Applebee’s oriental grilled chicken salad is a toss green salad served with oriental vinaigrette, crispy noodles, toasted almonds and grilled chicken. The salad is a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals but like many Applebee’s dishes it is also high in calories and fat. Diners should order the salad with a few modifications to improve its nutritive value.
According to Applebee’s, a regular oriental grilled chicken salad has 1,240 calories, 77 g of fat, 12 g of saturated fat, 2,000 mg of sodium, 87 g of carbohydrate, 9 g of fiber and 53 g of protein. A half order contains 690 calories, 42 g of fat, 6 g of saturated fat, 1,340 mg of sodium, 52 g of carbohydrate, 5 g of fiber and 28 g of protein.
According to the federal dietary guidelines an average adult needs 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day. Consuming excess calories leads to weight gain, obesity and chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Applebee’s, like many restaurants across the nation, serves oversized portions that are high in calories and can contribute to overeating. Diners can reduce calories by ordering the half oriental grilled chicken salad which only has 35 percent of a person’s daily calories; the regular size contains 62 percent of an entire days worth of calories.
The American Dietetic Association also encourages diners to share entrees and save half of their entrée to take home for another meal to reduce calories. Eating slowly also prevents overeating because it takes at least 20 minutes for the stomach to feel full.
Adults should consume 60 to 65 g of fat and less than 20 g of saturated fat a day. Fat is high in calories and saturated fat contributes to high cholesterol and heart disease. Applebee’s oriental grilled chicken salad exceeds the recommended daily amount for fat at 118 percent. Diners can decrease the salad’s fat content by ordering it without the oriental vinaigrette or requesting it on the side. A regular salad without the dressing has 19 g of fat and 3 g of saturated fat. Avoiding the dressing also reduces calories by 670. The half salad without dressing only has 360 calories, 13 g of fat and 1.5 g of saturated fat.
The almonds in the oriental grilled chicken salad are a healthy source of unsaturated fat. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which benefit the heart.
The federal guideline for sodium is less than 2,400 mg a day. Consuming too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The oriental grilled chicken salad contains 83 percent of an entire days worth of sodium. Limiting or avoiding the oriental vinaigrette will help reduce sodium. Diners should also refrain from adding salt at the table.
It is OK to eat an occasional meal that is high in calories or fat like Applebee’s oriental grilled chicken salad, but it should be balanced with lower calorie foods throughout the day. Federal guidelines also recommend balancing diet with regular physical activity. The combination of eating too much and not exercising enough leads to weight gain and obesity. Adults should aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days of the week to benefit health and maintain a healthy weight.