What to Eat at Long John Silver's: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Long John Silver's

Verywell / Christian Alzate

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Long John Silver's is the largest quick-serve seafood restaurant in the U.S. with nearly 900 franchised restaurants nation-wide. The company was founded in 1969 when Jim Patterson, a businessman and restaurateur, was inspired to make fish and chips more accessible to people throughout the country after he enjoyed a delicious meal on the coast. The first Long John Silver's restaurant opened in Lexington, Kentucky. By 1980, the company had over 1,000 locations and in 2019 became an international brand.

The company is best known for its original wild-caught Alaskan whitefish hand-dipped in a signature batter. Diners can choose from either pollock or cod. The batter is made from a combination of primarily wheat flour and cornflour with other seasonings and ingredients. The fish is fried in high oleic canola oil—which provides primarily monounsaturated fats, a smaller amount of polyunsaturated fat, and a very small amount of saturated fat.

Other popular seafood staples such as a fish sandwich, battered shrimp, and crab cakes are also included on the menu. Served alongside the fish, are traditional favorites such as fries ("chips"), hush puppies, coleslaw, green beans, and "Crumblies" (small nuggets of fried batter). Battered chicken tenders are offered for those who don't like fish. Foods that are battered and fried in fat tend to be higher in fat and calories, so you may want to enjoy these items in moderation.

In more recent years, the Long John Silver's menu has grown and now offers healthier items such as wild-caught grilled salmon, grilled shrimp, and baked seafood. They have also expanded the flavor profile to include items such as Baja, sweet chili tacos, or southwest tacos, and grilled seafood rice bowls. You'll also find soups, baked potatoes, rice, and other offerings.

The menu, nutritional data, and information about ingredients and allergens are offered on the Long John Silver's website. However, checking the menu online and trying to determine nutritional values can be tricky. The online menu shows platters and combo meals, while the nutritional information provided is only for each singular component. You can, however, order a single piece of fish (through the Add-a-Piece menu) and choose a side of your liking. If you plan to visit the restaurant and have special dietary needs or nutritional goals, scan this information before your trip to make the best decisions about the menu.

"Long John Silver’s offers a variety of fish, but it does not cater to anyone who doesn’t eat seafood. Many of the options are battered and fried, which makes them high in calories, fat, and sodium. If you are eating here regularly, it’s best to choose baked fish options with a high fiber side dish such as a baked potato and broccoli."

Barbie Cervoni, RD, CDE

Navigating the Menu

Most Nutritious Options
  • Baked Alaskan Cod (Grilled or Baked Seafood)


  • Seasoned Grilled Salmon Taco (Sandwiches and Tacos)

  • Green beans (Sides)

  • Lemon Juice (Sauces)

  • Grilled Salmon (Grilled or Baked Seafood)

  • Unsweetened Silver's Tea (Beverages)

Least Nutritious Options
  • Breaded Clam Strips (Battered or Breaded Fish)

  • Any Grilled Meal or Platter (Grilled or Baked Seafood)

  • Baja Fish Taco (Sandwiches and Tacos)

  • Battered Onion Rings (Sides)

  • Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce (Sauces)

  • Chocolate Creme Pie (Desserts)

  • Tropicana Fruit Punch (Beverages)

If you're looking for the healthiest meal at Long John Silvers, stick with grilled or baked fish and veggies. Add rice if you'd like something a little more hearty. Your best bet is to get a serving of baked Alaskan cod and pair it with a side of green beans.

Battered or Breaded Fish

If you are visiting Long John Silver's for their signature battered fish, you'll have a few options to choose from. Of course, you'll find the traditional battered whitefish, but you'll also find battered shrimp and popcorn shrimp on the menu. In this category, you can also choose a lobster-stuffed crab cake.

In general, these choices are not the most nutritious items on the menu. They tend to be higher in fat calories, although the sodium levels are lower than some of the seasoned items. If you enjoy battered and fried fish, look for a single piece of fish (from the "Add-a-Piece" menu) and consider getting a side dish that is not fried, like green beans.

Most Nutritious Option

The battered Alaskan cod and the battered Alaskan pollock are very close in nutritional value, but the cod edges out the pollock because it is lower in sodium, lower in carbohydrate, and higher in protein. It comes in at 190 calories, 11g fat, 1g saturated fat, 9g carbohydrate, 560 mg sodium, 0g sugar, and 15g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

One order of breaded clam strips is meant to serve more than one person, but if you consume this as an entree, you'll consume substantial fat and calories: 340 calories, 20g fat, 4g saturated fat, 35g carbohydrate, 680mg sodium, 0g sugar, and 10g protein. If you love clams, a bowl of clam chowder might be a better bet as it is lower in calories. If you're watching your carb intake, it is also lower in carbs. But the soup is higher in sodium.

Grilled or Baked Seafood

The items available in this category may vary by location. For example, while the website says that grilled salmon is available, the most recent nutritional information only provides information for grilled salmon that is included in bowls and tacos. The website does state that it is not available in certain co-branded stores and nutritional data is provided in earlier nutrition fact sheets. You'll also notice that the website menu emphasizes meals and platters, but when ordering online you can "Add-a-Piece" and find a single piece of fish there.

Most Nutritious Option

The baked Alaskan cod has 160 calories, 1g fat, 0g saturated fat, 1g carbohydrate, 390 mg sodium, 0g sugar, and 36g protein. It is one of the healthiest items on the menu providing a whopping 36 grams of protein, no saturated fat, very little total fat, and less sodium than many other menu items. It should be noted that (if available) the grilled salmon is another healthy option. It is higher in calories and (healthy) fat than the cod, but lower in sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Long John Silver's does not provide nutritional information for the combination platters, likely because you have the option to choose your sides so nutritional information would vary a great deal. But each meal or platter comes with one or two protein selections on a bed of rice and two side dishes. This might be more food than most people need at one meal. An option is to share a meal or platter with a friend.

Sandwiches, Bowls, and Tacos

Grilled salmon and shrimp are available as bowls or tacos. A bowl includes eight shrimp or one piece of salmon on top of a bowl of rice and topped with sauce and a small bit of shredded veggies. A bowl (280 to 290 grams) is a larger portion size. All bowls are much higher in sodium than the tacos. A taco is smaller (120 to 130 grams) and includes a corn and flour blend tortilla and your choice of seasoned shrimp or salmon, topped with shredded cabbage and lime vinaigrette. There is only one sandwich included on the menu.

Most Nutritious Option

The seasoned grilled salmon taco includes 180 calories, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 21g carbohydrate, 580 mg sodium, 8g sugar, and 16g protein. You'll get a more moderate portion size if you get a taco instead of a bowl. It edges out the comparable seasoned grilled shrimp taco simply because it is lower in sodium and higher in protein.

Least Nutritious Option

For the relatively small serving size, the Baja fish taco is higher in fat than other choices and high in sodium. It has 210 calories, 21g fat, 4g saturated fat, 40g carbohydrate, 1290 mg sodium, 7g sugar, and 13g protein. The fish sandwich comes in at a close second in this category providing 400 calories, 16g fat, 2g saturated fat, 44g carbohydrate, 1230 mg sodium, 7g sugar, and 14g protein.

The sandwich offers relatively little protein (compared to other menu items). It is also relatively high in fat and high in sodium. Since there is no other sandwich offered, you might consider sharing this sandwich with a friend if you're looking for a healthier option and supplementing your meal with a green beans or apple sauce.

Sides

There are many traditional and non-traditional side dishes at Long John Silver's so it is easy to find one that suits your dietary needs and preferences.

Most Nutritious Option

Green beans are the perfect accompaniment for a seafood dish because they are low in calories and provide vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and vitamin K. They have 25 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 4g carbohydrate, 600 mg sodium, 1g sugar, and 1g protein. Another option is a jalapeno pepper. The calories and sodium levels are lower per order but the serving size is also much smaller.

Least Nutritious Option

Not surprisingly, the battered onion rings are the highest calorie side dish and also the highest in sodium. This side also provides more fat than other choices. They come in at 480 calories, 35g fat, 3g saturated fat, 39g carbohydrate, 1330 mg sodium, 3g sugar, and 3g protein. Another less nutritious is french fries. If you want to enjoy the taste of crunchy fried side, get an order of Crumblies and split it with a friend. These fried bits of batter offer no nutritional value but the serving size (and therefore fat, calories, and sodium) are lower.

Sauces

Condiments range from very simple (lemon juice) to quite decadent. You'll find traditional favorites such as tartar sauce and butter to more creative sauces such as Sweet & Zesty Asian Sauce. Sodium and fat calories vary substantially.

Most Nutritious Option

Lemon juice has 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sodium, 5g sugar, and 0g protein. It is the easiest choice for a condiment or sauce, simply because it provides zero calories, fat, or sodium and provides a boost of vitamin C. Lemon juice is also a smart choice because it doesn't change the taste of your food—it just gives it a little zing.

Least Nutritious Option

The creamy garlic butter sauce has 101 calories, 11g fat, 7g saturated fat, 1g carbohydrate, 213 mg sodium, 0g sugar, and 0g protein. Eleven grams of fat and 7 grams of saturated fat is fairly substantial when you consider that the serving size is just one ounce. If you really want to enjoy the taste of butter on your seafood, consider combining lemon juice and butter then splitting the lemon/butter sauce with a friend to cut the fat, calories, and sodium in half.

Dessert

There are only three dessert options on the menu at Long John Silver's. When you look at calories alone, the chocolate chip cookie is the easy favorite as the best choice. But when you consider serving size and nutrients, the cheesecake makes a better selection—but only if you eat half.

Most Nutritious Option

A chocolate chip cookie provides fewer calories, less fat, less sodium, and sugar than the cheesecake, but it is less than half the size. If you split the strawberry swirl cheesecake—coming in at 160 calories, 8.5g fat, 5g saturated fat, 17.5g carbohydrate, 125mg sodium, 11.5g sugar, and 3.5g protein—with a friend (or take half home for later), you'll get a larger portion than the cookie and it makes a smarter option nutritionally. But if you want dessert all to yourself, opt for the cookie.

Least Nutritious Option

The chocolate cream pie has 280 calories, 17g fat, 10g saturated fat, 28g carbohydrate, 230 mg sodium, 19g sugar, and 3g protein. Long John Silver's is not known for its sweet treats. If you're going to indulge, it's probably best to "spend" those calories on the food that the company is known for—fish and chips. Skipping dessert altogether may be the best option.

Beverages

Water is always the healthiest beverage choice to accompany any meal, but it can be particularly good for you when you’re dining out. Bottled water is not offered as an option, but you can generally get it from soda machines. Fast food tends to be high in sodium and the hydrating benefits of water can help reduce the bloating that can accompany a salty meal. If you want something other than water that won’t add extra calories, sugar, or sodium to your meal, you'll have several options to choose from at Long John Silver's.

Most Nutritious Option

Silver's tea (unsweetened) has 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 25 mg sodium, 0g sugar, and 0g protein. If you are going to choose something other than water, this is your healthiest bet.

Least Nutritious Option

Tropicana Fruit Punch or Twister Orange has about 550 calories, 0g fat, 150g carbohydrate, 125 mg sodium, 150g sugar, and 0g protein. Both of them adds about as many calories to your meal as an extra battered piece of fish, but you don't get the benefit of any protein or healthy fats. If you really don't like water or unsweetened tea, consider a diet soda or a small size of a sweetened soda.

Diet-Specific Options

Long John Silver's menu is more limited than many fast-food restaurants that offer meat, poultry, and plant-based foods. So diners who follow diet-specific eating plans may have fewer options at this restaurant. But, you may be able to request an ingredient to be omitted from your order or swapped for another. If you follow a special diet, be sure to read ingredients lists carefully and ask questions if necessary if you need clarification about an item on the menu.

Gluten-Free

Long John Silver's does not offer any certified gluten-free items, but the restaurant does provide an ingredients list on the website. The list indicates items on its menu that contain gluten and wheat. If you are sensitive to gluten or have Celiac disease, review this nutrition information carefully before you order. Even items that you might expect to be gluten-free (such as broccoli cheese soup or clam chowder) are listed as containing wheat as an ingredient.

Keep in mind that just because an item contains no gluten or wheat doesn't mean that it isn't subject to cross-contamination. The batter used to coat the fish contains wheat flour, so foods that are prepared nearby or with shared utensils may also contain wheat. Speak to the staff at your local Long John Silver's to see if there are any foods that may be safe for you to consume if you follow a gluten-free diet.

Items on the menu that do not contain wheat or gluten include:

  • Baked cod
  • Baked shrimp
  • Coleslaw
  • Cut corn
  • Green beans
  • Rice

Low-Carb

If you follow a low-carb diet, the grilled or baked seafood items will be the best choices for your meal. But you'll have to order the grilled shrimp or grilled salmon without the rice or tortilla. If you like battered seafood, the battered shrimp is the lowest carb choice, providing about 5 grams of carbs per serving or about 20% of the calories from carbs. Battered Alaskan pollock provides 16 grams of carbohydrate or about 32% of calories from carbs.

Some lower-carb items on the Long John Silver's menu include:

  • Baked Alaskan cod (1 gram of carbohydrate)
  • Baked shrimp (0 grams of carbohydrates)
  • Green beans (2 grams of carbohydrates)
  • Jalapeno peppers (4 grams of carbohydrates)
  • Unsweetened Silver’s Tea (0 grams of carbohydrates)
  • Diet sodas (0 grams of carbohydrates)

Also, be mindful of the sauces you choose. Some are sweetened and contain added sugars. Lemon juice is your best bet. Cocktail sauce, marinara, sweet and zesty Asian sauce, and sweet and sour sauce will add between 4 and 12 grams of carbs to your meal.

Low-FODMAP

If you follow a low-FODMAP diet, it can be difficult to know what to order when dining out. At Long John Silver's your options may be limited. Wheat is generally not tolerated well on a low-FODMAP eating plan, so battered fish may not be suitable for you. Consider the baked or grilled fish, instead.

There are a few items on Long John Silver's menu that may be suitable for a low-FODMAP diet based on your personal tolerance. These include:

  • Baked Alaskan cod
  • Baked shrimp
  • Green beans
  • Baked potato
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Fries

Diabetes-Friendly

Consider the foods that are lower in carbohydrates if you are managing diabetes and you visit Long John Silver's. Battered fish may be tolerable if you consume a half portion.

  • Baked Alaskan cod
  • Baked shrimp
  • Broccoli cheese soup
  • Green beans
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Unsweetened Silver’s Tea
  • Diet sodas

Low-Fat

Foods on the Long John's Silver menu tend to be lower in fat and lower in saturated fat than menu items that you might find at other fast food restaurants, such as hamburgers, fried chicken, or Tex-Mex fare. For example, battered Alaskan pollock (which is a higher fat menu item providing 45% of calories from fat) contains 10 grams of fat. A typical fast food burger provides 20 to 30 grams of fat or more.

The lower fat menu choices at Long John Silver's include:

  • Baked Alaskan cod
  • Baked shrimp
  • Seasoned grilled salmon taco
  • Seasoned grilled shrimp taco
  • Sweet chili grilled salmon taco
  • Sweet chili grilled shrimp taco
  • Green beans
  • Rice
  • Baked potato (plain)
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Apple sauce

Low-Sodium

If you follow a low-sodium diet, you'll want to look for menu items that provide 140 grams of sodium or less. At Long John Silver's, most of the menu items are well over that limit. However, these menu items are compliant:

  • Baked shrimp
  • Apple sauce

Vegetarian & Vegan

Those who follow a vegetarian diet that includes seafood will find plenty to eat at Long John Silver's. But most vegetarians and vegans avoid fish, so the options will be limited here. There are no salads on the menu and both of the soups include dairy. Your best bet is to fill up on side dishes.

  • Rice
  • Baked potato
  • Japapeno peppers
  • Corn
  • Green beans
  • Onion rings
  • French fries

Food Allergies and Safety

Long John Silver's provides an ingredients statement that identifies major allergens, including egg, milk, fish, shellfish, soy, eggs, and wheat. But not all menu items are included on this list. Be sure to ask staff at your local restaurant if you have an allergy. In some cases, your food can be prepared with certain ingredients left out.

A Word From Verywell

Seafood, such as salmon, is often considered a "healthy" food. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that we consume at least two servings of non-fried fish or shellfish per week to maintain heart health. At Long John Silver's you'll find baked and grilled menu items that can help you reach that goal. The most popular items, however, don't fit into that guideline. But enjoyed in moderation, a Long John Silver's meal—even with the popular battered fish—can be part of a balanced diet.

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Article Sources
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  1. CanolaInfo.org. Classic and high-oleic canola oils. Updated 2007.

  2. American Heart Association. Eating fish twice a week reduces heart stroke risk. Updated May 17, 2018.