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Healthy Options at Applebee's

by
author image Vita Ruvolo-Wilkes
Vita Ruvolo-Wilkes was first published in 1977. She worked as a certified aerobics and exercise instructor. Upon graduating from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, she worked for the VA Medical Center. As a physician assistant, Ruvolo-Wilkes designed specialized diets for her patients' conditions and has written a monthly health column in the "Montford Newsletter."
Healthy Options at Applebee's
Friends are eating out at a restaurant. Photo Credit Nick White/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Overview

Operating as Applebee’s Services, Incorporated since early 1980, Applebee’s has grown to nearly 2,000 restaurants in the United States and abroad. This casual, family-friendly restaurant has made strides in providing the health-conscious diner with tempting, low-calorie meals. Its menu includes a number of special dishes, under 550 calories, that don’t scrimp on portion size. In addition, Applebee’s make substitutions, such as grilling chicken or fish instead of frying; serving a salad, vegetables or fruit instead of mashed or french fried potatoes or fried onion rings; serving whole-wheat buns instead of white bread; and serving sauces and dressings on the side.

Chicken

Applebee’s Grilled Dijon Chicken and Portobellos consists of marinated, grilled chicken breast topped with roasted red peppers, onions, Portobello mushrooms, Dijon sauce and aged cheddar cheese. Served with herb potatoes and seasonal vegetables, this meal has fewer than 550 calories. The secrets to this meal’s healthiness include grilled chicken, peppers, onions and mushrooms instead of fried or creamed; a Dijon sauce that has a low-calorie mustard base that adds a punch of flavor; and herbed seasoned boiled potatoes and vegetables instead of creamed or butter-laden versions. This dish has less than a quarter of the fat of the Fiesta Lime Chicken.

Meat

Once considered off the menu for people watching their figures, you can enjoy beef with less guilt at Applebee’s. Its Asiago Peppercorn Steak comes packed with flavor, not calories. The chefs take a lean 7-oz. sirloin steak, grill it and top it with cracked peppercorns and melted asiago cheese. It comes with steamed red potatoes and a mound of seasonal vegetables. This filling feast comes to 390 calories. The peppercorns and small amount of melted cheese give it a zesty flavor. The steamed potatoes and vegetables, seasoned gently, do not come in a pool of butter or cream sauce. While the dish has 14g fat, it's far less than other steak options.

Seafood

One of Applebee’s two shrimp offerings of less than 550 calories, Spicy Shrimp Diavolo, appeals to those who have a yen for hot and spicy cuisine. This dish features shrimp and diced tomatoes tossed with a spicy tomato-basil, diavolo sauce spiked with chili-seasoning. Spreading the shrimp mixture over a bed of warm whole-wheat penne pasta, the cooks then sprinkle it with a flurry of Parmesan cheese. Once again, Applebee’s goes big on flavor. The spicy diavolo sauce is tomato based, with chopped tomatoes cooked without meat so it stacks up in the low-calorie department. Shrimp, without breading or frying, provides ample protein. The savvy idea to use whole-wheat pasta, added a complex carb with fiber and protein.

Salads

An Applebee’s original creation, the Asian Crunch Salad, loads grilled chicken breast and crunchy salad greens with roasted red peppers, onions, sugar snap peas and cucumbers. To finish the feast, tangy Asian vinaigrette dressing, sliced almonds and cilantro complete this Asian treat of 490 calories. A great example of how Applebee’s adds ingredients to please the dieter, this dish’s crunchiness extends eating time while satisfies the urge to munch. Every ingredient boasts wholesomeness, from the vegetables to the antioxidant-rich almonds.

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