Eating to Live on the Outside: Luby's

This week Eating to Live on the Outside takes a look at Luby’s. Now, prior to today I’d never heard of Luby’s, so I didn’t know what expect. When I first visited their website it seemed to me that Luby’s was just another restaurant along the same lines as Friday’s, Perkins, The Office, Bennigan’s, etc., but, a closer examination revealed something different.

Something better? Well Luby’s is no Baja Fresh or Just Salads, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be lumped into the same category as Sizzler, Friendly’s, or Denny’s. So if standard American restaurants are on one side and healthy eateries like the Go Raw Café are on the other, I’d put Luby’s a few clicks down from the healthy. Luby’s looks like what would happen if a typical America restaurant were to ratchet up the healthiness of their food. The best way to explain what I mean is to take a look at menu, so, let’s check it out.

The first two menu items that snagged my attention were the Pan Grilled Tilapia and the Lemon Basil Salmon, under the “Classic Combos” section. Now if you’ve been keeping up with this series you know that I am not hardcore anti-meat. I eat meat once, occasionally twice a week, and it’s usually fish, but when fish isn’t around I’ll substitute chicken or turkey. I’m sure some Eat to Livers might not agree with this, but it works for me. In this case salmon and tilapia certainly work for me because, as I’ve mentioned many times before, Dr. Fuhrman regards salmon and tilapia as a low risk for mercury contamination.

Now even though these fish sound tasty, what really caught my eye were the sides that come along with them. Unlike many of American restaurants, Luby’s actually lets you pick the sides that accompany your dish, this way you’re not at the mercy of the chef. Trust me, this is a good thing. Luby’s sides, for the most part, are pretty health conscious. Here are the ones I’d order: broccoli, carrots, cabbage, corn, spinach, pinto beans, pineapple, fresh green beans, black-eyed peas, mixed field greens, mixed melons, and marinated cucumbers. Compared to the sides of many standard American restaurants, Luby’s offerings kick butt!

In fact, if you didn’t feel comfortable ordering an entrée, you could easily put together a nutrient-rich meal from just the sides. And guess what? Luby’s encourages this! If you flip over to the “Salads & More” section of the menu you’ll see special prices if you order three or four sides as your meal. Pretty cool right? As much as I like fish I think this is the way to go. So if I were piecing together a four-side meal I think I’d go with broccoli, spinach, fresh green beans, and pineapple. What would you do?

Perhaps the best thing about Luby’s is the section of the menu entitled “Healthy Eating.” Here they give you suggestions to make your meal even healthier, like “Choose poultry and remove the skin” and “Ask for sauces and gravies on the side.” This is really wonderful, it tells me Luby’s is a place that cares about their patrons’ health, and they don’t just want you to gorge yourself silly on Potato Skinny Dippers, Fried Green Beans, Fried Macaroni & Cheese or whatever else most standard American restaurants spend time concocting—hats off to you Luby’s!

And don’t forget the feedback! Tell us what you might have done differently or what you agree with. Check out Luby's menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at
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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Sabra - October 15, 2006 10:42 PM

Best thing about Luby's: LuAnn Platter. (If you've ever seen King of the Hill, you now get that joke.) It has smaller portions.

However, the issue with Luby's is that the food is served cafeteria-style. This means that it's often sitting out for a little while. If you'd ever seen the fish in person, as I have, you'd understand why it so rarely is eaten. It's distinctly unappetizing.

And their servers (such as they are; they really just bring drink refills) have a nasty habit of forgetting that you're drinking unsweet tea.

The Mommy Blawger - October 16, 2006 11:10 PM

Where are you from that you are not familiar with the concept of a "cafeteria"?

Nina - February 1, 2007 2:36 PM

I have been going to Luby's since I was 5 years old and I am now 25 years old! It has been a family tradition to eat at Luby's every Sunday after church! We love lubys and its the best healthy place! My family and I have had no issues with the food or customer service!! Luby's has great food and the best customer service! THANK GOD FOR LUBYS!!!!!

Mel - April 16, 2007 9:51 PM

You must be awfully young to have never heard of Luby's before. I had never heard of it before August of 1991, but since then, I have never forgotten Luby's!

Clay - June 24, 2007 2:06 AM

I work at Luby's as a server, but I dont not forget what tea you ordered.
Luby's is the only place I would eat at after i have seen the kitchen, we keep it clean and sparkling. It is a very good place to work at, so come by and see us. Plus Its good home-cooked food that taste delicious.

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