It’s not hard to find nutrition at Applebees. It is possible to have dinner out, while sticking to a healthy eating plan. The key is to know what your healthy options are.
Nutrition in a Nutshell
Eat a rainbow every day. It may sound silly, but it’s true. Choose fruits and vegetables in a range of colors. It’s fun to have variety and healthy, too.
Nutrition is the science of food and its effect on your health. In order to get the nutrition your body needs, it’s good to have an idea of what that means. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends:
- Whole grains: At least 3 oz. of whole grains daily – that’s about two slices of whole wheat bread, or 1 cup of brown rice.
- Vegetables: Roughly 2-1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables – that’s 3 to 4 servings of vegetables about the size of your fist.
- Fruit: Generally 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit – that’s 2 to 3 servings of fruit about the size of your fist.
- Calcium: 2 to 3 cups per day – milk, cheese, yogurt, pudding
- Meat and Beans: between 2 and 6-1/2 ounces (more for men) – that’s a serving of meat about the size of a pack of cards.
You may be surprised to find that food you didn’t think would be healthy is, in fact, a good nutritional choice. Applebee’s Under 550 Calorie menu items are surprisingly low in fat. Accompanied by steamed vegetables, they are both satisfying and healthy. Lean meat with the fat removed and in moderation provides protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Significantly, meat is both satisfying and filling and may reduce cravings for sweets.
Vegetables and fruits are almost always a good choice.
Large portions. If you’re ordering a meal that comes on a platter rather than a plate, split it with your friend. Also, vegetables, especially salads, smothered in sauces or dressing, dripping with fats, or fried may pack a calorie wallop higher than a lean cut of grilled steak.
What to Look for
Lean cuts of meat in moderate serving sizes. Check the menu for how the food is prepared and ask your server any specific questions you might have. Do they throw a pat of butter on your steak before serving it to make it more flavorful? Do they serve the salad with the dressing already mixed in? Ask how the vegetables are prepared. Make sure they aren’t topped with a last minute dollop of butter or margarine.
What to Avoid
Meats that are breaded, anything fried, sauces and gravies that may be loaded with fat. Always avoid mega portions.
How Having a Plan Can Work for You
Have a plan before you go out to eat at a restaurant. Consider what you’ve had to eat during the rest of the day and order from the menu accordingly. Knowing what’s healthy and what’s isn’t is simple. Have a basic understanding of what your body needs, make a plan and use your common sense.