthy as possible.

Most Nutritious Option

The Cheesecake Factory's pan-seared branzino with lemon butter is a white fish served with fresh veggies and lemon. It provides 880 calories, 71g total fat, 35g saturated fat, 14g carbohydrate, 47g protein, and 1180mg sodium.

While it may be a bit higher in saturated fat and sodium than a fish dish you could prepare at home, for the Cheesecake Factory, it's certainly not a bad choice. Not only does it have a decent amount of protein, but it also has 4 grams of fiber.

Least Nutritious Option

Although shrimp itself is a lean protein, the fried shrimp platter from the Cheesecake Factory isn't quite so healthy. Served with coleslaw and French fries, one serving contains 1920 calories, 104g total fat, 21g saturated fat, 191g carbohydrate, 50g protein, and 3160mg sodium.

Specialties

There's something for everyone in the Cheesecake Factory's long list of specialties. Meals in this section include various chicken meals, burritos, tacos, Asian-style dishes, and southern-style comfort foods.

Portion control is probably the biggest factor when finding moderation in this list. Take your time eating to give your body enough time to register the sensation of fullness and reduce the temptation to overeat.

Most Nutritious Option

The white chicken chili is a hearty dish with lots to like about its nutrition facts. A bowl of this soup provides 590 calories, 16g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 33g carbohydrate, 79g protein, and 2230mg sodium. Along with being exceptionally high in filling protein, it's got 8 grams of fiber and just 4 grams of sugar.

Least Nutritious Option

Served with mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage, the crispy pork schnitzel seems like a relatively balanced meal from the Cheesecake Factory. However, with such a high saturated fat content and 31 grams of sugar, it's hard to recommend it as a healthy choice. This dish comes in at 2030 calories, 140g total fat, 62g saturated fat, 131g carbohydrate, 62g protein, and 2950g sodium.

Skinnylicious

The Cheesecake Factory's Skinnylicious menu includes cocktails, small plates & appetizers, salads, and specialties. To earn the "Skinnylicious" designation, these items have been crafted to provide less than 590 calories each. If you're having trouble deciding what to eat at the Cheesecake Factory, the Skinnylicious menu offers pared-down options where you can't really go wrong.

Most Nutritious Option

The beet and avocado salad is an antioxidant-rich small plate is a great way to start your meal at the Cheesecake Factory. With just 290 calories, 12g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 40g carbohydrate, 7g protein, and 480mg sodium, it offers a colorful mix of fruits and veggies. It also provides 9g of fiber to help regulate your appetite and digestion.

Least Nutritious Option

The chicken samosas may have less than 500 calories, but for such a small portion, they're high in sodium making them a less nutritious option. Overall, this dish provides 480 calories, 28g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrate, 26g protein, and 1330mg sodium.

Eggs & Omelettes & Saturday & Sunday Brunch

On Saturdays and Sundays, the Cheesecake Factory has an extensive brunch menu filled with omelets, waffles, pancakes, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, and more. Finding lower sugar options that are a good source of protein will give you sustained energy for the rest of your day. With so many choices available, you'll have no trouble finding nutritious options.

Most Nutritious Option

Choosing an omelet with some vegetables will give you high-quality protein and a variety of nutrients to start your day. The spinach, mushroom, bacon and cheese omelette contains 700 calories, 57g total fat, 28g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrate, 41g protein, and 1310mg sodium. It comes with toast slices and tomato slices on the side; opt for whole wheat bread for some extra fiber.

Least Nutritious Option

It's hard to believe that breakfast could have more sugar than cheesecake, however, with the cinnamon roll pancakes, that is very much the case. Consuming 137g of sugar first thing in the morning is probably not the best way to start your day. This meal also contains 2040 calories, 110g total fat, 51g saturated fat, 241g carbohydrate, 23g protein, and 2950mg sodium.

Kids' Menu

The Kids' Menu at the Cheesecake Factory has several popular children's dishes like grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken strips, corn dogs, and pasta. Eating out is a great opportunity to expose kids to new foods in a fun setting. Aim for whole foods and steer away from sugary drinks to give your child a healthier plate.

Most Nutritious Option

Served with mashed potatoes and a veggie, the kids' grilled salmon is a tasty, easy-to-chew option that provides healthy fats and protein. One serving has 620 calories, 31g total fat, 13g saturated fat, 49g carbohydrate, 35g protein, and 1550mg sodium. Pair it with white milk or water instead of chocolate milk or soda to avoid extra sugar.

Least Nutritious Option

One bowl of the Cheesecake Factory's kids' macaroni and cheese contains 1160 calories, 79 total fat, 48g saturated fat, 84g carbohydrate, 29g protein, and 2040mg sodium. Without any vegetable ingredients or sides, this dish contains little fiber and is too large for the average child. (A typical serving of pasta is about 1 cup and 200 calories.)

If your kid really loves pasta, a better option would be the pasta with marinara sauce or spaghetti with meatballs, both of which have 40 fewer grams of saturated fat than the macaroni and cheese.

Beverages

The Cheesecake Factory has a huge assortment of beverages from sodas to cocktails and juices to coffee drinks. If you'd like to have a cocktail, picking one from the Skinnylicious menu will keep the calories under 150 per glass. While water or unsweetened teas are always a safe bet health-wise, here's how a couple of other popular Cheesecake Factory drinks stack up.

Most Nutritious Option

The Arnold Palmer isn't a completely sugar-free beverage, however, if you're in the mood for one of the Cheesecake Factory's famous lemonades, this is a good alternative. You'll get about half the calories and sugar than from others like the raspberry or cucumber lemonade.

The Arnold Palmer has 160 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 42g carbohydrate (of which 40 grams come from sugar), 0g protein, and 15mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Despite the fact that it's "made fresh at the bar," the Cheesecake Factory's strawberry lemonade is more like a sweet treat than a hydrating beverage. One glass contains 330 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 87g carbohydrate (of which 81g come from sugar), 1g protein, and 15mg sodium.

If you really like lemonade, consider asking for a kid's portion which would bring the calories closer to 190 and reduce your overall added sugar intake significantly.

Diet-Specific Options

The Cheesecake Factory does not explicitly cater to the majority of special diets on its menu such as low fat, low sodium, diabetes-friendly, vegetarian, or vegan. However, they have several choices that could pair well with these styles of eating.

Gluten-Free

  • Guacamole and chips
  • Factory chopped salad
  • Lunch shrimp with rotini
  • Factory turkey burger
  • Godiva chocolate cheesecake

If you follow a gluten-free eating plan, you'll be pleased to know that the Cheesecake Factory has a long list of selections that are prepared specially for you. While it's always a good idea to inform your server when you have dietary restrictions, choosing appetizers, meals, drinks, and desserts from the gluten-free menu at the Cheesecake Factory will give you plenty of options to consider.

The most nutritious gluten-free choices on the menu include the lunch portion of the shrimp with rotini, one of the gluten-free salads, or one of the Skinnylicious dishes.

Food Allergies and Safety

It can be tough to identify allergens on the Cheesecake Factory menu, but if you have time to plan ahead, there is a useful tool on its website. The Cheesecake Factory has paired with Nutritionix to provide an interactive allergen identifier. Simply click the allergens you hope to avoid and the Cheesecake Factory shows you which menu items are safe to eat.

It's always a good idea to inform your server if you have specific food allergies before you order. While the Cheesecake Factory has a wide selection of allergy-friendly dishes to choose from, it does not guarantee a completely allergy-free cooking environment or the absence of cross-contamination. Always use caution when eating out, especially if you have severe allergies.

A Word From Verywell

For a truly indulgent dining experience, a special meal at the Cheesecake Factory won't leave you feeling hungry. It's OK to choose less nutritious items on occasion, especially if you're eating out for a social event. Ultimately, it's our day-to-day eating and exercise habits that have a much greater impact on our health.

If you're working on making more mindful choices at restaurants, the Cheesecake Factory menu has enough variety to support that goal. Don't feel pressured to eat unhealthy if that's not part of your plan. You can always choose fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins for your meal. Eat what makes you feel your best. Save the leftovers once you're satisfied.

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  1. American Heart Association. Saturated fat.

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