Order This, Not That: Applebee's

Take a look at the best and worst dishes to order at Applebee's.

Photo by: Leigh Beisch ©2013 Leigh Beisch

Leigh Beisch, 2013 Leigh Beisch

This neighborhood grill and bar is a convenient spot to take the family any night of the week. But does it offer the healthy choices you and your family deserve?

Order: If you need an appetizer, your best bet is to choose a warming bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup. It’s a touch high on the sodium, but it contains only 240 calories. If you’re really craving a finger-food app, then select the Grilled Chicken Wonton Tacos to split with a friend. These are spicy chicken-stuffed wonton shells with slaw and cilantro.

Per dish (Grilled Chicken Wonton Tacos): Calories 490; Fat 15 g (Saturated 3 g); Sodium 1,720 mg; Carbohydrates 48 g

Skip: Skip the Brew Pub Pretzels & Beer Cheese Dip, where the pretzels and cheesy dip are providing little or no nutrition. Not only are the calories insanely high in this appetizer, but the sodium is also through the roof.

Per dish: Calories 1,060; Fat 45 g (Saturated 15 g); Sodium 3,120 mg; Carbohydrate 131 g

Order: The Thai Shrimp Salad (pictured at top) has far fewer calories than any of the other choices. It’s an oriental salad blend with almonds and edamame, tossed in a chili lime vinaigrette and topped with shrimp, wonton strips, peanut sauce and fresh cilantro. To help cut back on the sodium, request the dressing on the side.

Per dish: Calories 390; Fat 19 g (Saturated 3 g); Sodium 1,490 mg; Carbohydrate 93 g

Skip: The Oriental Chicken Salad may seem like a similar healthy pick, but this mixture of greens tossed in a vinaigrette and topped with crispy noodles, toasted almonds and fried chicken is a calorie and sodium bomb. The grilled version has 110 fewer calories but a whopping 2,270 milligrams of sodium.

Per dish: Calories 1,390; Fat 97 g (Saturated 15 g); Sodium 1,600 mg; Carbohydrate 93 g

Order: If you’re looking for some lighter dishes, the Pub Diet menu is the place to look, with options all under 600 calories. The lightest dish on the menu is the Pepper Crusted Sirloin with Whole Grains. It’s a perfect way to take in your daily dose of whole grains and vegetables, including sauteed spinach and fire-roasted tomatoes.

Per dish: Calories 370; Fat 10 g (Saturated 4 g); Sodium 1,540 mg; Carbohydrate 43 g

Skip: Many of the burgers top the 1,000-calorie mark, but the worst offender in this category is the fish and chips (who would have guessed?). The Hand-Battered Fish & Chips are fried white fish fillets served with fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce. If you’re craving fried fish, you can make a healthier version at home tomorrow.

Per dish: Calories 1,970; Fat 136 g (Saturated 24 g); Sodium 4,180 mg; Carbohydrate 134 g

Order: Applebee’s solved the problem of huge desserts by offering some smaller selections, such as the Blue Ribbon Brownie Bite and the Hot Fudge Sundae Dessert Shooter. Of the two, the brownie bite has the fewest calories.

Per dish (Brownie Bite): Calories 380; Fat 18 g (Saturated 9 g); Sodium 220 mg; Carbohydrate 52 g

Skip: The Blue Ribbon Brownie is a luscious, moist brownie with chunks of dark chocolate, nuts and hot fudge served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. If you really want it, make sure to share it with at least three people!

Per dish: Calories 1,670; Fat 78 g (Saturated 40 g); Sodium 950 mg; Carbohydrate 220 g

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

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