The land-or-sea smackdown.
There's nothing fishy about lobster's triumph. "Ounce for ounce, it has fewer calories and less fat than even a lean filet of beef," says Stephanie Middleberg, RD, founder of Middleberg Nutrition in New York City. It's especially a good order if you're a member of the Clean Plate Club—finishing the whole thing does zero damage to your diet.
"A lobster tail, at 170 calories, is nature's perfectly packaged portion," Middleberg notes. And while a tail boasting 8 ounces of meat has less protein than a comparably sized slab of steak, you're still getting close to your full recommended daily allowance.
The caveat: That cup of melted butter (300 calories and 21 grams of saturated fat in about 3 tablespoons) will drown out your best intentions. Instead, squeeze on a lemon wedge, then dip your fork in the butter before skewering a piece.
More steakhouse strategies
Go surf or turf
Otherwise you're basically eating two meals. (Steak-and-seafood combos can run upwards of 1,000 cals!)
Be smart about shrimp
Popcorn shrimp are tiny but deep-fried and caloric, as are coconut shrimp. Order a shrimp cocktail to save as many as 400 cals.
Lean up your steak
Ask the server to have it prepared without butter. Most restaurants use a pat (or more) but don't mention so on the menu.
Make it a Manhattan
Clam chowder, that is. At about 90 calories a cup, it's at least 100 calories per cup lighter than the creamy and fatty New England variety.