Blog Category: Featured

Here's what to opt against at the nation's most popular fast food chains. Plus tips for navigating a fast food menu.
By Emily Sandford | Posted January 30, 2013
Woman about to eat unhealthy hamburger.

We all want a little more convenience in life, so it’s no wonder that we have a major proliferation of fast food restaurants across the country. All types of food and drinks are available without having to leave your car, and some of us have paid for the caloric consequences.

RELATED: Fast Food Gets Healthy

In search of convenience and in the rush of lunch hour, we can get caught up and order something that in hindsight wasn’t the best for us. But how bad are some of these items?

Here’s a list of some huge calorie hogs from some of the most popular fast food restaurants:

  • Culver’s Crazy for Cookie Dough Concrete Mixer: 1494 calories, 74g fat, 45g saturated fat. The nearly 1,500 calories in this item comes from cream, sugar, and corn syrup.
  • Hardee’s 2/3 pound Monster Thickburger: 1300 calories, 93g of fat, 35g of saturated fat, 2860g sodium. You better enjoy these two beef patties, four strips of bacon, and three slices of cheese to chow down on well over 1,000 calories in a sitting.
  • McDonald’s Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich: 620 calories, 29g fat, 7g saturated fat. Chicken, bacon, and mayonnaise are usually just the start when people add fries and soda.
  • Qdoba Steak Queso Burrito with Cheese, Sour Cream, Guacamole: 1125 calories, 61g fat, 23g saturated fat. It may taste fresh, but this 1,000+ calorie burrito isn’t the best option.
  • Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread and a Venti White Chocolate Mocha. 1000 calories, 34g fat. Beware grabbing a drink and a nibble when both combine to 1000 calories (bread: 490; drink: 510).
  • Taco Bell Beef Fiesta Taco Salad: 780 calories, 42g of fat, 1380g sodium. This tortilla bowl has beef, lettuce, tomatoes, rice, cheese, beans, tortilla strips, and reduced-fat sour cream.

Tips to save calories, fat, and/or sodium with your fast food choices:

  • Eliminate condiments such as mayonnaise or ketchup, or ask for them on the side. This way, you can control how much of each item actually ends up on your burger.
  • Take the grilled chicken leap. We’re eating the fast food for convenience, so ordering a grilled chicken sandwich or salad instead of its fried counterpart gives you the convenience without the calories and fat.
  • Plan ahead and review the menus and nutritional content online. Or, if the line is long, see if you can bring up the information on your smart phone. Informed decisions are the best type when it comes to picking your meal.
  • Eliminate an item such as bread or a tortilla shell. For example, removing the tortilla from a Qdoba burrito will save you 300 calories. It tastes delicious all mixed up in a bowl than wrapped up in a shell. Or if it’s a burger, restaurants can wrap the burger in lettuce or serve in a container instead of in a wrapper.
  • Size down: If you automatically order the largest flavored latte or French fries, simply step it down a size. You will save calories but still get the taste you were looking for.

Do you have any favorite healthier items from fast food restaurants? Let us know!

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