When you head to Applebee's for dinner, you know you're going to feast on comfort food at the. beloved fast-casual dining spot. But, what you might not realize is that the Applebee's menu is crawling with tons of unhealthy meal options. If you're trying to keep on track with your health goals by eating meals that won't derail your entire day, dining here won't be as easy as you may think.
In fact, there's one sneaky dish that looks relatively good for you, but is actually the worst on Applebee's menu. Simply put, it's bad news, and the one dish you should never order. Read on to find out what it is (and for more healthy eating news, be sure to check out What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day).
The worst menu item at Applebee's is the…
Oriental Chicken Salad Wrap
1,810 calories, 109 g fat (19 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 2,690 mg sodium, 173 g carbs (10 g fiber, 37 g sugar), 36 g protein
A wrap and some French fries—it can't be that bad, right? Well, sadly, it is. And Applebee's proves that with the Oriental Chicken Wrap.
This dish takes the chain's beloved Oriental Chicken Salad and serves it up in a wrap, which seems harmless at first glance. Each bite is stacked with crispy breaded chicken tenders, fresh Asian greens, crunchy rice noodles, and almonds—all rolled up in a warm flour tortilla and served with Oriental vinaigrette on the side.
Right away, "crispy breaded chicken" is a red flag, as that's just a nicer way of saying "fried." Taking a closer look at the nutrition breakdown, this entrée serves up 1,810 calories, making it the most caloric entrée on Applebee's menu. Most people consume around 2,000 calories for the entire day, so you can see how problematic this one meal is.
And it doesn't stop there.
This wrap has more than 100 grams of fat, and according to the 2015-2020 American Dietary Guidelines, the average person should consume 78 grams of total fat per day. Plus, the sodium and sugar are through the roof. This one meal contains nearly 2,700 milligrams of sodium, when the average person should be having no more than 2,300 milligrams a day, per The American Heart Association. The fact that it's also serving up more sugar than you would get if you ate eight Oreo cookies is alarming. This is a savory dish, after all, so naturally, you wouldn't expect it to be so high in the sweet stuff.
Knowing that this is a sodium and sugar bomb is reason enough to stay away, as a sodium and sugar-packed diet can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease. (Looking for more helpful tips? Well, your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!)
What should you order from Applebee's instead?
Frankly, there aren't really any healthy options at Applebee's. Many of the menu items are high in calories and have a scary amount of sodium (we're talking dishes with nearly two days' worth of sodium, like the fajitas. Big yikes!).
But, if you're planning on enjoying a meal from Applebee's, you're best bet is to order a side house salad and pair it with a soup, such as the Portsmouth Clam Chowder or the Chicken Tortilla. These are two of the very few menu items that come in at under 1,000 milligrams of sodium.
As long as you treat Applebee's as a sometimes dining location that you aren't frequenting, then go ahead. It's all about balance—and you can make a smart choice while still enjoying your dinner out.