Last Updated on December 21, 2017 by Jen Kristensen
Fast food joints are generalized by food critics as having only grease, sodium, and other unhealthy content and zero nutrition in the food items found in their menus. Applebee’s is no exception, albeit this family-friendly casual dining restaurant has made big strides when it comes to the development of low-calorie, nutritious, and healthy dishes with 550 calories or less.
Fish and chicken are grilled instead of fried, fried onion rings or French fries are replaced with salads, vegetables, and fruits, whole wheat bread is served instead of the white variety, and dressings and serving sauces are made with less sodium and fat and without additives, artificial food coloring or preservatives. Here’s a quick look at what Applebee’s healthier options offer customers.
Grilled Dijon Chicken and Portobello
Previously marinated chicken breast is grilled, topped with onions, Portobello mushrooms, roasted sweet red peppers, aged Cheddar cheese and Dijon mustard sauce. This is served with seasonal vegetables and herb potatoes and registers at 130 calories because the chicken is grilled instead of creamed or fried and the vegetables are herbed seasoned instead of sautéed in butter.
Asiago Peppercorn Steak
You can eat steak at Applebee’s without the guilt. A hundred grams of lean sirloin is grilled and topped with melted asiago cheese and cracked peppercorns. Served with steamed red potatoes and seasonal vegetables, this steak is a flavorful, filling feast at an unbelievable 380 calories. The 14 grams of fat that comes with it is really far less than most steak options.
Spicy Shrimp Diavolo
At 500 calories, this dish packs a wallop of protein from shrimp, antioxidants from diced tomatoes and calcium from Parmesan cheese. If you are on a 2,000-calorie every day, this shrimp mixture, tossed with Diavolo sauce made of tomato, basil, and chili, on a bed of whole wheat penne can fill you up nicely until dinner time with carbohydrates from the pasta to give you energy.
Asian Crunch Salad
Grilled chicken breast, crunchy greens, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, roasted sweet red peppers, and onions are tossed in tangy Asian vinaigrette, cilantro, and sliced almonds to give you only 490 calories. This original Applebee’s creation’s crunch extends your meal consumption time and cuts out other cravings. Plus, the almonds give you antioxidants while you munch them.
Weight Watchers has endorsed several food items on Applebee’s menu. The restaurant has also launched their “Under 550 Calories Menu.” Yes, some of the items on the regular menu still contain a lot of fat, sodium, carbohydrates, and calories, but here are some items that you can stick to when visiting Applebee’s so you can maintain nutrition and health in your diet:
- Signature Sirloin with Garlic Herb Shrimp has 500 calories, 31 grams carbohydrates, 21 grams total fat, eight grams saturated fat, and 2,440 milligrams sodium.
- Sizzling Chili Lime Chicken has 470 calories, 56 grams carbohydrates, ten grams total fat, three grams saturated fat, and 1,970 milligrams sodium.
- Weight Watchers Cabernet Mushroom Sirloin has 1,980 milligrams sodium, 39 grams carbohydrates, five grams saturated fat, 15 grams total fat, and 460 calories.
- Weight Watchers Grilled Jalapeño-Lime Shrimp has 43 grams carbohydrates, one gram saturated fat, 2,950 milligrams sodium, six grams total fat, and 300 calories.
- Weight Watchers Creamy Parmesan Chicken has six grams saturated fat, 35 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams total fat, 1,510 milligrams sodium, and 470 calories.
What to Avoid
Yes, everything still has a lot of sodium, but given that the menu has more unhealthy choices than those listed, they are already your best bets over “greater evils.” And speaking of “evils,” here are the top three items on the menu that you should avoid or completely not even think about ordering, no matter how tempting they look:
- Cheeseburger Sliders: this “appetizer” can pass off as your whole meal with a whopping 1,270 calories, 81 grams total fat, and enough sodium for a day’s consumption!
- Sizzling Smokehouse Chicken Stack: 1,170 calories with 59 grams total fat and an incredible amount of sodium that may well worth be a two-day consumption of 3,030 milligrams!
- New England Fish and Chips: with 3,180 milligrams of sodium, this innocent-sounding concoction can give you kidney failure even if you eat infrequently! Additionally, it has 1,930 calories and 138 grams total fat!
As part of their effort to encourage customers to eat healthier, Applebee’s website offers several tips:
- Opt for reduced-fat sauces and dressings.
- Ask the server to serve these sauces and dressings on the side.
- Choose entrées from the Under 550 Calories menu,
- Substitute onion rings, mashed potatoes or French fries with side salads, fresh fruits, and steamed vegetables.
- Select entrées from the Weight Watchers-endorsed items.
- Order half portions of the Signature Salads.
- Ask the server to substitute any fried shrimp or chicken with the grilled version instead.