When you choose to dine at Applebee’s, you’re probably headed there with visions of a piled-high plate of nachos, an ice-cold beer, and a chocolate lava cake for dessert. In other words, no one goes to Applebee’s for healthy food. Though this neighborhood chain has a few decent menu items for health, they make no bones about being a venue for the Standard American Diet (SAD). Heavy options like cheesy burgers, fried chicken tenders, and epic desserts make up the bulk of the menu.

So, how bad is Applebee’s, really? We’re highlighting the worst of the worst at this popular all-American joint. Dietitians say to steer clear of the following 10 hard-core calorie bombs. Read, then check out the #1 Unhealthiest Meal at 9 Popular Chain Restaurants.

Neighborhood Nachos with Beef

Applebee's Neighborhood Nachos with Beef
Applebee’s

Nutrition (Per meal):
Calories: 1,940
Fat: 130 g (Saturated Fat: 55 g)
Sodium: 4,440 mg
Carbs: 120 g (Fiber: 12 g, Sugar: 13 g)
Protein: 76 g

Thinking of starting your meal with an appetizer? You might want to think twice before diving into Applebee’s Neighborhood Nachos with Beef. “This hefty dish comes loaded with a staggering 1,940 calories, almost hitting the recommended daily calorie intake for an average person,” says Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND, Owner of Soccer Mom Nutrition.

Magill also points out that this dish packs 130 grams of fat, including 55 grams of saturated fat, and a whopping 4,400 milligrams of sodium—nearly double the recommended daily amount. “With numbers like these, you’re maxing out your calorie needs before your main course even hits the table,” she says.

Whiskey Bacon Burger

applebees whiskey bacon burger
Applebee’s

Nutrition (Per meal):
Calories: 1,630
Fat: 102 g (Saturated Fat: 35 g)
Sodium: 2,890 mg
Carbs: 117 g (Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 19 g)
Protein: 63 g

In a contest for the heaviest choice on Applebee’s menu, the Whiskey Bacon Burger rises to the top with a massive 1,630 calories. “Not only is it high-calorie, but it has 35 grams of saturated fat, which is more than your entire day’s recommendation! This level of saturated fat increases your risk for high cholesterol and elevated triglycerides,” says Lauren Mahesri, RD, the Pediatric Dietitian. If you’re at risk of heart disease (or even if you’re not), take a pass on this one.

Crispy Cheese Bites

Applebee's Crispy Cheese Bites
Applebee’s

Nutrition (Per dish):
Calories: 1,550
Fat: 125 g (Saturated Fat: 47 g)
Sodium: 3,110 mg
Carbs: 48 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 7 g)
Protein: 58 g

With the Crispy Cheese Bites, what you see is what you get. But that’s not really a good thing, considering that what you see is simply fried cheese. Share this appetizer with the whole table to minimize the damage of its 1,550 calories and 47 grams of saturated fat.

Brew Pub Loaded Waffle Fries

applebees loaded waffle fries
Applebee’s

Nutrition (Per dish):
Calories: 1,520
Fat: 104 g (Saturated Fat: 30 g)
Sodium: 4,290 mg
Carbs: 107 g (Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 38 g

Any time you see the word “loaded” on a menu, it’s a sign an item is going to be less than healthy. This certainly holds true for Applebee’s Brew Pub Loaded Waffles Fries. “These fries topped with cheese, bacon, and other fatty bits provide over 1,500 calories, and 104 grams of fat, 30 of which are saturated. In addition, they contain 4,290 mg of sodium,” points out Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD a registered dietitian nutritionist at Health Insiders.

The Clubhouse Grille

Applebees clubhouse grille
Applebee’s

Nutrition (Per meal):
Calories: 1,450
Fat: 80 g (Saturated Fat: 21 g)
Sodium: 3,670 mg
Carbs: 128 g (Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 21 g)
Protein: 56 g

The Clubhouse Grille might seem like an OK choice compared with a burger, but this bacon-laden sandwich isn’t far behind Applebee’s burgers in terms of nutrition. Though it contains an impressive amount of protein and relatively high fiber, the multiple strips of bacon and deli meats load this one up with sodium, not to mention calories and fat galore.

Chicken Fajita Rollup

applebees chicken fajita rollup
Applebee’s

Nutrition (Per meal):
Calories: 1,390
Fat: 75 g (Saturated Fat: 27 g)
Sodium: 4,090 mg
Carbs: 116 g (Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 62 g

“You might be surprised to hear that Applebee’s Chicken Fajita Rollup is one of the unhealthiest choices on the menu,” says Lindsay Ducharme RD, CSR, LDN. Its fat, saturated fat, and sodium are through the roof. “To make this menu item healthier, I recommend swapping out fries for a house side salad with lemon olive oil vinaigrette on the side and skip the cheese on the rollup.”

Double-Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Applebee's Double-Glazed Baby Back Ribs
Applebee’s

Nutrition (Per meal):
Calories: 1,440
Fat: 91 g (Saturated Fat: 30 g)
Sodium: 1,870 mg
Carbs: 68 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 13 g)
Protein: 88 g

With the Double-Glazed Baby Back Ribs, you’re not just contending with calories, fat, and sodium—there’s also plenty of sugar here. “These ribs are coated in a sweet and tangy glaze, which likely adds a significant amount of sugar and can contribute to weight gain and other health issues when consumed in excess,” says Alyssa Simpson RDN, CGN, CLT, owner of Nutrition Resolution in Phoenix, AZ. “Additionally, they contain a considerable amount of sodium, which can increase the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.”

Quesadilla Burger

applebees quesadilla burger
Applebee’s

Nutrition (Per meal):
Calories: 1,590
Fat: 104 g (Saturated Fat: 39 g)
Sodium: 3,400 mg
Carbs: 94 g (Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 68 g

When you mix the cheesiness of a quesadilla with the meaty heft of a burger, what do you get? An entrée that features the flavors of both—and, unfortunately, the calories of both.

The Quesadilla Burger is one of the unhealthiest menu items at Applebee’s due to its high calorie, fat, and sodium content,” says Simpson. “A single serving provides over half the recommended daily calories for a 2000-calorie diet, with a staggering 95 grams of fat (over 65% of total calories, exceeding the American Heart Association’s recommendation of less than 30%). Additionally, its 3,050 milligrams of sodium significantly surpasses the American Heart Association’s daily limit, posing risks to heart health.”

Three Cheese Chicken Penne

applebees three cheese chicken penne
Applebee’s

Nutrition (Per meal):
Calories: 1,320
Fat: 69 g (Saturated Fat: 39 g)
Sodium: 2,620 mg
Carbs: 99 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 11 g)
Protein: 76 g

Applebee’s Three Cheese Chicken Penne is a fat-filled feast. “This entrée contains more fat than an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream,” points out Michelle Rauch, MSc, RDN. “Eating a diet high in fat can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke by increasing levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and decreasing levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.”

Chicken Tenders Platter

applebee's chicken tenders platter with fries
Applebee’s

Nutrition (Per meal):
Calories: 1,410
Fat: 80 g (Saturated Fat: 11 g)
Sodium: 2,360 mg
Carbs: 95 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 37 g

A healthy diet includes plenty of colorful fruit and vegetables—but on Applebee’s Chicken Tenders Platter, the only hint of color comes from a small cup of coleslaw. No wonder this large, meaty plate contains such poor nutrition. Its calorie count of 1,410 and sodium level of 2,360 milligrams don’t even account for dipping sauces like ketchup and honey mustard.

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