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

TGI Friday's

Verywell / Christian Alzate

If you’re looking to have dinner and drinks, TGI Fridays is likely the restaurant for you. It is known for its 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.

What to Order & Avoid at TGI Fridays
 Most Nutritious Options Least Nutritious Options
Chips & Salsa (Appetizers) Fridays Signature Whiskey-Glazed Sampler (Appetizers)
Traditional Chile-Lime (Wings) Boneless Garlic Parm (Wings)
Center-Cut Sirloin (Ribs & Steaks) Fridays Signature Whiskey-Glazed Ribs, Full-Rack (Ribs & Steaks)
Simply Grilled Salmon (Chicken, Seafood & Pasta) Chicken Parmesan Pasta (Chicken, Seafood & Pasta)
Beyond Meat Cheeseburger (Burgers) Loaded Cheese Fry Burger (Burgers)
Side House Salad (Sandwiches & Salads) Fridays Signature Whiskey-Glazed Chicken Sandwich (Sandwiches & Salads)
Lemon-Butter Broccoli (Sides & Soups) Cheddar Mac & Cheese (Sides & Soups)
Kid's Pasta (Kid's Menu) Kid's Crispy Chicken Fingers (Kid's Menu)
OREO Madness (Desserts) Red Velvet Cake (Desserts)
Water or Freshly Brewed Gold Peak Iced Tea (Drinks) Coca-Cola (Drinks)

Most Nutritious Option

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 its appetizers, so it’s no surprise it has a lot to choose from. Some of its 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.

✓ Chips & Salsa 

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 240 calories, 10g fat, 2g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrates, 4g protein, and 1,310mg sodium.

✗ Fridays Signature Whiskey-Glazed Sampler

Samplers are a common appetizer in American fast-casual restaurants. Fridays' signature whiskey-glazed sampler consists of shrimp, chicken strips, and ribs. The entire platter contains 1,570 calories, 59g fat, 15g saturated fat, 198g carbohydrates, 68g protein, and 3,840mg sodium. This is significantly more than the recommended amount of sodium per day. Consider splitting this share-ready sampler with the table to enjoy all of the flavors together.

Wings

The restaurant's wings offering includes everything from traditional to boneless and even a roulette platter where you can get a sample of three different wing flavors. High in calories and sodium, consider making these dishes your meal rather than an appetizer alongside another dish.

✓ Traditional Chili-Lime Wings

The traditional bone-in wings with chili-lime flavor are among TGI Fridays' most nutritious wings options. With 700 calories, 61g fat, 13g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrates, 35g protein, and 1,300mg sodium, they are not the lowest-calorie wing order available. The traditional wings with Frank's buffalo sauce contain 620 calories but deliver 2,660mg sodium.

✗ Boneless Garlic Parm Wings

At 1,090 calories, 74g fat, 13g saturated fat, 63g carbohydrates, 41g protein, and 3,090mg sodium, the boneless wings with garlic parmesan sauce are the highest-calorie wing option on the menu. To keep the sodium intake lower, consider ordering the traditional bone-in version with this flavor—it has 1,210mg sodium or nearly one-third of the boneless version.

Ribs & Steaks

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 entrées to choose from, steak is likely the better choice if you’re looking for a meaty dinner.

✓ Center-Cut Sirloin

The center-cut sirloin served with mashed potatoes and broccoli is likely the most nutritious option in this category. It contains 540 calories, 17g fat, 6g saturated fat, 71g carbohydrates, 32g protein, and 2,420mg sodium. This meaty meal, however, is higher in cholesterol with 95g per serving, but the addition of broccoli does deliver heart-healthy benefits.

✗ Fridays Signature Whiskey-Glazed Ribs, Full Rack

Ordering a full-rack of ribs is bound to be high in calories and fat, which is why a full rack of Fridays' signature whiskey-glazed ribs, served with seasoned fries and coleslaw is the least nutritious option in this category. It contains 1,620 calories, 81g fat, 25g saturated fat, 185g carbohydrates, 44g protein, and 3,410mg sodium. To improve these nutrition facts, order the half rack and opt for a lighter side instead of fries.

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.

✓ Simply Grilled Salmon

If you like salmon, you’re in luck. TGI Fridays offers multiple salmon dishes, including the simply grilled salmon. It’s served with mashed potatoes and lemon-butter broccoli. The entire meal contains 530 calories, 33g fat, 10g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrates, 34g protein, and 1,740mg sodium. This is likely the healthiest meal on the menu since it’s a balanced source of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. It’s slightly higher in sodium than recommended, but that’s often expected at a restaurant.

✗ Chicken Parmesan Pasta

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 1,610 calories, 73g fat, 27g saturated fat, 161g carbohydrates, 71g protein, and 3,990mg sodium. If you're craving pasta, consider ordering from the kid's menu, which has pasta with Alfredo sauce, butter, or marinara to satisfy your taste buds.

Burgers

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.

✓ Beyond Meat Cheeseburger

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 580 calories, 40g fat, 14g saturated fat, 16g carbohydrates, 37g protein, and 2,340mg sodium. Omit the cheese and sauce to make this option fully vegan.

✗ Loaded Cheese Fry Burger

The loaded cheese fry burger packs in a burger patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, as well as bacon-and-cheese fries (inside the burger), queso, and a loaded potato skin on top. This loaded burger truly lives up to its name as it also includes 1,450 calories, 93g fat, 37g saturated fat, 99g carbohydrates, 55g protein, and 3,660mg sodium.

Alternatively, the Fridays signature whiskey-glazed burger seems unassuming on the surface since it includes classic toppings like cheddar cheese, lettuce, red onions, tomato, and pickles. But the whiskey glaze and hickory-smoked bacon make it a heavier burger. It contains 1,140 calories, 56g fat, 22g saturated fat, 117g carbohydrates, 40g protein, and 3,150mg sodium. It also contains 125g of cholesterol per serving. If you're ordering either of these burgers, consider cutting it in half and taking one portion home to enjoy for another meal.

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

Sandwiches & Salads

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

✓ Side House Salad

TGI Fridays has only a few salads to choose from and a limited amount of sandwiches. A menu item that you can count on to be there is the side house salad, which contains 90 calories, 4g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 11g carbohydrates, 4g protein, and 190mg sodium. Be sure to order with dressing on the side (or skip it altogether) to control how much you add.

✗ Fridays Signature Whiskey-Glazed Chicken Sandwich

Many of TGI Fridays’ sandwiches are over 600 calories, and that's without any sides like fries or onion rings. The least nutritious of these is the Fridays signature whiskey-glazed chicken sandwich, which comes with chicken, whiskey-glaze sauce, bacon, cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo. It contains 1,160 calories, 56g fat, 17g saturated fat, 107g carbohydrates, 57g protein, and 3,140mg sodium. For a chicken-and-bacon combo, consider the bacon ranch chicken sandwich, which has considerably fewer calories and sodium and comes in at 690 calories, 31g fat, 11g saturated fat, 47g carbohydrates, 56g protein, and 2,100mg sodium.

Sides & Soups

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, soups, fries, and more. 

✓ Lemon-Butter Broccoli

There are several low-calorie sides at TGI Fridays, but they tend to be high in sodium. A side of lemon-butter broccoli is always a good choice since it contains only 90 calories, 15g fat, 3g saturated fat, 11g carbohydrates, 2g protein, and 800mg sodium. The side fruit cup is also nutritious as it's unprocessed, low in calories, and high in beneficial nutrients.

✗ Cheddar Mac & Cheese

TGI Fridays’ cheddar mac & cheese is the side with the highest amount of calories, saturated fat, and sodium. It contains 530 calories, 28g fat, 14g saturated fat, 49g carbohydrates, 22g protein, and 1,530mg sodium. If you're craving a starchy side, look towards the mashed potatoes, which have 130 calories, 4g fat, 2g saturated fat, 23g carbohydrates, 3g protein, and 560mg sodium.

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 sliders. When served with a side and beverage, a kid's 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.

✓ Kid's Penne Pasta With Marinara

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 penne 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.

✗ Crispy Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard

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 kid's meal contains 460 calories, 32g fat, 5g saturated fat, 27g carbohydrates, 16g protein, and 980mg sodium. Note this doesn’t include the nutrition facts for a side and beverage. 

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.

✓ OREO Madness

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 540 calories, 23g fat, 11g saturated fat, 79g carbohydrates, 6g protein, and 320mg sodium.

✗ Red Velvet Cake

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 1,560 calories, 82g fat, 35g saturated fat, 191g carbohydrates, 17g protein, and 930mg 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.

✓ Freshly Brewed Gold Peak Black Iced Tea

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.

✗ Coca-Cola

Soft drinks are the go-to drink of choice at restaurants, but they tend to be high in sugar, calories, and carbohydrates. A serving of 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. 

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. Order the center-cut sirloin for a low-FODMAP option at TGI Fridays.

Diabetes-friendly

  • Chips and Salsa (29 grams carb)
  • Chicken Noodle Soup (8 grams carb)
  • Sizzling Chicken with Shrimp and Mashed Potatoes (41 grams carb)
  • New York Strip (Parmesan Butter) with Mashed Potatoes and Lemon-Butter Broccoli (36 grams carb)
  • Sirloin (6 oz) with Mashed Potatoes and Lemon-Butter Broccoli (36 grams carb)

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

  • Whiskey Glazed Sesame Chicken Strips (22 grams fat; 25 percent calories from fat)
  • Whiskey-Glazed Sirloin (6 oz) with Mashed Potatoes and Lemon-Butter Broccoli (17 grams fat; 28 percent calories from fat)
  • Whiskey-Glazed Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Lemon-Butter Broccoli (18 grams fat; 18 percent calories from fat)
  • Chicken Noodle Soup (3.5 grams fat; 20 percent calories from fat)
  • Tortilla Soup (6 grams fat; 29 percent calories from fat)

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. For a full meal, order the whiskey-glazed sesame chicken strips.

Low-sodium

  • Wings (Traditional) Apple Butter BBQ (580 mg sodium)
  • Roulette Traditional Whiskey Wings without Celery and Dressing (470 mg sodium)
  • Coleslaw (140 mg sodium)
  • Tortilla Soup (670 mg sodium)
  • Side Seasoned Fries (230 mg sodium)
  • Oreo Madness (320 mg sodium)

Restaurants are known for serving food that is high in sodium. The Buffalo Fried Chicken Sandwich at TGI Fridays, for example, contains 4,590mg sodium by itself. To reduce the amount of sodium you consume at TGI Fridays, stick to menu items that are heavy in vegetables, such as the tortilla soup with a side of coleslaw. 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 (including the cheddar broccoli cheese soup and house salad) 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)
  • 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 and intolerances 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, entrées, 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 health goals.

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