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10 Best & Worst Dishes At Applebee's

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but depending on what's brought to your table, too many trips to Applebee's could do just the opposite.
Applebees Times Square.jpg

It's time to leave those days of panic ordering in the past. The next time your Applebee's server asks what you want, you'll know exactly what to get—and what not to. That's right, no more asking for a salad because it's probably a healthy choice or giving in to your carb cravings because you can't decide. But don't just make the right choice at this one place. Read up on The #1 Worst Menu Option at 41 Popular Restaurants to make sure you're prepared for every night out.

First…The Worst!

Applebee's calls itself your friendly neighborhood bar and grill, but these menu items are far from friendly for your waistline. Avoid these calorie bombs next time you visit the restaurant.


Classic Buffalo Sauce Buffalo Wings

applebees buffalo wings

880 calories, 56 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 4,310 mg sodium, 55 g carbs (5 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 40 g protein

These wings aren't that bad if you order them without any sauce, but no one wants a plate as plain as that! Unfortunately, adding flavorful buffalo sauce brings this Applebee's appetizer up to 56 grams of fat and almost double your recommended daily dose of sodium. Tell your server to keep the water coming if you order this—or just skip it altogether. 40 grams of protein isn't worth that nutrition label. If you really want chicken, stay at home and pick from these 35 Healthy Chicken Recipes For Weight Loss.


Chicken Tenders Basket

applebees chicken tenders

1,150 calories, 66 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 2,740 mg sodium, 101 g carbs (7 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 40 g protein

We're noticing a trend here. While we're grilled chicken's number one fan, we don't feel the same way about the breaded variety. And it's not hard to see why with a look at the 1,150 calories in this single chicken tenders entree. Not to mention that polishing it off will almost completely knock out your recommended saturated fat intake for the day. According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, reducing this number could reduce your risk of heart disease, which makes this menu item a clear Not That!


Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad

applebees grilled chicken salad

1,280 calories, 74 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 2,020 mg sodium, 108 g carbs (11 g fiber, 65 g sugar), 49 g protein

What could be wrong with a grilled chicken salad? Apparently, a lot when it comes to the Applebee's menu. We don't know what's bothering us the most about this meal—the quadruple-digit calories, the nearly full daily dose of sodium, or the 74 grams of fat. But if you decide to eat it anyway, do better by your bod and don't smell it. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, found that the odor of what we eat influences how our metabolism deals with it. In their study, mice with a better sense of smell burned off less fat when eating fatty foods. So try to avoid eating (or smelling) The 20 Worst Restaurant Salads In America, too.


Salsa Verde Beef Nachos

applebees salsa verde beef nachos

1,750 calories, 117 g fat (50 g saturated fat), 6,050 mg sodium, 107 g carbs (8 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 70 g protein

According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, even one high-fat meal can harm your liver because of its high saturated fat content. Loading up on fats means your liver produces more glucose and raises your blood sugar, as well as becomes more at risk of disease. So next time you're tempted to order this plate of Applebee's nachos, just imagine what an appetizer with almost 120 grams of fat and 50 grams of the saturated stuff is going to do to your insides.


New England Fish And Chips

applebees fish chips

1,990 calories, 137 g fat (24 g saturated fat), 4,540 mg sodium, 134 g carbs (10 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 55 g protein

This dish comes so close to hitting 2,000 calories and double your recommended daily sodium that we're almost disappointed. But while we respect this plate of fish and chips for what it is—bad for your bod—we'd never order it. A study in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases found that those who consumed fried foods four times a week had an increased obesity risk. With the nutrition label on these fried fish, that doesn't surprise us. If you're smart, you'll swim away!

And Now…The Best!

Just because you're eating out doesn't mean you have to totally blow your day's worth of fat or calories. Order these healthier options to stay on track while you're dining out.


Classic Burger

applebees classic burger

630 calories, 33 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 1,030 mg sodium, 44 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 41 g protein

If you're wondering how this fatty burger ended up on the "best" side of our list, bear with us. When it comes to ordering at Applebee's, you're lucky to find something under 1,000 calories with less than a day's worth of sodium, which is why we're considering this a win! Just don't make this a diet staple; according to a study published in BMJ, eating red meat is linked to an increased risk of all cause mortality and death. So seriously, order this once in a blue moon.


Cedar Grilled Lemon Chicken

applebees cedar grilled lemon chicken

580 calories, 26 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 2,5440 mg sodium, 48 g carbs (5 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 42 g protein

The same study that associated red meat with a higher death risk found that that risk was actually reduced when white meat was subbed in. That means you can feel better about ordering this grilled lemon chicken. Sure, it's got more sodium than you should be consuming all day long, on top of 26 grams in fat, but that being said, it's high in protein and relatively low in calories as far as Applebee's is concerned. You'll find that ordering the right stuff comes with a lot of give and take, so take your chicken craving elsewhere if you can. We've got Every Item At Chick-Fil-A—Ranked! to help you out.


Thai Shrimp Salad

applebees thai shrimp salad

390 calories, 21 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 1,670 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (8 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 23 g protein

Don't worry, this salad is leaps and bounds better than the last one we showed you. Made up of simply lettuce, shrimp, edamame, almonds, plus a peanut sauce and chili lime vinaigrette combo, it's refreshingly low in calories. But while it's a relatively guilt-free option, that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep an eye on your sodium and fat intake for the rest of the day after licking your plate clean.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

applebees chicken tortilla soup

180 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 760 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 8 g protein

If you're not feeling crazy hungry, don't you dare look at the appetizer section; the calorie counts are higher than you'd expect for those smaller portions. Instead, opt for the chicken tortilla soup for some white meat and metabolism-boosting spice. It may not fill you up all the way, but it definitely won't fill you out.


Pepper-Crusted Sirloin And Whole Grains

applebees sirloin whole grains

380 calories, 13 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 1,850 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (6 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 30 g protein

Now this is what we're talking about! Ignore the sodium for a second and this becomes a low-cal, high-protein meal anyone can feel good about ordering. It is featured on the menu's "Lighter Fare" section, after all. Dig into a mix of steak, whole grains, and veggies in a light broth, then see if a dish as good as this was enough to boost Applebee's spot on our list of Top Chain Restaurants In America Ranked By Health.