There really is nothing quite like a trip to Applebee’s for dinner. It’s a place where you know you’re going to feast on comfort food, as it’s a truly 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 and simply choose something that won’t derail your entire day, it’s not as easy as you may think.
But there is one dish you’ll want to never order, no matter what. Simply put, it’s bad news. (And be sure to check out What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day to uncover more about what one meal can do to you!)
Now, what exactly is the worst menu item at Applebee’s?
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 can be. 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. Eat bite is stacked with crispy breaded chicken tenders, fresh Asian greens, crunchy rice noodles, and almonds that are all rolled up in a warm flour tortilla. It’s 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 though, you see this entrée serves up 1,180 calories, making it the entrée that is packing the most calories. Most people consume around 2,000 calories for the entire day, so you can see how it’s problematic for one meal to be so highly caloric.
And it doesn’t stop there.
More than 100 grams of fat is what you’ll get here as well, and according to the 2015-2020 American Dietary Guidelines, the average person should consume 78 grams of total fat per day. Plus, the amount of sodium and sugar here is just through the rough. 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 concerning. 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 both lead you to weight gain and puts you at an increased risk of developing 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 truly 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 are 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.