Keto-Friendly Meals At TGI Friday’s For Low Carb Dieters
When you think about casual restaurant customers at a place like Friday’s, you might imagine a bunch of frizzy-haired moms desperate for a night off from cooking, or maybe a senior couple enjoying an early-bird special. You probably don’t picture trendy jet-setters beating down the doors, but, once upon a time, TGI Friday’s was the place to see and be seen.
Reading up on TGI Friday’s history is a little like finding out your floral print housecoat-wearing granny was once a pop superstar. You probably would never guess that TGI Friday’s original goal was to create a space for guys to meet airline stewardesses, but that was Alan Stillman’s modest ambition when he opened the first Friday’s in midtown Manhattan in 1965. Before long, there was a line down the block to get in.
Friday’s coolness factor continued to rise, from men showing up in gorilla suits, to opening the first American restaurant in Moscow after the fall of the Iron Curtain, to their World Bartender Championship which now gathers 10,000+ bartenders from around the globe. (The winner from their first competition back in 1985 went on to train Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown for the movie Cocktail, which they also filmed at the original Friday’s location.)
With some 900 restaurants in over 60 countries, you may well find yourself at a TGI Friday’s at some time or other. Their food is tasty and reasonably priced, but it’s the kind of place where lots of hidden carbs lurk.
They do have a ‘gluten-sensitive’ menu which can be useful in ferreting out unwanted carbs, whether or not you’re actually allergic. Friday’sis available online, but you can read the guide below to find your best bets.
Keto-Friendly Appetizers at TGI Friday’s
Pretty carb-y stuff here, with the exception of wings.
- Frank’s RedHot® Buffalo Wings, bone-in (3 net carbs, 39g fat, 71g protein)
- Grilled Wings (3 net carbs, 34g fat, 38g protein)
The Garlic Parmesan are pushing it with 11 net carbs. The BBQ and Whiskey-Glazed are way too carb-y.
As for dips, go with one of the following:
- Blue Cheese, side (1 net carb, 21g fat, 2g protein)
- Ranch, side (1 net carb, 14g fat, 1g protein)
You could also try the Spinach & Queso Dip. It involves breadcrumbs, but you could see if they can leave them off, and ask for celery sticks rather than tortilla chips to use to scoop the dip. No exact carb counts available for modified orders.
Low Carb Burgers at TGI Friday’s
TGI Friday’s has gotten with the program and now serves burgers “green style,” meaning on a lettuce bun. Their burgers are still carbier than the usual, however, and be sure to avoid syrupy sauces, like whiskey-glazed. Fries are out; order the side salad.
- Buffalo Wingman’s Burger, green style (7 net carbs, 50g fat, 45g protein)
- Really Good Cheeseburger (9 net carbs, 55g fat, 33g protein)
- Bacon Cheeseburger, green style (10 net carbs, 43g fat, 35g protein)
- Turkey Burger (10 net carbs, 11g fat, 25g protein)
- Beyond Meat Cheeseburger, green style (12 net carbs) – Unlike most veggie burgers, this one isn’t super-carby. Perfect for vegan keto eaters. (46g fat, 38g protein)
Steak & Ribs at TGI Friday’s For Keto Dieters
A piece of meat and some green vegetables are almost always a safe bet for keto. Ask to replace the mashed potatoes with extra broccoli or a side salad. The Parmesan Butter topping will be fine; pass on the Whiskey Glaze. No exact carb counts available for modified items.
- Center-Cut Sirloin, 6 oz.
- NY Strip, 14 oz.
Keto-Compatible Sandwiches at TGI Friday’s
Most of the sandwiches include breading or sugary glazes. Carb counts not available for modified orders.
- Turkey and Avocado BLT, no bread.
- French Dip, no bread – The roast beef, Swiss cheese and au jus dipping are fine. The onions add a few carbs, but so long as you skip the baguette, it shouldn’t kill your keto.
Low Carb Chicken & Seafood Options at TGI Friday’s
Lots of breading and sweet sauces here. Remember to stick with your basics: meat, veggies and salad. No exact carb counts available.
- Simply Grilled Salmon – Request extra spinach, broccoli or a side salad to replace the rice pilaf.
- Sizzling Chicken & Shrimp (or Cheese) – Other than the mashed potatoes, the ingredients are keto-compatible. You can pick around the onions if you want to save a few carbs. Calories are high, however, at 1100+.
- Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp – Pass on the rice and request extra super veggies.
Sides at TGI Friday’s for the Ketogenic Diet
- Super Veggies (4 net carbs, 0.5g fat, 2g protein)
- Coleslaw (5 net carbs, 8g fat, 1g protein)
- Lemon Butter Broccoli (6 net carbs, 11g fat, 4g protein)
Keto-Friendly Salads at TGI Friday’s
- House Salad, no Breadstick, no dressing (6 net carbs) – Dressings listed below. (4g fat, 5g protein)
- Caesar Salad, no Breadstick (12 net carbs) – This carb count includes the croutons. Leave them off and you’ll get the carbs down near zero. (27g fat, 6g protein)
- Million Dollar Cobb with Grilled Chicken, lunch portion (10 net carbs, 32g fat, 35g protein)
- Chicken Caesar salad with Grilled Chicken and Caesar Dressing, lunch portion (12 net carbs, 29g fat, 24g protein)
- Strawberry Fields with Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, lunch portion (13 net carbs) – Fruit isn’t typically recommended for keto, but if you’ve got a taste for it, this one isn’t too high. (22g fat, 5g protein)
Low Carb Dressings at TGI Friday’s
- Blue Cheese (1 net carb, 21g fat, 2g protein)
- Caesar (1 net carb, 20g fat, 1g protein)
- Green Goddess (1 net carb,11g fat, 1g protein)
- Lemon Soy Vinaigrette (1 net carb, 13g fat, 1g protein)
- Ranch (1 net carb, 14g fat, 1g protein)
- Balsamic Vinaigrette (4 net carbs, 19g fat, 0g protein)
- BBQ Ranch (5 net carbs, 9g fat, 1g protein)
Soups at TGI Friday’s for Low Carb Diets
Not a common choice for keto, but if it’s cold outside and you have a hankering, these shouldn’t kill your keto.
- White Cheddar Broccoli Cheese (16 net carbs, 20g fat, 11g protein)
- Tomato Basil (16 net carbs, 24g fat, 5g protein)
- Chicken Noodle (17 net carbs, 3.5g fat, 11g protein)
Keto-Compatible Breakfast at TGI Friday’s
Did you know they served breakfast? Me neither, but if you do find yourself at a Friday’s for the a.m. meal, no sweat. Breakfast food is always an easy pick for keto eaters: eggs, bacon, cheese, steak, sausage, all of it is low-carb.
Low Carb Drinks at TGI Friday’s
Water, Perrier, coffee, hot or iced tea (unsweetened), or diet soda if you can’t resist. They also have sugar-free Red Bull (3 net carbs), but you probably won’t need that since keto gives you all the energy could ask for. TGI Friday’s also serves alcohol. If you’re there for a celebration, a glass of red wine or a light beer will run you about 5-7 net carbs.
Eating out while sticking to your keto diet is manageable just about anywhere and TGI Friday’s is no exception. Keep in mind, this type of food tends to be high in calories and low on nutrition and should not be a regular feature in any healthy diet.