What to Eat at Red Lobster: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Surf and turf: dinner of steak, lobster tail
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Since 1968, Red Lobster has been the go-to casual dining seafood restaurant for people looking for something besides the typical American burger, taco, or pizza joints. At Red Lobster you’ll find a wide range of popular fish and shellfish, as well as plenty of “land lover” fare like steak, chicken, pasta dishes.

Many types of seafood can be healthy meal options whether you’re dining out or at home. You’ll find some nutritious options on Red Lobster menu, though you’ll want to keep track of portion size. Evaluating your main meal selection and side dishes separately will also help, as some sides and additions like sauces provide more calories than entrees.

Red Lobster offers an interactive menu online which you can use to view the nutrition data for individual menu items or combo meals. Checking the nutrition of Red Lobster’s menu and estimating the calories of your order before you go can help you plan on a meal that’s in line with your dietary needs, preferences, and goals.

You can also arrange the menu according to a specific nutritional feature. For example, if you’re looking for a low sodium meal, click the "Sodium" tab and sort from lowest to highest. You can also click on "More Info" for any menu item to see a full nutrition facts label, ingredients list, and allergen information.

What Experts Say

“Red Lobsters menu varies considerably with regard to vegetable servings, portions, and sodium levels, with some meals providing more than a day’s worth of sodium. If you eat here on a regular basis, opting for the lower sodium choices and adding a side of veggies can help maintain daily balance.”

— Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Navigating the Menu

Most Nutritious Options

  • Shrimp Cocktail

  • Shrimp Potstickers

  • Manhattan Clam Chowder 

  • Side Garden Salad

  • Oven-Broiled Flounder

  • Broiled Bay Scallops 

  • 6-oz Filet Mignon 

  • Grilled Chicken 

  • Shrimp Linguini Alfredo 

  • Seasoned Broccoli 

  • Surf’s Up Sundae 

  • Perrier Sparkling Water

Least Nutritious Options

  • Lobster-Artichoke-Seafood Dip

  • Loaded Seasoned Fries

  • Lobster Bisque

  • Caesar Salad with Lobster

  • Fish & Chips

  • Admiral’s Feast

  • Rock Lobster & NY Strip Steak

  • Southwest Tacos with Chicken

  • Cajun Chicken Linguini Alfredo 

  • Langostino and Lobster Baked Potato

  • Chocolate Wave

  • Peach Smoothie

Appetizers

Red Lobster’s starters can be as high in calories as a full entree. Many options are fried or served with high-calorie sauces. Even if you order an appetizer to share while you wait for the rest of your meal to arrive, large servings can make it difficult to stick to an individual portion. To keep calories in check, look for starters closer to single serving size.

Most Nutritious Option

Signature Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

130 calories, 0g of fat, 1070 mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, and 21g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Langostino Lobster-Artichoke-and-Seafood Dip

1170 calories, 74g fat, 21g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 2160 mg sodium, 92g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 36g protein

You’ll find a few non-seafood options on the appetizer menu at Red Lobster, most of which are typical casual dining staples like fried mozzarella sticks and chicken wings. Seafood options made with veggies, such as the 390-calorie Stuffed Mushrooms, can be healthier starter choices—especially if you order them to share. 

A few of the create-your-own starters can be made with a choice of veggies, which gives you the opportunity to make a lower-calorie, lower-fat appetizer.

Tasting Plates

Most of the Tasting Plates at Red Lobster are under 500 calories and allow you to sample multiple items from the menu. Choose from an array of tasty options like Shrimp Potstickers, Chilled Lobster, and Dragon Broccoli.

Most Nutritious Option

Shrimp Potstickers

220 calories, 5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 1260 mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate, 15g sugar, and 9g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Loaded Seaside Fries

770 calories, 44g fat, 11g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 1880 mg sodium, 72g carbohydrate, 4g sugar, and 22g protein

Even though it features a veggie, with 440 calories and 24 grams of fat, the Dragon Broccoli tasting plate is higher in calories and fat than other options. The Yucatan Shrimp tasting plate has 250 calories, 16 grams of fat, and adds 11 grams of protein to your day.

Soup

Red Lobster’s soup options are all milk-based chowders and creamy bisques. In addition to being high in calories and fat, many of these soups are also quite high in sodium. If you do choose a soup, go with a cup instead of a bowl.

Most Nutritious Option

Manhattan Clam Chowder (Cup)

160 calories, 5g fat, 2g saturated fat, 1100 mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 9g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Lobster Bisque (Bowl)

620 calories, 40g fat, 23g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 1930 mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, and 18g protein

With 230 calories and 9 grams of fat per cup, the Seafood Gumbo is one of the lower-calorie soup options at Red Lobster. Try pairing it with a garden salad if you’re ordering a combo meal.

Salad

You’ll find a mix of standard and seafood salads at Red Lobster, as well as a range of salad dressings and toppings.

Most Nutritious Option

Side Garden Salad (no dressing)

100 calories, 5g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 190 mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 4g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Classic Caesar Salad with Lobster & Shrimp

840 calories, 68g fat, 12g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 2180 mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 35g protein

You can easily save calories, fat, and avoid hidden sugars by ordering your salad without dressing. Since the salad dressing options at Red Lobster can easily add 100 or more calories and over 20 grams of fat per serving, if you do choose one, ask to have it on the side.

Save carbs and sodium by skipping crunchy extras like croutons. Instead, pack on the protein to make your salad more satisfying. For just 80 calories and 2.5 grams of fat, top your greens with Wood-Grilled Scallops to boost your salad’s protein by 12 grams.

Classic Fish

Since Red Lobster aims to offer fresh fish, you’ll find a rotating selection on the Today’s Catch menu. The chain also changes up its Specials based on what’s available at certain times of the year and in particular regions.

Most Nutritious Option

Wild-Caught Flounder Lunch (Oven-Broiled)

210 calories, 5g fat, 250 mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 35g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Wild-Caught Flounder Dinner (Golden-Fried)

1210 calories, 79g fat, 8g saturated fat, 2800 mg sodium, 72g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, and 51g protein

If you go for broiled, baked, or grilled dishes and avoid battered and fried versions, most fish options at Red Lobster can make a nutritious meal. In addition to being lower in calories and fat than other protein sources, fish is also a source of key vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and amino acids.

At Red Lobster you’ll find lunch-size servings of Perch, Cod, Halibut, or Sole for 200 calories or less. Each serving of fish also packs 35 grams of protein or more to your meal. 

Whichever fish you choose, avoid the "endless" option that's available at lunchtime or during happy hour. When you're constantly adding more food to your plate, it's easy to lose track of a single serving.

Make any fish choice healthier by asking for it to be prepared with limited butter or oil. Better yet, skip the butter and opt for the cocktail sauce instead, which provides just 45 calories per serving.

Signature Shellfish

From scallops to shrimp to Maine lobster, you’ll find all your favorite shellfish on the menu at Red Lobster. In addition to meals, shellfish is also used to create salads, pasta dishes, and “land and sea” combo meals with steak or chicken.

Most Nutritious Option

Create Your Own Lunch Bay Scallops (Broiled)

50 calories, 0.5g fat, 280 mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 11g protein

Least Nutritious Option

1650 calories, 98g fat, 10g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 5000 mg sodium, 129g carbohydrate, 18g sugar, and 64g protein

For smaller portions of shrimp and lobster, look to the Kid’s Menu. The Garlic-Grilled Shrimp skewer has 80 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, and 11 grams of protein—compared to the dinner menu Wood-Grilled Shrimp Skewer meal, which has 320 calories and 10 grams of fat.

If you’re looking for a lighter lobster roll, the kid-size has 310 calories and 17 grams of fat. The regular menu lobster roll meal has 970 calories and 45 grams of fat. 

One of the most popular menu items at Red Lobster is the Ultimate Feast combo. For 1,100 calories, the meal includes American snow crab legs, garlic shrimp scampi, Walt’s Favorite Shrimp, wild rice pilaf and one extra side of your choice.

Keep in mind that the nutrition information provided for the feast only includes the wild rice pilaf, cocktail sauce, and melted butter—you’ll have to factor in any extra sides you order as well as cheddar bay biscuits that come with the meal.

Steak

If you don’t find the “surf” to your liking, you’ll find some “turf” fare on Red Lobster’s menu as well. Options like grilled chicken or a 6-oz steak can be a good source of protein. Just keep an eye on any sauces, sides, or extras, which can add calories and sodium to your meal.

Most Nutritious Option

6-oz Filet Mignon

460 calories, 23g fat, 12g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 1100 mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 38g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Rock Lobster and 12-oz NY Strip Steak

1250 calories, 83g fat, 43g saturated fat, 2.5g trans fat, 3680 mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 97g protein

If you’re choosing a steak, keep an eye on portion size. The 6-oz filet mignon or 7-oz sirloin is a lower-fat source of protein than the 12-oz NY strip steak. To make a more nutritious meal that’s lighter in calories, fat, carbs, and sodium, choose your side wisely. Instead of salty french fries and carb-heavy mashed potatoes, opt for steamed veggies or a garden salad.

Chicken

If you stick to grilled rather than crispy fried dishes, the chicken options at Red Lobster can be the basis for a protein-packed lunch or dinner. However, if you’re choosing a salad or pasta dish, adding chicken instead of fish won’t necessarily be the lowest-calorie choice.

Most Nutritious Option

320 calories, 20g fat, 3g saturated fat, 840 mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 8g sugar, and 25g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Southwest Style Tacos with Chicken

740 calories, 27g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 2100 mg sodium, 89g carbohydrates, 11g sugar, and 37g protein

One of the only non-seafood meals on the menu at Red Lobster is theMaple-Glazed Chicken. Served with wild rice and your choice of a side, the meal has 490 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 52 grams of protein.

Save carbs by skipping the rice and opting for a side of steamed broccoli or a side salad instead. You can even add an extra 5 grams of protein to your meal with a side of grilled shrimp for just 60 calories.

Pasta

You won’t find a low-carb, low-fat, or low-carb option among Red Lobster’s selection of pasta. With such large portions of creamy linguine alfredo, even if you only ate half of the food on your plate you'd still be getting over a meal’s worth of calories, fat, carbs, and sodium.

Most Nutritious Option

Shrimp Linguini Alfredo (Half)

580 calories, 28g fat, 11g saturated fat, 1.5g trans fat, 1340 mg sodium, 56g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, and 25g protein

Least Nutritious Option

1340 calories, 60g fat, 24g saturated fat, 3g trans fat, 3530 mg sodium, 116g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 81g protein

If you do opt for a pasta dish, ask for a half-order instead of the full meal and skip the starters or extra sides.

Sides

Red Lobster offers the typical range of sides, such as biscuits, baked or mashed potatoes, veggies like broccoli and asparagus, as well as coleslaw and french fries. Other extras like butter and sauces, can also add well over 100 calories to your meal.

Most Nutritious Option

Seasoned Broccoli

40 calories, 0g fat, 270 mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, and 3g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Langostino and Lobster Baked Potato

350 calories, 11g fat, 6g saturated fat, 500 mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 13g protein

Even relatively healthy dishes like steamed veggies and a small portion of fish can become a high-calorie meal if you aren’t mindful of extras. 

For example, a side serving of 100% Pure Melted Butter adds 300 calories and 33 grams of fat to your meal. Tartar sauce, a traditional accompaniment to many seafood dishes, adds 210 calories and 21 grams of fat.

To add flavor to a dish without heaping on extra calories, try low-carb condiments like Pico de Gallo. Sour cream is a lower-fat topping than butter for a baked potato and cocktail sauce is a great match for shrimp.

Desserts

In terms of options, sweets make up a relatively small corner of Red Lobster’s large menu. Though there are only a few to choose from, desserts are among the highest in carbs and sugar items at Red Lobster. 

Most Nutritious Option

Surf’s Up Sundae (Kid’s Menu)

200 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 50 mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate, 18g sugar, and 3g protein

Least Nutritious Option

1110 calories, 62g fat, 22g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 720 mg sodium, 134g carbohydrate, 93g sugar, and 11g protein

You’ll have to look to the kid’s menu for a smaller portion of a sweet treat, as those on the regular lunch and dinner menus are generally 500-1,000 calories.

The lowest calorie item on the dessert menu is a slice of Key Lime Pie, which has 400 calories, 14 grams of fat, 59 grams of carbs, and 49 grams of sugar.

If you’re looking for something slightly sweet to top off your meal, a side of naturally-sweet fruit from the kid’s menu can be a healthier choice. While they’re still a sugary option, you’ll also find kid-sized fruit smoothies, coolers, and slushies for under 200 calories.

Beverages

Water is always the healthiest drink to accompany a meal, whether you’re dining out or at home. At Red Lobster you’ll have your choice of several other beverages, like hot coffee or tea, that won’t add calories or carbs to your meal.

Most Nutritious Option

0 calories, 0g fat, 0 mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 0g protein

Least Nutritious Option

470 calories, 6g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 240 mg sodium, 96g carbohydrate, 84g sugar, and 7g protein

Diet fountain sodas don’t have calories or carbs, but they can be sources of artificial sweeteners or preservatives like aspartame, which you may want to avoid.

Other low-cal or low-carb beverage choices like lemonade and iced tea can be lower in calories than other drinks but may have a lot of sugar.

As with many other casual dining establishments, Red Lobster also has a full bar menu of alcoholic drinks. If you choose to imbibe, make sure to factor in the calorie and carb count of your cocktail when you’re planning your meal.

Diet-Specific Options

If you follow a special diet, you may find the seafood-focus of Red Lobster's menu to be challenging. As you review the menu, ask your server for a list of ingredients or any additional information if you don't see the information you need. You can also ask if it's possible to make substitutions or swaps to accommodate your diet.

Gluten-free

Red Lobster doesn’t have any specific gluten-free options, but there are items on the menu that aren't made using gluten or wheat.

However, because all the meals are prepared in the same kitchen it's possible your meal will come into contact with gluten or wheat-containing ingredients during the storage, prep, or cooking process.

If you need to avoid gluten or have Celiac disease, it’s always best to exercise caution when dining out.

Items at Red Lobster that may work for a gluten-free diet include:

  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Surf’s Up Sundae
  • Chesapeake Corn
  • Half-Shell Oysters
  • Baked Potato with Butter

Low-carb

  • Soy-Ginger Salmon
  • Garlic Shrimp Scampi
  • Steamed Maine Lobster
  • Fresh Wood-Grilled Tilapia
  • Wild-Caught Snow Crab Legs

Diabetes-Friendly

  • Maine Lobster Tail
  • Classic Caesar Salad
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings
  • Wood-Grilled Sirloin Steak
  • Yucatan Shrimp Tasting Plate

Low-fat

  • Walt’s Shrimp
  • Seafood Gumbo (Cup)
  • Maple-Glazed Chicken
  • Tuna Poke Tasting Plate
  • Oven-Broiled Bay Scallops

Low-sodium

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Wood-Grilled Shrimp Skewers
  • Over-Broiled Wild-Caught Flounder
  • Petite Chilled Lobster & Shrimp Roll

Vegetarian & Vegan

With a menu that’s based on fish, you won’t find many vegan options or vegetarian-friendly dishes at Red Lobster. Since the chain also uses many other animal products, like poultry and dairy, to create meals, some meat-free dishes prepared in a shared kitchen may not work for you, depending on the type of vegan or vegetarian diet you follow.

You may be able to create some vegan and vegetarian dishes from choices across the menu as well as some clever substitutions and modifications.

Red Lobster menu items that may be suitable for a vegan diet include:

  • Rice Pilaf
  • Dragon Broccoli
  • Kid’s Menu Side of Fruit
  • Garden Salad (no croutons) with Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Baked Potato (no butter) with Pico de Gallo or Pineapple Relish

In addition to the vegan-friendly items, vegetarians may also enjoy the following:

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Cheddar Bay Biscuits
  • French Fries, Mozzarella Sticks
  • Langostino Lobster Pizza (no meat)
  • Linguini Pasta with Alfredo Sauce (no meat)

All dessert options at Red Lobster are vegetarian except the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, which is made with animal gelatin.

Food Allergies and Safety

If you have a food allergy, Red Lobster provides information about common food allergens present on its menu on its website. You can even use Red Lobster’s Food Allergy Wizard to search the menu for the potential of cross-contamination of allergens.

As the website notes, this can be especially important if you are allergic to fish or shellfish, as you may be allergic to more than one type. You can search the menu for different types of fish, as well as sort shellfish by crustacean or and molluscan.

You can also use the Wizard to search for other common allergens, including:

Red Lobster reminds diners that because all menu items are prepared in shared kitchen space, cross-contamination of allergens is possible. Therefore, the chain cannot guarantee your meal will be completely free from a specific allergen.

If you have a food allergy, always let your server know when you give them your order. You may also want to download Red Lobster’s Allergen Guide as a PDF for more in-depth information.

A Word From Verywell

Red Lobster’s menu gives you a wide range of seafood, chicken, steak, and salad choices—which also range widely in nutrition. The best way to plan a healthy meal is to use Red Lobster’s online nutrition tools to find items on the menu that best suit your tastes and dietary needs.

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Article Sources

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