Applebee's promotes that they're a neighborhood restaurant that uses fresh ingredients and they tout the benefits of their Under 550 Calories menu. And though the restaurant chain has done a lot of work to give healthy options--like having Weight Watchers endorsed menu items--there are still several items you should definitely stay away from.
DON'T EAT: Appetizer Sampler
This behemoth of an appetizer is meant to share, however there are plenty of better first course choices on the menu. Stacking up between 2,300 and 2,460 calories, with up to 160 grams of fat (depending on which items you choose), this will set you back hours and reps in the gym.
INSTEAD EAT: The better choice here is the Grilled Chicken Wonton Tacos or even the Classic Wings in Southern BBQ or sweet and spicy sauces. The tacos are a safe 610 calories and pretty low in total (27 grams) and saturated fat (5 grams) content The wings will set you back 660 to 690 calories and have a moderate 35 grams and nine grams of fat and saturated fat, respectively.
DON'T EAT: Chicken Fried Steak Meal
Sometimes you need to eat that food for your soul. Cook that at home and avoid this country fried fiasco. This entire meal comes in at 1,200 calories, 59 fat grams and almost 4,000 milligrams of sodium. It is the worst steak option on the menu that you can get.
INSTEAD EAT: Opt instead for the protein and omega-3 packed steak and grilled shrimp combo. Choose vegetables without butter as your sides to avoid unnecessary fat content.
DON'T EAT: Riblets Platter
Ribs are pretty bad for you any way you slice them, plus you know how when you eat them and get sauce up to your elbows and up around your eyebrows? No one likes that. Avoid the platter and you'll stay away from up to 1,810 calories, almost 90 grams of total fat, and a headache inducing 5,000 milligrams of sodium.
INSTEAD EAT: If you want to brave the barbecue sauce, try the double glazed half rack. You'll still pay the price at about 900 calories, but at least you'll feel a little more health conscious if you choose a garden salad as your side.
DON'T EAT: Crispy Orange Chicken
I'm outing myself here. I love this dish. However, it doesn't love me or anyone else for that matter back. The Crispy Orange Chicken is the worst chicken dish calorie-wise on the menu at a staggering 1,520 calories with 208 grams of carbs. (Fat-wise, the Chicken Parmesan Stack is the worst with 72 grams of fat.)
INSTEAD EAT: If the bird is the word for your dinner craving, try the grilled chicken Caesar salad, half portion. Trust me on this one!
DON'T EAT: Hand Battered Fish and Chips
Applebee's has several great health conscious options for like-minded patrons. This isn't one of them. Plenty of seafood options exist that are WAY better than the hand battered fish and chips. Here's the skinny on the fat...almost 1,600 calories, 105 grams of fat and 108 grams of carbs. Just. Steer. Clear.
INSTEAD EAT: The blackened tilapia has only 410 calories, an entire 75 percent less than the fish and chips.
Remember to check out their Weight Watchers and Under 550 Calories menus for the best option when dining at Applebee's. They are very good at highlighting these items, and the menu is laid out so that they are easy to find. And make sure to look at their nutrition information before Seeing Them Tomorrow.
Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement
and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports
Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as
well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University
of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous collegiate and amateur
athletes across many different fields. Ryan also has had the opportunity
to work with several professional athletes. Recently he has worked with
amateur and professional athletes within the emerging sport of Mixed
Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can contact Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.