Jim and I went to Applebee’s Sunday night, and I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVED my meal! I tried one of the new Weight Watchers entrees. I was so grateful there were new options on their menu because I was getting tired of eating the same thing every time we went there.
Anyway, I got the “Steak & Potato Salad.” At first I didn’t want to get it on principle because it was a salad. I hate feeling like salads are my only option at certain restaurants, but that was not the case here. I also don’t always enjoy salads in the winter because I usually crave warm comfort foods when it’s cold outside. There were plenty of things I could get, but I really wanted the salad because it sounded so great. It was the best of both worlds. I had a salad that provided great nutrition but I also had some warm toppings that made it perfect for the winter.
The salad started with a bed of fresh spinach with red peppers, onions, tomatoes, and fresh basil tossed in a creamy Dijon vinaigrette. (I asked for no onion but got them anyway. Bygones.) That sounds decent by itself, but what made this salad so great were the toppings! On top of the spinach mix, the salad included hard boiled egg, “tender grilled sirloin steak,” and herb potatoes (small wedges). The steak and potatoes were both warm and delicious. I don’t think I spoke more than a few words once I got my plate because I was just enjoying the food so much! I highly recommend the salad whether you are following WW or not. On the new PointsPlus plan, it was 9 points. That is TOTALLY do-able for dinner, especially considering that I had steak and potatoes!!
On a side note, if you choose not to get one of their WW meals or under 550 calorie meals, you might want to check the nutrition BEFORE you eat. It’s like they make the “non healthy” choices as bad as possible. Jim had the three cheese penne pasta. We assumed it would be higher in points…it is pasta and cheese after all. We were just guessing because last time we looked, Applebee’s did not have their nutrition information online. He had 35 points left for the day. (Did I mention he is 6’7″? He gets a lot of points per day.) Anyway, we knew his meal would be high, but we figured 35 points would more than cover it. Our pasta dinners at home are usually 10 points or under, so even if he was having 2 servings plus the cheese….you follow our logic, right?
Well, we got home and found out that they DO have information available now so yay for that! However, we were shocked to find out that his bowl of pasta was 37 points! I’m not sure if those points included the breadstick or not but I sure hope so. Yes, you read that right. I said THIRTY SEVEN points. For one meal. I only get 29 points in a day, so imagine my horror at that. Why would a restaurant knowingly serve something that exceeds an average woman’s DAILY recommended intake in ONE MEAL?! It’s terrible, but that’s the way it is. As long as we keep eating it, they will keep serving it.
I would like to say (for the record) that it really angers me that restaurants serve insanely large portions of food that is TERRIBLE for you. However, it is beyond my control. I am not going to spend my energy worrying about something that I cannot change. Instead, I have to adjust my actions accordingly. I’m not going to stop going out to eat, but I will make sure I am fully prepared before I go. I will NOT use that as an excuse to overeat. I will not feel sorry for myself if I have to eat a half portion. I shouldn’t say I “have” to eat a half portion, but I may “choose” to eat a half portion because even a half portion is probably more than what an actual serving should be.
My point is this…you CAN eat out and enjoy your experience while being healthy. You CAN have a delicious meal that is also affordable in your points/calorie budget. You CAN lose weight while eating out. You CAN do it. It just takes a little planning and goal setting. See yourself making the right choices and then remind yourself WHY you want to make that choice. If you can get that trick down, eating out will be much easier. Happy dining!
To see the most current nutritional info at Applebee’s, click here.