I’ve always been happy to get any kind of nutritional information from casual dining restaurants; although I remain suspicious of restaurants that only promote their “healthy” choices as having less than a certain number of calories. I mean, let’s be realistic, they know the full nutritional content of these dishes, so why can’t they just list it on their menus or in their promotional materials? I’m thinking, what aren’t they telling me?
And unfortunately my suspicions were confirmed when California restaurants started listing their nutritional content on their menus. Most of this information is now available online too, so I decided to check out a few of the unknowns. And I almost fainted when I looked at the Applebee’s offerings. Seriously.
Applebee’s has two types of “healthy” eating entrees; their Weight Watchers items and their Under 550 calories entrees. And all are chucky jammed packed with sodium. Here’s a sampling.
Chipotle Lime Chicken
490 Calories – 4990 mg. sodium
Spicy Pineapple Glazed Shrimp & Spinach
310 Calories – 1690 mg. sodium
Cajun Lime Tilapia
350 mg. sodium – 1640 mg. sodium
Under 550 Calories
Teriyaki Shrimp Pasta
440 calories – 3410 mg. sodium
Signature Sirloin with Garlic Shrimp
500 calories – 2440 mg. sodium
Grilled Shrimp & Island Rice
370 calories – 1990 mg. sodium
Asiago Peppercorn Steak
390 calories – 1520 mg. sodium
Grilled Dijon Chicken and Portabellas
450 calories – 1790 mg. sodium
Although they are low in calories, even the lowest sodium entree is still above my recommended daily intake of 1500 mg. And let’s be real, that’s probably not the only thing you’re going to eat that day — or at least it shouldn’t be.
I don’t know what Applebee’s is doing to their food, but I expect they pile on the salt, because their menu items seem to all be on the high side sodium wise. And you don’t have to add sodium when you take out the calories.
Take Mimi’s Cafe Fit and Fresh offerings, for example. Their Fit and Fresh Broiled Salmon with Steamed Veggies has only 461 calories and 217 mg. sodium. And their Fit and Fresh Sweet and Sour Chicken has 555 calories and 259 mg. sodium.
So I guess Applebee’s is off my approved list until they come up with some truly healthy entrees. I’m not holding my breath though. On the plus side, their competition is certainly filling the void — and that’s a very good thing.