- Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar has plenty of healthy items on their menu.
- The shrimp wonton stir fry and the cedar salmon are two menu items that dietitians often turn to.
- All the dietitians swap out fried sides with veggies.
Although Applebee’s is a chain restaurant and often associated with creative and affordable drinks, the neighborhood joint also boasts some dietitian-approved meals. With options including lean proteins and vegetables, healthy diners can find something on the menu at Applebee’s.
INSIDER spoke with seven dietitians to find out what they order when they dine at Applebee’s.
This protein-loving dietitian likes to dine on fish, steak, and veggies.
- Jeff Greenberg / Contributor
Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of NutritionStarringYOU and author of “The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club,” told INSIDER there are a number of tasty and lower-calorie items available at Applebee’s.
“I order a Thai shrimp salad sans the crispy wonton strips and dressing on the side (I always like to fork-dip my dressing), with a soup such as chicken tortilla or tomato basil,” said Harris-Pincus.
She also said a meal surprisingly lower in calories is a 6-ounce top sirloin with two veggies like steamed broccoli and garlicky green beans or fire grilled vegetables. She added that the cedar salmon with maple-mustard glaze is a good choice paired with any two veggies.
This dietitian said there’s one menu item in particular that is a winning choice.
Kelsey Peoples, MS, RDN, and owner of The Peoples Plate, said she always looks for foods that are relatively low-calorie but also high in nutrients. That’s why she told INSIDER one of her favorites is the cedar salmon.
“It’s loaded with over 35 grams of protein to keep you satiated, and salmon is a wonderful source of healthy unsaturated fats like omega-3s, which your body needs to get from the diet as it can’t produce on its own,” she added.
In addition to the salmon, she said to round out your meal by choosing low-calorie, high-nutrient sides like steamed broccoli, green beans, or house salad.
Finding a balanced plate is what this dietitian goes for when eating out.
- Jennifer F./Yelp
Katie Hake, a registered dietitian at Indiana University, told INSIDER that the best strategy for eating out is to find a balanced plate.
“If you can aim to get a protein, carbohydrate, fat, and veggie, you will most likely feel both full and satisfied after meal time without feeling the need to overeat,” she explained.
That said, Hake likes to order the grilled chicken wonton tacos, cedar salmon, steak with broccoli and mashed potatoes, or any of the lunch combos that pair a salad with a sandwich or pasta or wrap.
This dietitian likes a side of veggies rather than fried sides.
- Jeff Greenberg / Contributor
Jessi Holden, MS, RDN, CSOWM, founder of the blog Nutrition Brewed, told INSIDER her recommendations include the bourbon street chicken and shrimp since it’s full of lean, delicious proteins and a veggie for the side (roasted potatoes) instead of fried sides. She also said to try the cedar salmon with maple-mustard glaze.
“Fish is an excellent way to get omega 3’s, protein, and a good source of calcium too,” she explained. But her number one go-to is the shrimp wonton stir-fry.
“I love shrimp when I go out to eat. Stir-fry is my favorite style of food, and I love the added crunch from the wontons,” she told INSIDER.
Salads are a fan favorite for this dietitian.
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Rebecca Stib, RD, and founder of dietitian thyme, told INSIDER that it’s best to start with lots of veggies like a side salad. Her favorites at Applebee’s are the Caesar, house, or golden wedge salad.
“Salads are low in calories, and depending on the salad, offer a surprising amount of protein,” she explained. But her favorite main dish is shrimp wonton stir fry.
“It’s a well-balanced meal with grains, protein, and veggies; however, Applebee’s portions are huge, so don’t forget to take half of it home with you,” she added.
This dietitian snacks on artichoke dip but prefers veggies to add a fresh crunch to balance the heavy dip.
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Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RD, creator of the 2B Mindset loves the spinach artichoke dip, and almost always orders it when she’s eating with company.
But instead of eating the chips that usually come with the dip, Muhlstein told INSIDER that she asks the server to replace them with lots of carrot and celery sticks. To round out her meal, she likes to order the cedar-maple salmon or a 6-ounce steak. For the side, she substitutes the starchy side for extra broccoli or the tomato basil soup.
This dietitian switches between soup and salad and a lean protein meal.
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Aimee Sarchet, RDN, owner of Nutrition Elevated told INSIDER that she likes the cedar-grilled lemon chicken, cedar salmon with maple-mustard glaze, or the Thai shrimp salad.
“At least one-third of the dish is devoted to a non-starchy vegetable with the addition of a protein and carbohydrate source,” she explained.
When she wants a lighter option, Sarchet orders a small Caesar salad and the tomato-basil soup.
“This lighter option allows me to save room for sharing an appetizer or dessert with others,” she added.