What to Eat at TGI Fridays: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

cheeseburger and fries served at a restaurant

 Trifonov_Evgeniy / GettyImages

TGI Fridays is an American restaurant that first opened in 1965. What was once a small restaurant in New York is now a chain of restaurants with more than 900 locations worldwide. There are more than 500 TGI Fridays locations in the United States alone with the remainder spanning across 59 countries.

If you’re looking to have dinner and drinks, TGI Fridays is likely the restaurant for you. They are known for their casual menu options and full bar. Because of the upbeat atmosphere, TGI Fridays is a popular spot for appetizers and alcoholic beverages.

Despite its reputation for burgers and finger foods like nachos, buffalo wings, and mozzarella sticks, TGI Fridays also offers plant-based proteins, salads, soups, and other menu items on the healthier side. Though it’s likely not the first place you think of when you look for nutritious restaurant food, TGI Fridays is still a great restaurant to visit on special occasions or weekends.

What Experts Say

“TGI Fridays' foods tend to be high in calories and fat, but you can opt for healthier choices by sticking to simple foods and making substitutions. Opt for a grilled protein (chicken, shrimp, or fish) with steamed vegetables. Instead of French fries, choose a side salad. The main salads tend to be high in calories, so try asking for the dressing on the side to control your daily intake.” —Barbie Cervoni, RD, CDE

Navigating the Menu

The TGI Fridays menu is extensive, which increases the likelihood of finding something that aligns with your dietary preferences. Since the chain is known for its fast casual foods and American classics like sliders, sandwiches, ribs, and more, the menu items tend to be high in calories and sodium. However, there are ways to maneuver the TGI Fridays menu with the nutrition facts in mind.

Most Nutritious Options
  • Chips & Salsa (Appetizers)

  • Beyond Meat Cheeseburger (Burgers & Sandwiches)

  • Simply Grilled Salmon (Chicken, Seafood, & Pasta)

  • Beyond Meat Cheeseburger (Plant-Based Proteins)

  • Center-Cut Sirloin (Steak & Ribs)

  • Chicken Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (Lunch portion) with Caesar Dressing (Salads & Soups)

  • OREO® Madness (Desserts)

  • Water or Freshly Brewed Gold Peak® Iced Tea (Drinks)

  • Kid’s Fettuccine Pasta with Marinara (Kids Menu)

  • Coleslaw or Fruit Cup (Sides)

Least Nutritious Options
  • Fridays™ Signature Whiskey-Glazed Sampler (Appetizers)

  • Loaded Cheese Fry Burger (Burgers & Sandwiches)

  • Chicken Parmesan Pasta (Chicken, Seafood, & Pasta)

  • Million Dollar Cobb Salad With Beyond Patty (Plant-Based Proteins)

  • Fridays™ Signature Whiskey-Glazed Ribs, Full-Rack (Steak & Ribs)

  • Million Dollar Cobb Salad (Salads & Soups)

  • Red Velvet Cake (Desserts)

  • Coca-Cola® (Drinks)

  • Crispy Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard (Kids Menu)

  • Cheddar Mac and Cheese (Sides)

If you’re looking for the healthiest meal at TGI Fridays, the Simply Grilled Salmon’s nutrition profile makes it the best choice.

Appetizers

TGI Fridays is known for their appetizers, so it’s no surprise they have a lot to choose from. Some of their most popular appetizers include the Traditional Wings, Loaded Potato Skins, and Mozzarella Sticks. This category contains items that are mostly high in calories and sodium, so pay close attention to the nutrition facts. Since appetizers are intended to be shared, you can still indulge by splitting the portion with friends and family.

Most Nutritious Option 

The vast majority of TGI Fridays’ appetizers are more than 500 calories. Many are even over 1,000 calories. The Chips & Salsa is one of the few options that are lower in calories, carbohydrates, and sodium. This appetizer contains 280 calories, 13g fat, 2g saturated fat, 49g carbohydrates, 7g protein, and 1,180mg sodium.  

Least Nutritious Option 

Samplers are a common appetizer in American fast casual restaurants. The Fridays™ Signature Whiskey-Glazed Sampler consists of shrimp, chicken strips, and ribs. The entire platter contains 1,880 calories, 82g fat, 20g saturated fat, 215g carbohydrates, 74g protein, and 4,500mg sodium. This is significantly more than the recommended amount of sodium per day.

Burgers & Sandwiches

What was once off-limits for people who follow a vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free diet is now a staple of TGI Fridays’ menu. TGI Fridays offers Beyond Meat, which is a plant-based alternative to beef. Burgers can also be served on a gluten-free bun for those who request it. For those following low-carb diets, you can order the burger “Green Style” and the burger will be wrapped in lettuce instead of on a bun.

Most Nutritious Option 

Though they are high in protein, burgers are traditionally high in calories, fat, carbohydrates, and sodium. The burgers are TGI Fridays are no exception. Ordering the plant-based protein and lettuce wrapped burgers can help cut back on cholesterol and carbohydrates, though this route is still high in sodium. 

If you’re craving a juicy burger but want to make a health-conscious decision, the Beyond Meat Cheeseburger (Green Style) is likely the best choice. It contains 630 calories, 46g fat, 18g saturated fat, 19g carbohydrates, 38g protein, and 2,940mg sodium. Omit the cheese and sauce to make this option fully vegan.

Least Nutritious Option 

The Loaded Cheese Fry Burger is exactly what it sounds like—a beef patty topped with bacon-cheese fries, queso, American cheese, veggies, bun, and a loaded potato skin skewered on top. It’s a meal with the sides built into it. 

Since this is a very heavy burger, it’s the highest in calories, fat, and sodium. Each burger contains 1,450 calories, 93g fat, 37g saturated fat, 99g carbohydrates, 55g protein, and 3,660mg sodium. It also contains 176g cholesterol per serving. 

To make your burger choice healthier, opt for a traditional cheeseburger or plant-based patty without the bun.

Chicken, Seafood, & Pasta

Chicken and seafood have the potential to be nutritious options on any menu, especially when they are grilled. On the other hand, pasta tends to be a more indulgent and rich option. This section of the menu is smaller than the others, so the options are more limited.

Most Nutritious Option 

If you like salmon, you’re in luck. TGI Fridays offers multiple salmon dishes, including the Simply Grilled Salmon. It’s served with lemon-butter broccoli and jasmine rice. The entire meal contains 720 calories, 46g fat, 16g saturated fat, 38g carbohydrates, 37g protein, and 2,170mg sodium. This is likely the healthiest meal on the menu since it’s a balanced source of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. It’s higher in sodium than recommended, but that’s expected when going to a restaurant.

Least Nutritious Option 

Pasta has a reputation for being high in carbohydrates, calories, and fat. The pasta dishes at TGI Fridays live up to that reputation. The Chicken Parmesan Pasta includes a crispy chicken breast with marinara and cheese on top of fettuccine alfredo. It’s also served with a garlic breadstick. The meal contains 1,890 calories, 107g fat, 43g saturated fat, 154g carbohydrates, 74g protein, and 4,130mg sodium. To make this a lighter meal, you can opt for the Half Portion version. However, it still contains 1,430 calories per serving.

Plant-Based Proteins

TGI Fridays upgraded its veggie burger by offering Beyond Meat on its menu. There are five menu items containing this plant-based beef alternative: Beyond Chili Loaded Potato Skins, Beyond Chili Ballpark Nachos, Beyond Chili, Beyond Chili Cheeseburger, and Beyond Meat Cheeseburger. This section of the menu is a good reminder that plant-based doesn’t always mean healthier. However, vegans and vegetarians will be delighted to see some meat-free options to choose from.

Most Nutritious Option 

For a substantial meal without meat, order the Beyond Meat Cheeseburger (Green Style). Make it vegan by omitting the cheese and sauce. This vegetarian burger wrapped in lettuce contains 630 calories, 46g fat, 18g saturated fat, 19g carbohydrates, 38g protein, and 2,940mg sodium. 

Least Nutritious Option 

It is likely very exciting for vegetarians to find the Million Dollar Cobb Salad ordered with the Beyond Patty on the TGI Fridays menu, but this is a less nutritious option. This menu item contains 1,280 calories, 103g fat, 35g fat, 33g carbohydrates, 61g protein, and 3,370mg sodium.

Steak & Ribs

Being a classic American restaurant, a large portion of the TGI Fridays menu is comprised of meat in various forms: burgers, sandwiches, steak, and ribs. While there are several pork ribs appetizers and entrees to choose from, steak is likely the better choice if you’re looking for a meaty dinner.

Most Nutritious Option 

The Center-Cut Sirloin served with mashed potatoes and broccoli is likely the most nutritious option in this category. It contains 640 calories, 41g fat, 16g saturated fat, 34g carbohydrates, 34g protein, and 2,280mg sodium. This meaty meal, however, is higher in cholesterol with 115g per serving. Enjoy in moderation.

Least Nutritious Option 

Ordering a full-rack of ribs is bound to be high in calories and fat, which is why the Fridays™ Signature Whiskey-Glazed Ribs, Full-Rack is the least nutritious option in this category. It contains 1,630 calories, 75g fat, 25g saturated fat, 178g carbohydrates, 69g protein, and 2,940mg sodium. To improve these nutrition facts, order the Half Rack and opt for a lighter side instead of fries.

Salads & Soups

If you’ve ever visited a restaurant and wanted something on the lighter side, you may have ordered a soup or salad. While these seem like healthier options since they’re likely a good source of vegetables, soup and salad can be high in calories, fat, and sodium due to the broth and salad dressing. While this isn’t always the case, some of TGI Fridays’ soups and salads are more indulgent than you’d expect.

Most Nutritious Option 

TGI Fridays has several salads to choose from but only a limited amount of soups. Since they offer a Soup of the Day, the soup choice changes often. All of their soups are lower than 600 calories, though they are high in sodium. If available, the Chicken Noodle Soup is just 150 calories.

A menu item that you can count on to be there is the Chicken Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken, which contains 780 calories, 59g fat, 12g saturated fat, 20g carbohydrates, 45g protein, and 1,870mg sodium. Be sure to order the lunch portion and get the salad dressing on the side. 

Least Nutritious Option 

Many of TGI Fridays’ salads are over 1,000 calories, exemplifying that salads are not always the best option when you’re paying attention to the nutrition facts. A good example of this is the Million Dollar Cobb Salad, which contains grilled chicken, veggies, cheese, bacon, egg, and ranch dressing. It contains 1,020 calories, 74g fat, 24g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrates, 65g protein, and 2,640mg sodium.

Desserts

Desserts are not traditionally the most nutritious option on any menu. However, you are likely aware of that when you order dessert. A good tip when ordering dessert is to share with family and friends or simply enjoy in moderation since many desserts can be more than 1,000 calories on their own. At TGI Fridays, the desserts range between 600 and 1,690 calories. Kids Desserts are below 700 calories each.

Most Nutritious Option 

If you have a sweet tooth, you can order a fruit cup or smoothie at TGI Fridays. If you’re looking for a traditional dessert with the least amount of calories, the OREO® Madness is likely the best choice. It’s cookies & cream vanilla ice cream, OREO® cookie crust, and chocolate sauce. Alone, this dessert contains 670 calories, 29g fat, 14g saturated fat, 98g carbohydrates, 8g protein, and 390mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option 

TGI Fridays’ Red Velvet Cake is a popular option for birthdays and special occasions, but its nutrition facts indicate that this is a dessert that should be eaten in moderation. It contains 1,690 calories, 92g fat, 43g saturated fat, 199g carbohydrates, 16g protein, and 960mg sodium. You can order half a slice to indulge while reducing the number of calories, fat, and carbohydrates.

Drinks

TGI Fridays’ selection of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, is vast. The drinks are split into sub-categories: Kids Drinks, Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Beer, Wine, and Cocktails. Since alcohol can contribute to weight gain, a non-alcoholic beverage low in calories and sugar is likely the best option. If you follow a specific diet, choose your diet-friendly alcoholic drinks wisely.

Most Nutritious Option 

There are perks of ordering water at restaurants. It’s free, hydrating, and healthy. If you want something with more flavor, the Freshly Brewed Gold Peak® Black Iced Tea is zero-calorie and a source of caffeine. It contains 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 35mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option 

Soft drinks are the go-to drink of choice at restaurants, but they tend to be high in sugar, calories, and carbohydrates. The Coca-Cola®, for example, contains 200 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 56g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 65mg sodium. It also contains 56g sugar. Similarly, alcoholic beverages are popular at restaurants with bars like TGI Fridays. Some of their cocktails are upwards of 400 calories each. To enjoy an alcoholic drink with fewer calories, consider a martini. 

Kids Menu

The selection of kids’ meals at TGI Fridays is slim. It contains kid-friendly classics like chicken tenders and mac and cheese as well as pasta and burgers. When served with a side and beverage, a kids meal can easily contain more than 700 calories and 1,000mg sodium. Fortunately, some of the options are a good source of fruit and veggies.

Most Nutritious Option 

When visiting a restaurant, it’s important to consider your children’s nutritional needs as well as your own. At TGI Fridays, the Kid’s Fettuccine Pasta with Marinara is the most balanced meal for kids. Opt for a side of fruit and water to drink to keep the sodium and sugar levels low. The pasta contains 300 calories, 10g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 43g carbohydrates, 8g protein, and 840mg sodium. To reduce the amount of sodium, opt for butter instead of marinara sauce.

Least Nutritious Option 

When kids set their eyes on the TGI Fridays, they are likely drawn to the Crispy Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard. However, this is likely the least nutritious option, but they can enjoy it in moderation. This kids meal contains 500 calories, 33g fat, 10g saturated fat, 31g carbohydrates, 20g protein, and 1,160mg sodium. Note this doesn’t include the nutrition facts for a side and beverage. 

Sides

Most of TGI Fridays’ meals come with a side or two. This can increase the calories and macronutrients substantially. Some sides include salad, breadsticks, rice, fries, and more. 

Most Nutritious Option 

There are several low-calorie sides at TGI Fridays, but they tend to be high in sodium. A side of fruit is always a good choice since fruit is unprocessed, low in calories, and high in beneficial nutrients. Another nutritious option is the Coleslaw, which contains 100 calories, 8g fat, 2g saturated fat, 5g carbohydrates, 1g protein, and 220mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option 

TGI Fridays’ Cheddar Mac & Cheese is the side with the highest amount of calories, saturated fat, and sodium. It contains 630 calories, 35g fat, 19g saturated fat, 52g carbohydrates, 26g protein, and 1,670mg sodium. If you’re looking for a more substantial side, opt for sweet potato fries, which contain 390 calories, 20g fat, 9g saturated fat, 50g carbohydrates, 3g protein, and 230mg sodium.

Diet-Specific Options

TGI Fridays offers choices for gluten-free, low-carb, vegetarian, and vegan diets, but doesn’t have many low-FODMAP, low-fat, low-sodium, or diabetes-friendly menu items.

Gluten-free

  • Simply Grilled Salmon
  • Beyond Meat Cheeseburger (request a gluten-free bun or served Green Style)
  • Center-Cut Sirloin
  • Coleslaw
  • Fruit Cup

TGI Fridays has a gluten-sensitive selection, though they are not a gluten-free establishment. Since many of the gluten-free options are high in calories, fat, carbohydrates, and sodium, the Simply Grilled Salmon is likely the best choice.

Low-carb

  • Beyond Meat Cheeseburger (served Green Style)
  • Center-Cut Sirloin
  • Simply Grilled Salmon
  • Chicken Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (Lunch portion)
  • Dragon-Glaze Salmon

People following a low-carb diet should avoid menu items that are breaded or served on bread. Low-carb diets tend to be high in animal products, so chicken breast, grilled salmon, and steak will be compliant options. Salad served with grilled chicken is a great way to pack the protein and veggies while keeping carbs low.

Low-FODMAP

  • Fruit Cup (omit high-FODMAP fruit like watermelon)
  • Coleslaw
  • Simply Grilled Salmon
  • Center-Cut Sirloin
  • Simply Grilled Chicken


Low-FODMAP foods
can be difficult to find at restaurants. Generally, restaurants could improve their selection of low-FODMAP options.

Diabetes-friendly

  • Simply Grilled Salmon
  • Chicken Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (Lunch portion)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Simply Grilled Chicken

A diabetes-friendly diet is generally rich in non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. TGI Fridays has some options, such as grilled salmon with rice and veggies, though the selection is limited.

Low-fat

  • BBQ Chicken Wrap
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Chicken Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (Lunch portion)
  • BBQ Chicken Salad (Lunch portion) with BBQ Ranch Dressing

The majority of TGI Fridays’ menu items contain large quantities of animal products, which tend to be greater sources of fat. Therefore, the low-fat selection is minuscule. The BBQ Chicken Wrap served with Sweet Potato Fries is one meal option that is lower in fat.

Low-sodium

  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Wings (Traditional) Apple Butter BBQ
  • Chicken Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (Lunch portion) with Caesar Dressing
  • Side Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Tortilla Soup

Restaurants are known for serving food that is high in sodium. The Chinese Chicken Wrap at TGI Fridays, for example, contains 8,220mg sodium by itself. To reduce the amount of sodium you consume at TGI Fridays, stick to menu items that are heavy in vegetables. When choosing a salad dressing, opt for balsamic vinaigrette as it’s the lowest in sodium.

Vegetarian

  • Beyond Meat Cheeseburger
  • Beyond Chili
  • Spinach & Artichoke Dip
  • House Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • White Cheddar Broccoli Cheese Soup

Since vegetarians consume some animal products, including dairy and eggs, they have a wider selection at TGI Fridays than vegans. A soup and salad combo is likely the most nutritious option for vegetarians, though they can also enjoy a vegetarian cheeseburger.

Vegan

  • Beyond Meat Cheeseburger (omit cheese and sauce)
  • Beyond Chili (omit cheese)
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Chips & Salsa

When Beyond Meat partnered with TGI Fridays, vegans were ecstatic. However, the burger is not quite vegan unless some modifications are requested. Still, the burger can be high in fat and sodium.

Food Allergies and Safety

TGI Fridays offers some gluten-free options, so people with gluten allergies can find safe meals to enjoy. However, those with milk, soy, egg, and fish allergies should be cautious since many items include these ingredients.

Those with dairy allergies can omit mild-based ingredients like cheese, salad dressings, condiments, and sauces to accommodate their dietary restrictions. Similarly, those with gluten allergies can order gluten-free burgers.

To find even more allergen-friendly menu items on TGI Fridays’ menu, check out their Allergen Menu. Menu items are labeled with common allergens like egg, soy, peanut, milk, shellfish, wheat, tree nuts, and fish.

While some menu items are marked plant-based and gluten-free, people with food allergies should proceed with caution since cross-contamination is inevitable in many restaurant kitchens.

A Word From Verywell 

Food is a source of nourishment, but it can also be a source of pleasure and social bonding. TGI Fridays is a place to enjoy yourself, laugh with friends and family, and eat delicious food. When enjoyed in moderation, there’s nothing wrong with a Friday night out to dinner.

While it’s tempting to indulge in appetizers, entrees, drinks, and desserts, this can result in an overload of calories and macronutrients. With a little planning ahead of time, you can indulge a little without steering too far from your goals.

Was this page helpful?