If you’re thinking about shelling out for some seafood at Red Lobster tonight, we have all the envy. We loved Red Lobster when we used to visit the US – I still think about the cheesy biscuits! But, if you want to eat at Red Lobster while counting calories, what’s the best options to order that won’t leave you feeling crabby. Our guide to Red Lobster calories, by Louisa Smith, can help you narrow it down.
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Is Red Lobster Healthy?
I’m guessing you probably know this as you’re planning to go there for dinner – but, if you’re on holiday in Orlando (or somewhere else in the US) from elsewhere and have seen the signs, you might want to know that Red Lobster is one of the largest seafood chains in the US and Canada, boasting over 700 restaurants across the continent alone, plus an additional 45 international restaurants so far.
In terms of their health credentials, the menu is heavily fish and shellfish-based which is something we should all be aiming to eat more of and and Red Lobster are proud of their MSG-free menu. They believe that all of their seafood must be of the freshest quality and sustainably, traceable and responsibly sourced, and they have “zero-tolerance” for their partners who fail to meet their standards.
Needless to say, when it comes to high quality seafood, Red Lobster are the cod-father.
But what about calories? Can Red Lobster calories really be that low? The simple answer is, yes if you know what to pick! Read on to find out the lowest calorie meals at Red Lobster.
Calculating Red Lobster Calories
One of the nice things about Red Lobster is that their meals are not one size fits all. Some of them come with set side dishes, but most of them allow you to pick what you’d like to have with your meal – and that allows you to cut back on calories without compromising on the main part of your meal.
This is all spelt out clearly within the Red Lobster nutritional information but, it does take a bit of fiddling about to determine exactly what you can have within your particular calorie budget for that meal. In the sections that follow therefore we’ll help you find the lowest calorie combos…
The Meal With the Lowest Calories in Red Lobster
The lowest calorie main meal at Red Lobster is the 6.oz Filet Mignon Steak (270 calories) paired with Broccoli (40 calories) and Green Beans (90 calories). This hearty meal comes in at 400 calories exactly and is perfect for low-carbers.
If carbs are on your menu, you can add a quinoa rice and broccoli instead and go to 470 calories or a plain baked potato and broccoli for 580. That’s not bad!
Though delicious as steak is, you’ve come to Red Lobster, so you must be wanting to try some seafood, right? If that’s the case, the lowest calorie seafood dish at Red Lobster are the Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers at 320 calories. Paired with the lowest calorie side dishes, Broccoli (40 calories) and Green Beans (90 calories) you’re looking at no more than 450 calories for your meal.
Again you could carb things up with a serving of Quinoa Rice (160 calories) and Broccoli (40 calories) and still only be at 510-520 calories.
What’s the Deal with the Cheddar Biscuits?
These used to be my favourite thing in Red Lobster – crumbly, cheesy, buttery – and, every entree in Red Lobster comes with two of them.
So, what difference do these make to things you might wonder… well, each Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuit is 160 calories, so, your side serving is 320 calories.
None of the numbers below include the crumbly biscuits of joy so you’re going to need to factor them in if, like us, you can’t leave the biscuits. Or maybe ask your server not to bring them (hahahahaha – not happening on our table).
So, with that in mind, let’s have a look at the lowest calorie options on the rest of the Red Lobster Menu.
The Lowest Calorie Starter at Red Lobster
Good news! Red Lobster is not shellfish when it comes to low calorie starters that are packed with flavour (Ok, that’s the last seafood pun, I promise). The lowest calorie starter at Red Lobster would be the Signature Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail at 130 calories.
Alternatively, if you’re just looking for a small bite to eat (as Red Lobster don’t do anything small on the main menu) then head for the starters. The Bacon-Wrapped Sea Scallops is a good option at 340 calories. Yes that’s right, you can eat bacon-wrapped things!
The Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms also aren’t a bad choice at 390 calories.
You could pick one of these and then also add a veggie side and/or a salad as an extra and be under 600 calories.
Do not be fooled by the mussels. I was thinking ‘ooh, they’d be a good choice’ – but because they come in a creamy sauce with bread you’re looking at 880 calories before you even get on to the main course.
Best Low-Calorie Soup Option
What I like about Red Lobster is that if you don’t want a full starter but you need a little something to keep you going, you can get a cup of soup instead of a full bowl.
A cup of New England Clam Chowder is mouth-wateringly good and is only 240 calories per cup. Slightly more in calories, but still tasty, a Lobster Bisque-Cup is only 310 calories.
People who start their meal with soup or salad eat less at their main course say studies. Admittedly, this does require you to use willpower to leave some of the big portions that come next so you don’t have to be rolled out of the restaurant.
A full bowl of soup can also make a good choice for a main meal – especially if you’re at lunch.
If you pick the large, the lowest calorie bowl of soup at Red Lobster is the New England Clam Chowder at 470 calories. It’s big enough to be a main meal – especially if you add a side of broccoli, green beans, coleslaw or house salad – all of which will see you under 600 calories.
Best Low-Calorie Bowls
If you’re looking for a fresh salad bowl with tons of flavour, then the Classic Caesar Salad is the lowest calorie bowl at Red Lobster at an agreeable 520 calories.
This is one of the few options for vegetarians and vegans as it is served without meat or fish, though vegans will need to ask their waiter for a dressing alternative.
Admittedly, the plain salad is unlikely to leave you full for long, so, if you do eat meat or fish, you might want to add some protein to your salad, the Classic Caesar Salad with Seasoned Shrimp is the lowest calories bowl with seafood at 660 calories, or you could try the Classic Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken at 720 calories.
Pasta can be a low-calorie choice, but sadly, the pastas at Red Lobster did not get this memo . The pasta dishes are by far the highest in calorie on the menu, as all but one are shockingly over 1,000 calories per meal.
If you’re looking for one, big hearty meal, you could try the lowest calorie pasta meal at Red Lobster, which is the Garlic Linguini Alfredo with Shrimp (990 calories).
The other brilliant option – get a to-go box as soon as your meal is delivered and split it in half.
One reason the pasta calories are so high is that the portion sizes are immense. Split the meal in half and add a veggie side and you’ve got pasta for under 600 calories.
If pasta is your normal choice at a restaurant, you’re probably going to want to check out our guide to the best choices in Olive Garden after this one.
The Lowest Calorie Sandwiches
Red Lobster are known for their tasty sandwich options, but unfortunately they do not come in low calorie form. The lowest calorie sandwich option would be the Crispy Cod Sandwich at 830 calories. And that’s without your choice of side.
All the other sandwich options are packed with over 900 calories or more.
Okay, now the choice is looking up.
The nutritional information for Red Lobster tells me the classic section is full of tasty food options that are below the US’s recommended 800 calorie per meal intake for active women who want to maintain their weight (although if you’re trying to lose weight you might want to keep it closer to 600 calories which is where we cut off in this post).
Those choosing from the classic menu will need to choose a meat/fish dish, and two sides. So, when choosing a low calorie main meal at Red Lobster, you will need to take the side dishes into consideration too!
As we said before, the lowest calorie main meal is a 6.oz Filet Mignon Steak at 270 calories with a side order of Broccoli (40 calories) and Green Beans (90 calories). The total number of calories per meal would be 400 calories.
The second lowest calorie main meal is the 7.oz Sirloin at a modest 290 calories per portion. Again, you would need to add a selection of sides, but at that low calories, you can easily even add mashed potatoes and coleslaw and stay well under 600 calories (see the exact numbers below).
Or try those Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers at 320 calories. Paired with the lowest calories side dishes, Broccoli (40 calories) and Green Beans (90 calories) you’re looking at no more than 450 calories for your meal.
Steak and seafood are also two of the most popular choices to eat over at Benihana – and if you want to know what to order there without busting your calorie budget, you need our Benihana calorie guide.
Lowest Calorie Feasts
If you’re dining with family or friends who are also conscious of the calories, you might be looking at the choose your own feast menu. You can choose between two or three dishes, with two sides. For groups, this is ideal, but can it be low calorie?
The lowest calorie feast combo at Red Lobster would be a 7 oz. Wood-Grilled Sirloin (290 calories) Broiled Bay Scallops (230 calories), and if you were to choose a third option, you could also add Walt’s Favorite Shrimp (380 calories).
If you’re not familiar with Walt’s Favourite Shrimp, it’s a portion of delectable hand-breaded, butterflied and lightly fried shrimps served with a delightful cocktail sauce. For the two side dishes, the lowest calorie combo would be to add Broccoli (40 calories) and Green Beans (90 calories).
Low Calorie Sides and Add-Ons
Most meals at Red Lobster come with sides you choose yourself so, to complete your main meal, or to add-on a few extras, you may be wanting to choose a couple of side dishes. Fortunately, there are plenty of low calorie side dishes at Red Lobster to choose from.
As you may have worked out above, the lowest calorie side dishes are Broccoli at 40 calories and Green Beans at 90 calories. The Coleslaw and House Salad are also great low-calorie side options at 110 calories per dish.
If you’re happy with carbs, then the plain Baked Potato is 270 calories while Quinoa Rice is 160 calories.
Don’t be fooled by the Brussels Sprouts though – they have 380 calories a serving. To be fair, the word crispy should give away that something extra yummy has been done to them!
Are there Low-Calorie Dessert Options?
If you’re looking for something sweet without breaking your calorie limit, well, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong restaurant.
Unfortunately, the lowest calorie dessert at Red Lobster is the Key Lime Pie at 500 calories per dish. The second lowest, though not very low at all, is the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake at 700 calories.
Sorry sweet toothers, you can’t have it all!
The Lowest Calorie Vegetarian Option at Red Lobster
There aren’t really any balanced vegetarian options at Red Lobster. On the menu itself, you have only but one option – a Caesar Salad at 520 calories per meal – but it’s going to be low in protein.
Otherwise, you’re going to have to combine some side dishes – maybe a House Salad (110 calories) and a Baked Potato without the butter or salad cream (270 calories). As much as I love RL, it’s not the most veggie-friendly choice I’m afraid.
Can you eat gluten-free at Red Lobster? You can – and if you’re also watching calories, fat or sodium, you’ll want to check out our guide to the healthiest gluten-free choices.
Lowest Calories at Red Lobster at a Glance
So, there’s a pretty good list to pick from up there, but, if you still haven’t found what you fancy. Here’s a breakdown of all the combo main meals you can order from the Red Lobster menu that come under 450, 550 and 600 calories,
Under 450 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Broccoli and Green Beans – 400 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Coleslaw and Broccoli – 420 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with a Side House salad and Broccoli – 420 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with Broccoli and Green Beans – 420 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with Coleslaw and Broccoli – 440 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with a Side House salad and Broccoli – 440 calories
Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers with Broccoli and Green Beans – 450 calories
Under 550 calories
New England Clam Chowder (full) – 470 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with a Side House salad and green beans – 470 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Quinoa Rice and Broccoli – 470 calories
Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers with Coleslaw and Broccoli – 490 calories
Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers with a Side House salad and Broccoli – 490 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with a Side House salad and green beans – 490 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with Quinoa Rice and Broccoli – 490 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Mash and Broccoli – 500 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Quinoa Rice and Green Beans – 520 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with Mash and Broccoli – 520 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with Quinoa Rice and Green Beans – 540 calories
Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers with a Side House salad and green beans – 540 calories
Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers with Quinoa Rice and Broccoli – 540 calories
Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers with Mash and Broccoli – 550 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Mash and Green Beans – 550 calories
Under 600 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Quinoa Rice and Coleslaw – 570 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Quinoa Rice and House Salad – 570 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Mash and Coleslaw – 570 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Mash and Side Salad – 570 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with Mash and Green Beans – 570 calories
Wild Caught Snow Crab Legs (440) with Broccoli and Green Beans – 570 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic) with Jacket Potato and Broccoli – 580 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic Filet Mignon) with Broccoli and a side Caesar Salad – 580 calories
Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers with Quinoa Rice and Green Beans – 590 calories
Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers with Quinoa Rice and Coleslaw – 590 calories
Simply Grilled-Garlic Shrimp Skewers with Quinoa Rice and House Salad – 590 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with Quinoa Rice and Coleslaw – 590 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with Mash and Coleslaw – 590 calories
Wild Caught Snow Crab Legs (440) with Broccoli and Coleslaw – 590 calories
Wild Caught Snow Crab Legs (440) with Broccoli and House Side Salad – 590 calories
Steaks 7.oz Sirloin (Classic) with Mash and House Side Salad – 590 calories
Lobster Bisque Bowl (full)- 600 calories
Steaks 6.oz Filet Mignon (Classic Filet Mignon) with Broccoli and a side Caesar Salad – 600 calories
We have to draw a line somewhere and we choose 600 calories, but a heads up – the Simply Grilled Rainbow Trout with Broccoli and Green Beans, Side Salad or Coleslaw is just a smdigin over our limit!
To sum up…
If you weren’t sure what low calories dishes to eat at Red Lobster, we hope you are now! If you’re favourite Red Lobster meal wasn’t in our guide, it probably means it’s over our calorie cut off. You can find all the calorie content of Red Lobster’s meals by checking out their menu.
That concludes our guide to low calorie meals at Red Lobster. Are you hungry for some seafood? What’s your favourite way to spend your Red Lobster Calories – and, have you ever managed to say no to a Cheddar biscuit? Let us know in the comments.
All images c/o Red Lobster press gallery.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.