If you're a foodie on a ketogenic journey, you've probably experienced the exhilarating highs of finding keto-friendly options at your favorite restaurants. But what about the frustrating lows of being met with a limited selection? Well, there's a shining beacon of hope amidst the culinary chaos – Applebee's!
This neighborhood eatery has etched into our hearts and palates, from unforgettable family gatherings to after-work hangouts. But what happens when you've committed to the low-carb, high-fat lifestyle? That once familiar menu now feels like an enigma, leaving you with questions like, “Can I still indulge in those sizzling ribs or savory steaks without derailing my ketosis?
Let's dive in and tell you everything there is to know about keto at Applebee's!
Applebee's is a renowned and well-established restaurant chain that has earned its place as a favorite among diners across the United States. With a rich history dating back to its founding in 1980, it has grown to become a prominent name in the casual dining industry, offering a welcoming and family-friendly atmosphere that attracts patrons of all ages. Over the years, Applebee's has expanded its footprint, with numerous locations spanning various states across the US.
One of the key factors contributing to Applebee's popularity is its diverse and extensive menu. The restaurant offers an array of appetizers, entrees, salads, and desserts, ensuring something for everyone. Whether you're a fan of classic American dishes or crave international flavors, Applebee's has you covered. So, for those seeking healthier options, the menu includes a selection of nutritious salads and dishes prepared with wholesome ingredients.
Applebee's also provides a range of delectable dishes catering to diverse tastes, from juicy burgers and sizzling steaks to flavorful pasta and mouthwatering seafood. Overall, Applebee's has established itself as a beloved restaurant chain for its welcoming ambiance, exceptional service, and diverse menu options catering to a wide range of dietary preferences.
The ketogenic diet, aka keto diet, is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate dietary approach in which the body uses fats as its primary fuel source. The keto diet's main goal is to induce a metabolic state known as ketosis. In ketosis, the body produces molecules called ketones from fats in the liver, which are then utilized as an alternative energy source by the brain and muscles.
So, the keto diet drastically reduces carbohydrate intake and replaces it with healthy fats, thereby reducing insulin levels. Typically, the macronutrient distribution in a standard keto diet is around 70-75% fats, 20-25% protein, and only 5-10% carbohydrates.
Now, let's take a look at the different food options you can eat at Applebee's when on a keto diet:
- Low-carbohydrate foods: Prefer non-starchy vegetables (e.g., leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower), avocados, nuts, and seeds due to their lower carbohydrate content.
- High-fat foods: Healthy fats are a crucial component of the keto diet as they provide most of the daily caloric intake. Foods rich in monounsaturated and saturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and fatty cuts of meat, can be consumed.
- Moderate-protein foods: Foods like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are staple protein sources that can be consumed in moderate portions. Excessive protein consumption can potentially be converted into glucose through gluconeogenesis, hindering ketosis. So, keep protein moderate.
Therefore, when dining at Applebee's on a keto diet, stick to dishes naturally low in carbs and avoid items like bread, pasta, and sugary sauces. Go for grilled meats, such as steak, chicken, or salmon, and pair them with non-starchy vegetables or a side salad with a keto-friendly dressing.
Moreover, request no breading or substitutions when necessary. Plus, be mindful of hidden sugars and high-carb ingredients in dressings, condiments, and marinades. With proper choices, Applebee's can cater to keto followers with flavorful and satisfying meals, keeping their carb intake in check.
Here's a complete list of what to order at Applebee's:
- Grilled Chicken Wings (without sauce): Enjoy a delicious serving of grilled chicken wings, perfect for those following a keto diet. Make sure to request them without any sugary or carb-heavy sauces for a low-carb appetizer option.
- Spinach and Artichoke Dip (without chips): Indulge in the creamy goodness of spinach and artichoke dip without the carb-laden chips. Pick fresh celery sticks or cucumber slices as a delightful and keto-friendly alternative for dipping.
- Caesar Salad (no croutons): 170 calories; 16g fat; 3g protein; 4g total carbs; 2g net carbs
Applebee's offers a keto-friendly version of the classic Caesar salad. Delight in the combination of fresh ro maine lettuce, grilled chicken, and Caesar dressing while skipping the croutons, which are high in carbs.
- House Salad (no croutons): 70 calories; 4g fat; 4g protein; 6g total carbs; 4g net carbs
For a lighter option, the house salad is an excellent choice. Ensure you order it without any dressing since some dressings may contain added sugars and carbs. Instead, you can ask for olive oil and vinegar or a keto-approved dressing on the side.
- Tuscan Garden Chicken Salad: 590 calories; 37g fats, 45g protein, 22g net carbs
Indulge in the Tuscan Garden Chicken Salad, a delightful combination of fresh ingredients and grilled chicken, providing a delicious and nutritious meal option.
- Grilled Salmon (without glaze or sauce): Treat yourself to a mouthwatering serving of grilled salmon, a fantastic source of healthy fats and protein. Avoid any glazes or sauces that might have hidden sugars and carbohydrates.
- Ribeye Steak (without marinade or toppings): Indulge in a juicy ribeye steak cooked to perfection. Request it without any marinades or high-carb toppings for a satisfying and keto-friendly main course.
- 6 oz. Top Sirloin with Steamed Broccoli (no mashed potatoes): Savor a lean and flavorful 6 oz. Top sirloin paired with nutritious steamed broccoli, a balanced and satisfying low-carb meal.
- Double-glazed Baby Back Ribs (no coleslaw, no fries): Delight in tender double-glazed baby back ribs, skipping the coleslaw and fries for a guilt-free and delicious dining experience.
- Blackened Cajun Salmon with Steamed Broccoli (no potatoes): Enjoy the zesty flavors of blackened Cajun salmon alongside a side of steamed broccoli, a wholesome and carb-conscious choice.
- Bourbon Street Steak (no mashed potatoes): Delight in a flavorful Bourbon Street Steak, omitting the mashed potatoes to keep your meal low in carbs and high in taste.
- Shrimp' N Parmesan Sirloin with Steamed Broccoli (no mashed potatoes): Relish the delightful combination of shrimp and Parmesan sirloin, complemented by a side of steamed broccoli, leaving out the mashed potatoes for a healthier option.
- Grilled Chicken Breast with Steamed Broccoli: Enjoy a protein-packed dish of grilled chicken breast alongside nutrient-rich steamed broccoli, a wholesome choice for a well-balanced meal.
- Bourbon Street Chicken and Shrimp: Indulge in the tantalizing flavors of Bourbon Street Chicken and Shrimp for a delectable dining experience full of Cajun-inspired taste.
- Fiesta Lime Chicken (no rice, no tortilla strips, no ranch): Dive into the zesty Fiesta Lime Chicken while skipping the rice, tortilla strips, and ranch, maintaining a low-carb profile with all the flavor intact.
- Build-Your-Own Burger: Order your burger with a juicy burger patty, cheddar cheese, bacon, and fried egg wrapped in lettuce. You'll have a filling meal with 765 calories, including less than 4g of net carbs!
- Steamed Broccoli: 100 calories; 8g fat; 3g protein; 6g total carbs; 3g net carbs
A classic low-carb side dish, steamed broccoli complements your main course and provides essential nutrients. Enjoy the natural flavors of this healthy vegetable without worrying about excess carbs.
- Homestyle Cheesy Broccoli: 210 calories; 17g fat; 9g protein; 8g total carbs; 5g net carbs
Homestyle Cheesy Broccoli is a delectable, low-carb side dish that combines the goodness of broccoli with a rich, cheesy flavor. With just 5g net carbs, it's a perfect choice for those following a low-carb or keto lifestyle.
- Garlicky Green Beans: 160 calories; 13g fat; 2g protein; 10g total carbs; 7g net carbs
Another delicious keto-friendly side option is garlic green beans. These flavorful and nutritious beans are cooked with garlic, enhancing their taste without adding unnecessary carbs.
- Water: Stay hydrated with refreshing water, a zero-carb and essential choice for any diet, including keto. It pairs perfectly with your meal and helps you maintain good health.
- Unsweetened Iced Tea or Coffee: If you're craving something more flavorful than water, go for unsweetened iced tea or coffee. These options are free from added sugars and carbohydrates, making them ideal choices for a keto-friendly beverage.
Dressings And Condiments
Bleu Cheese Salad Dressing: 200 calories; 22g fat; 1g protein; 1g total carbs; 0g net carbs
Caesar Salad Dressing: 200 calories; 21g fat; 1g protein; 2g total carbs; 2g net carbs
Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette: 150 calories; 16g fat; 0g protein; 1g total carbs; 1g net carbs
Mexi-Ranch Salad Dressing: 140 calories; 14g fat; 1g protein; 3g total carbs; 3g net carbs
Ranch Salad Dressing: 150 calories; 15g fat; 1g protein; 3g total carbs; 3g net carbs
Did you know that you can also customize your order to exclude any ingredients that might be high in carbs or sugars? Yup, you can savor your meal without any guilt! If you are following a keto diet and would like to make your meal keto-friendly, here are some steps you can take to request specific changes:
- Start with the Protein: Inform your server that you would like to have a protein-rich meal as the foundation of your dish. Options like meat (beef, poultry, lamb), fish, or tofu are excellent choices. Request the protein to be prepared without any sugary marinades or coatings.
- Choose Low-Carb Vegetables: Ask for a variety of non-starchy vegetables to accompany your protein. Leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, and bell peppers are great keto-friendly options. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes or corn.
- Healthy Fats: Emphasize the importance of healthy fats in your meal. Request the use of olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or butter for cooking and dressing your dishes.
- Skip the Grains and Sugary Sauces: Politely ask your server to omit grains, bread, and sugary sauces from your meal. These can significantly impact your carb intake.
- Be Mindful of Hidden Carbs: Sometimes, dishes may contain hidden carbs in the form of added sugars or thickeners. Politely inquire about the ingredients used in sauces or dressings and request those without any added sugars or high-carb ingredients.
- Beware of Condiments: Some condiments can be high in carbohydrates. Opt for keto-friendly options such as mustard or guacamole, and avoid ketchup or sweet dressings.
By following these guidelines and openly communicating with the staff, you can enjoy a customized meal that aligns perfectly with your keto requirements. The team will ensure your dining experience is enjoyable, satisfying, and supportive of your health and dietary goals.
Here are some recommendations for eating out on the keto diet at Applebee's:
- Drink plenty of water while dining out to help control your appetite and stay on track with your keto plan.
- Ask your server about the ingredients in sauces and marinades, and if possible, request them on the side to control your intake.
- Pay attention to menu descriptions and ask questions about any potentially hidden sources of carbohydrates.
- When ordering meat or seafood, request it to be grilled or baked rather than breaded or fried.
- If a dish comes with bread or a tortilla wrap, ask if you can substitute it with lettuce wraps or just skip it altogether.
- Many dressings and condiments can be high in carbs. Choose options like olive oil, vinegar, or creamy dressings with low sugar content.
Embarking on the keto diet doesn't mean sacrificing your social life or giving up the pleasure of dining out. By selecting keto-friendly restaurants like Applebee's and making mindful choices, you can continue enjoying delicious meals without compromising your health and wellness goals.
At Applebee's, you can find an array of dishes that are low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats and protein. From flavorful salads with grilled chicken or shrimp to succulent steaks served with steamed vegetables, the menu provides a range of delicious options to satisfy your taste buds while adhering to the principles of the keto diet.
Remember to focus on whole, unprocessed foods and avoid hidden sugars and refined carbohydrates. Additionally, be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overindulgence, as even keto-friendly dishes can be high in calories. Lastly, don't let dietary restrictions hold you back; savor the dining experience while nourishing your body with keto-friendly delights.
If you'd like to learn more about keto friendly foods, click on one of the links below: