Walking Guide

Diet Friendly Dining: Applebee's

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The world's largest casual dining chain has started the New Year with items that are 'unbelievably great tasting & under 550 calories'.

Since Applebee's does 'not provide nutritional information on items, except where required by law', it has been difficult to fully review and highlight healthier menu items as part of our ongoing Diet Friendly Dining series.

For several years, the best we have been able to use as a guide at Applebee's has been those entrees highlighted with Weight Watcher POINTS values. For those of us that do not use the POINTS program, it has not been extremely helpful and many times, I simply avoid eating at this restaurant chain. While the new menu items only provide guidance related to calories and doesn't provide other helpful nutrient info such as fat, carbohydrates and sodium, it is better than nothing at all. In our ongoing attempt to arm you with healthier options before you dine away from home, here are some new menu items that may help you keep your meal intake under 500 calories and 15-20 grams of fat or less when you visit Applebee's.

The gang at Hungry Girl have tried the new menu items and say they are all incredible. They also got more detailed calorie information from California menus, which we will pass along here as well to provide more detailed information than provided online by Applebee's.

Asiago Peppercorn Steak – Classic 7 oz grilled sirloin topped with cracked peppercorn and melted Asiago cheese served with steamed herb potatoes and seasonal vegetables for approximately 390 calories.

Grilled Shrimp & Island Rice - Grilled seasoned shrimp skewers on citrus island rice served with seasonal vegetables for a low 290 calories.

Spicy Shrimp Diavolo - A spicy tomato-basil Diavolo sauce with chili-seasoned shrimp tossed with diced vegetables served over whole wheat penne pasta topped with shredded Parmesan provides the highest calorie cost on the new menu with 500 calories.

Grilled Dijon Chicken & Portobellos - Marinated grilled chicken breast topped with toasted red peppers, Portobello mushrooms, Dijon sauce and aged cheddar cheese served with steamed herb potatoes and seasonal vegetables for approximately 450 calories.

Asian Crunch Salad - Grilled chicken breast served over crunchy salad greens, roasted red peppers, sugar snap peas and refreshing cucumbers with a tangy Asian vinaigrette and topped with sliced almonds provides a tasty option at 490 calories.

Will you try the new Applebee's menu? Will you request complete nutrition information when you do – why or why not?

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KATHYJO56 9/15/2017
The recipes have changed at Applebees since this was written Report
USMAWIFE 4/29/2017
applebees is really changing their menus up a lot Report
Good to know! Report
The food at the Glendale, AZ Applebees is so inconsistent. One time it is good, the next it is horrible. I have even been given nearly raw broccoli (instead of steamed) and mushy "roasted" potatoes. after 4 attempts )one good,one so-so and 2 bad) I don't think I will ever go back. Report
Anyone with sodium issues should avoid Applebee's like the plague! Their special calorie controlled menus are great - except the sodium content is so far beyond the daily recommended values that they are killers for those with high blood pressure! Report
Applebee's used to be a great place to go, but it seems like for years they have lost their identity - a change in ownership, constant changes to image and menu choices. The last few times I went there I found the food to be 'blah.'

I am however, intrigued at these recipes and would definitely give them a try. Report
I love thte smothered chicken at Applebee's. I order it without the cheese, and with a take out box. I also have them skip the potatoes and bring me two servings of the vegetables. I weigh out 3 oz. of the chicken and 8 oz. of the vegetables, then whatever is left over goes into the box and I can sit and enjoy my measured meal, and enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day. Economical and healthy, and I have to say that the waitstaff there are the BEST as far as working with me with my scale and not making me feel self-conscious. Report
I probably won't go out to Applebee's again. The last time I was there the food was so incredibly salty. It is nice that they are attempting to appeal to more health conscious patrons. Report
Now that I am tracking what I eat, I am inspired to have something other than boneless buffalo wings as an appetizer and fiesta lime chicken. I think that the bourbon street chicken and shrimp (which I substitute broccoli for potatoes,) is a pretty good option for 640 calories. Not a bad count for a filling meal. Let me add that I tend to concentrate on low carb and I never concern myself with sodium. Oh, and Applebee's does provide nutritional information on all its foods. Report
You can go on Applebee's web site and they have a link for the nutrition. Sadly, even though the "healthy" choices are low in calories, they are still high in sodium. The lowest sodium content is found in the salad dressings, only because of the small amount they allow.......... Report
I find some information is better than none but more is definitely better. I'll put it on the comment card when we make our visit this year. Report
I have read a few of the articles on dining out that have been very helpful. I can say the same here, but not in a good way. Although the calorie counts are present, it's not very helpful if you don't have at least the the fat grams, carbs and proteins. I know sodium is very important to some people and it should be provided, but that is not a deal breaker for me. My sodium tends to run low. I have never salted my food and I drink a lot of water. The only sodium I get is from packaged foods or what is naturally contained in a protein or carb. I will definitely email or contact Applebees and let them know that nutrtional info would gain them customers. Report
Rarely eat out as sodium count is just as important to me as calorie count.
Are these meals cooked from scratch? Mine are. Report
I am not reaaly interested in fast food chains simply because i am very picky when i eat and i don't like processed foods which applebees and other major change are known for ..and if i happen to go to a fast food like wendys or others foods like kentuckey fry and which them cook my order standing right there because so many people in resturants are using the same silverware for eery cusomer and more than half or not clean well when they use a dishwasher....so
i ma very careful when it comes to change resturant and alway have a special order to g inside and watch them ..to make clean that they are making my food requst fresn and clean Report
We ate at Applebee's and ordered one of their 550 or less calorie meals and came home and checked the nutritional values and their sodium content is WAY over the recommended amount as are almost all their choices. Check it out people before you order. Not a healthy place to eat. Report
I used to order the Asiago Peppercorn steak meal all the time--delicious. Once I had an argument with a heavy-set waitress there, about its calorie content. I insisted it was 390 calories, since I had looked it up on-line. She was sure it was 550 since the menu states 550 calories OR BELOW. Obviously--I was right! But now, they have taken it off the menu at my favorite Applebee's. I haven't been there in a couple weeks, so maybe it's back? I sure hope so!! Report
The Applebee's has nutrition information on its website. One thing about the WW menu options is that they are LOADED with salt. I go there quarterly for lunch and learned the the half size Oriental Chicken salad with dressing on the side is the only reasonable dish for a person watching their sodium. Frequently the full salad is a daily special, so ask for half to be "to go, with dressing on the side".
The link is
The Applebee's website offers a link to a downloadable (PDF) nutrition facts sheet. All of the "Under 550 Calorie" options include the sides in the nutrition information.
The Asiago Peppercorn steak meal (steamed potatoes and broccoli sides) is excellent - my favorite at this chain. Report
I really want to try the Asiago Peppercorn Steak, but I am concerned that the steamed herb potatoes arent listed under the nutritional info on the website. Anyone have any idea what the info is on these? Report
I just tried the Asiago Peppercorn Steak, and I have to say it was amazing! I thought it was delicious flavor, and also enjoyed the potatoes and broccoli that I got with it. I thought it was the perfect sized mean, that left me feeling full, but not too full. I would recommend this to anybody that likes steak. Report
The meals are very good and fulling. My husband will even seuggest eating there and order a low calorie meal. Actually his choice is lower in calories than mine. We both get water and our bill is usually around 21.00. Cheap and good...a winning combination Report
Applebees is on my good list. I reward restaurants with healthy menu choices with my business, rare as it might be! Report
I'm inspired to revisit Applebee's -- haven't been there for a long time. Report
Went last night and had the Asagio Steak.....fabulous. It was definitely smaller portions, but I was full and satisfied after finishing. Makes me so happy to see these lower calorie items on the menu. My DH and I will go there again and again! Report
I enjoy Applebee's! Since starting my journey to a healthier lifestyle , I have eaten there twice and have selected the Cajun Lime Tilapia both times. I do not see any reference to the actual calorie count, nor have I found it in any of the nutrition trackers I search. It does contain the WeightWatchers symbol of 6 points, so I believe it is a healthy choice.
Fish, blk bean/corn salsa, small amount of rice and a big side of fresh broccoli cooked to perfection! Very tasty Report
I love the new menu at Applebees. The only things I haven't tried yet are the salad and the shrimp and rice. I haven't eaten anything on the new menu that I haven't liked. Report
I've tried both of the shrimp dishes from this menu and it seems to me that Applebee's just decided to add spice to everything in order to still make this food flavorful but lower-cal than their traditional food. I just thought both dishes were way too spicy (esp. the shrimp diavolo -- it was difficult to eat). Maybe I'll have to try some of the others that don't sound like they would be spicy. Also, after having eaten some of these dishes, I don't think those calorie counts sound right. 290 cals for the shrimp and island rice seems waaaay too low. I appreciate the fact that Applebee's tried, but I haven't been very impressed with their attempt at lower-cal food. Report
I will have to figure out where one is nearby - but I would certainly try these meals. Report
When I go to a restaurant and can't find the nutrition info for something I plug as many of the ingredients (estimating the portions) into the nutrition tracker as I can. That way, at least I have a general idea of what I've been eating. The article about portions on SparkPeople is great for giving you an idea of how much food you're eating when you don't have the ability to measure it all out. Report
I tried the Spicy Shrimp Diavolo and was not impressed. The pasta was overcooked and just didn't taste that great. I'm not a cook and even I could have managed a better meal at home. Perhaps I should have gone with one of the other menu items. Report
I have tried 2 of the under 500 calorie meals at Applebee's and they were both delicious! It's great having a local restaurant that my husband and I can both enjoy without my feeling "guilty" about eating out! The biggest problem I have, of course, is entering the meal in my nutrition tracker!
We ate at Applebee's for Valentine's Day. I had the shrimp diavolo. It was WAY TOO spicy. I ate the shrimp and vegies. And complained about the spiciness. And I like spicy! I would have like more vegies and less pasta. Report
I had the Asiago Peppercorn Steak this week and the Chicken with Portebello Mushroom two weeks ago. (My fiance loves the two for twenty. He still gets it and takes it to work for lunch the next day.) Anyway, both meals where delicious. The chicken and musroom meal was more filling for me and seemed to have more veggies. The red potatoes with the steak are very good. I am a potatoe lover! Hope to try another 550 calorie meal in two weeks. If you are looking for nutritional facts for Applebee's there are some websites out there that give nutritional facts for it and other restuarants and even tell you if the amounts are verified or not. Report
I had the Asiago Steak meal last night and I really enjoyed it. The potatoes were delicious as well as the veggies. Something I would definitely choose again (even when I am done losing!) Those are the best kind of meals because you don't feel like you are compromising. I did the steak at 390 calories but then added calories for the potatoes and the veggies. It came in around 490. Not sure if that is correct, but I hope it is close. I am incredibly disappointed at Applebee's for not being upfront with their nutritional information. I stopped going to the restaurant for 6 months because of it. Report
I tried the Grilled Dijon Chicken & Portobellos. It was great I will try another one when I go back. Report
Like the other herbivore said, there isn't much for vegetarians at Applebee's. They used to have an appetizer veggie pizza that tasted ok but was probably a diet disaster. Other than that I suppose vegetarians could order spinach and artichoke dip but that looks calorific. There is macaroni & cheese or grilled cheese sandwich on the children's menu. Probably not enough food for a hearty eater though.

Applebee's no doubt looses business due to not having vegetarian entrees. Several times I've been with groups where I vetoed their choice of Applebee's because there wasn't anything for me to eat. They could add a veggie burger, pasta primavera, grilled veggie enchiladas, etc. and we'd be happy. Report
I have tried two items at Applebee's that are on the 500 calorie or less menu. Both items were delicous and I would order it again. :) I do not see me asking for the full nutritional information, i just try to take waht I learn and make good decisions. Report
Not an Applebees lover. Report
I have tried the chicken meal, and frankly I'm not convinced that it was under 500 calories. It had a huge portion chicken loaded with cheese and a generous portion of veggies. I would have liked a smaller amount of chicken and more the veggies because they were good. Normally Applebees overcooks their veggies, but these were crisp tender and tasty. For those reasons, I fear that the meal I thought was under 500 calories was more like 900 calories........ Report
I had the Peppercorn steak as well last week and DANIG1081 is so right - they are stingy with the veggies. My friend and I are going again tonight and we will probably add a side salad. But then it becomes rather expensive. But the food was good and I am going to try the chicken tonight. Report
I had the Asiago Peppercorn Steak entree last night and it was WONDERFUL! The steak was a nice size and seasoned very well. The veggies portion was surprisingly skiimpy - my daughter had a regular steak entree and got about 3 times the amount of steamed veggies with her meal that I got with mine. She shared her veggies since she had way more than she cared to eat, which made the portions about right. I don't understand the stingy veggie portions, but all in all, it was a great meal for 390 calories. This will definintely be my GO TO steak dinner out! Report
I will try these, and I will ask for complete nutritional information. Customer demand is powerful. Report
Why wouldn't a company release the nutritional info? Report
Eating the grilled shrimp and island rice now. Sooo good. Not sure if it's really only 290 calories, but it sure tastes great! Report
I've ordered 2 of these dishes at Applebees - Grilled Shrimp w/Island Rice and Grilled Dijon Chicken and Portabellos. Both meals were very tasty, and quite filling. I will definitely order from the 500 calorie menu again. Report
We went there recently and I had the Grilled Dijon Chicken & Portobellos and it was delish! I had found the calorie content on this website before I left, so I knew what to order. Report
We went there recently, and I had the Grilled Dijon Chicken & Portabellos. It tasted great and was filling. A great choice for 450 calories! Report
Not a fan of Applebee's but I will try those entrees when traveling as I will know the calorie counts at least. Wish we could get the full information. Report
My husband & I enjoy Applebee's & will try their new menu items. Report
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