The 7 Worst Restaurant Foods in America

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/28/2013 6:00 AM   :  229 comments   :  298,952 Views

We all enjoy eating away from home from time to time and try to make smart choices when we do. Sometimes we sabotage all our best efforts and give in to a moment of weakness. The more you know about Diet Friendly Dining when you are eating Food on the Run the more you will be able to resist temptation.

Recently Eat This, Not That outlined the 20 Worst Restaurant Foods in America. Here are seven you should avoid if at all possible.

  1. Quizno's Large Tuna Melt - While tuna is a good protein source, when it is mixed with high fat dressings the negatives far outweigh the positives. Add to that a large portion size and you manage to create a 1,700-calorie sandwich that provides 133 grams of fat including 26 grams of saturated fat along with more than 2100 mg of sodium.
     
  2. Chili's Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing - Obviously when it takes more than a line to write the title there are too many items in the sandwich for it to be low calorie. This sandwich includes items from a variety of food groups but for most people watching their weight, it also includes more calories than they should have for the entire day with about 1900 calories as well as 138 grams of fat and a whopping 4,201mg of sodium.
     
  3. On the Border Firecracker Stuffed Jalapenos with Chili con Queso - If you are sharing this appetizer with others and only enjoying a taste you are probably fine. However, enjoying the entire 1,950-calorie appetizer yourself will also contribute 134 grams of fat not to mention more than 6,000 mg of sodium to your daily intake.
     
  4. P.F. Chang's Combo Lo Mein - This noodle dish with chicken, shrimp, beef and pork is recommended to be two servings which helps lower the calorie and sodium damage to your daily intake. However, if you are super hungry and choose to enjoy the entire entrée you will find your daily intake has been set back an additional 1,968 calories, 96 grams of fat and 5,860 mg of sodium.
     
  5. Romano's Macaroni Grill Parmesan Crusted Sole - A couple of servings a fish each week is recommended for healthy eating however how your fish is prepared does make a difference. This fried fish entrée covered in cheese contributes a massive 2,190 calories, 141 grams of fat and 2,980 mg of sodium.
     
  6. Chili's Fajita Quesadillas Beef with Rice and Beans with Four Flour Tortillas and Condiments - Fix-it-yourself dishes can be a great way to control portion sizes and limit higher fat condiments that can quickly increase the calorie count. However, they can also hide total intakes when you have more than one like in this complete entrée that includes four servings and a total of 2,240 calories, 92 grams of fat and 6,390 mg of sodium.
     
  7. Uno's Chicago Grill Classic Deep Dish Individual Pizza - Chicago style pizza is delicious and selecting an individual pizza can seem like a great way to limit the nutritional damage. When you are talking about deep pizza, it is important to remember that all that space provides plenty of room for extra cheese, sauce, and toppings, which contribute over 2,300 calories, 165 grams of fat and 4, 920 mg of sodium as well.
Since most of these food items provide more calories, fat and sodium than recommended for an entire days healthy diet, they are best left on the menu and not on your table.

What are the BEST entrée alternatives you have found to replace these seven when enjoying a meal away from home?


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Comments

  • 229
    Being gluten and dairy free saves me from the headache of dealing with this type of food. Yay Allergies! - 7/13/2014   1:24:03 AM
  • 228
    Was happy to discover I've never tried any of these particular dishes. Sad they are even on the menu.... - 7/11/2014   10:23:18 PM
  • 227
    First off... the comment about having to eat your sandwich over the sink because of the mess is absolutely disgusting.. Lol And second off, these calories in these foods are ridiculous!!!!!!! - 7/11/2014   7:49:47 PM
  • 226
    I'm learning to appreciate the flavor of foods without alot of these calorie rich dressings, cheeses, etc. I'm not saying that I eat everything totally plain, but I'm much more aware now, especially when it comes to restaurant food. They use these sauces at these chain restaurants to cover up their cheap quality meal. Usually at nicer restaurants, even if they add a calorie rich sauce the food isn't doused in it...it complements the dish rather. - 7/11/2014   10:09:46 AM
  • WEEBLEDANCER
    225
    i actually agree with the great chef, julia childs. we eat for the pallet.

    i believe that a sandwich isn't a sandwich unless you have to eat it over the sink because it drips off of your elbows. secondly, if it looks good, eat it. - 6/18/2014   10:38:52 PM
  • 224
    Stuff tastes so much better at home anyway - 6/13/2014   9:43:42 PM
  • 223
    Wow to the calorie count. None of them seem worth it. - 4/20/2014   11:18:25 AM
  • 222
    None of those restaurants in our area. But there are plenty of others offering offering sauce drowned, gravy drowned, syrup drowned meals. If you are eating out, look for foods that are steamed, grilled (you usually have a choice of how it will be seasoned or treated, just ask), sauces or dressing on the side or not at all. One of my faves is grilled salmon - just a brush of oil, steamed broccoli, house salad with no cheese and dressing on the side. Ice water with lemon to drink. This is available many places.
    - 1/25/2014   2:42:16 PM
  • 221
    Sooo...its like if there are more than 2 words in the dish...example: Grilled Chicken...good! Grilled Chicken covered in our yummy sauce....bad! - 1/14/2014   1:39:47 PM
  • PAULINELOIS1
    220
    On holiday in the states I found it hard to find a restaurant that didn't either cover everything with cheese or syrup. Apart from all of the extra calories ths means, you aren't really able to taste what the food really tastes like. - 7/11/2013   5:08:18 AM
  • 219
    I'm safe...I don't have any of those places anywhere around me...However, it is a good example of what the calorie count is in other restaurants...I can't imagine how many calories I took in when I used to eat at my favorite mexican restaurant or TGI Friday's or this really decadent down home country cooking buffet restaurant back when I lived in Alabama...I probably don't WANT to know...Not to mention how many calories I drank in Dr Pepper and sweet tea with those meals! - 5/31/2013   4:44:33 PM
  • 218
    It really surprises you how many calories are in certain dishes. I used to LOVE Long John Silver's chicken, but once I started to get healthy, I looked up the calorie content in the meal I used to eat. 1,500 calories for the ONE meal! I now eat less than that all DAY, lol! - 5/27/2013   2:56:47 PM
  • 217
    I rarely eat out. Expensive and often dissatisfied with the quality and taste of food. This article made me even happier with my choice. - 5/24/2013   5:38:28 AM
  • GRANNY4CAT
    216
    I don't eat out much, but not at any of these places, besides I can't afford to eat these any way. Don't sound to tasty. - 4/8/2013   6:48:08 PM
  • MKIRKLE
    215
    I too research the restaurant websites ahead of time. It is impossible to judge the calorie count from a menu in most cases. I think they are afraid of scaring off customers if they put the counts right there in front of you. - 3/28/2013   11:00:32 AM
  • 214
    Wow! The amount of sodium in these "entrees" is horrific. Luckily most of these restaurants aren't in my little corner of the world. But, they don't sound that tasty anyway. The fat percentage is ridiculous also. Who thinks up this kinda' junk?? - 3/14/2013   10:53:12 AM
  • 213
    If there is no nutritional information offered - you will not find me there. It may seem a little crazy but when my husband and I choose to go out to eat, I research the menus online and the nutrition information before we go. Drives him a little crazy sometimes. :) Honestly, when I first started doing this, i was SURPRISED at how unhealthy of the foods are. Now, I keep a list of things from certain restaurants that is okay to eat.

    And be aware of those fancy restaurant salads - they deceive you!! They are not as healthy as you think! ;) - 7/22/2011   2:18:14 PM
  • FIRSTANDLAST
    212
    I do not even think about going into a place that will tempt me, I have worked too hard (With the Lord's help)
    to mess up now and do not want to go back where I was! So my husband and I just go into healthy places to eat. Really is fun trying new food - 9/14/2010   12:07:15 PM
  • 211
    i rarely eat at places that dont offer the nutritional information. user below mentioned panera and i totally agree. :) - 9/13/2010   11:16:50 PM
  • TRUEINDIGO
    210
    I love to eat at Panera--you see the calories right up on the menu board, and there are lots of yummy and filling choices that add to your veggie servings for the day. - 8/30/2010   5:31:15 PM
  • 209
    it appears I can only get points for a blog if I comment on it. - 8/28/2010   11:22:04 PM
  • JEPURSELL
    208
    According to Quizno's posted nutritional information, the large tuna melt is 1520 calories. Still a large amount, but let's double check our facts before posting something as true which is not! There is no need to exagerate to make your point. - 8/2/2010   4:19:02 PM
  • 207
    Uno Chicago Grill has nothing healthy on it's menu. Even the salads top 500 calories. - 7/29/2010   10:09:49 AM
  • SLLOYD333
    206
    I am wondering where this article got its information because my daughter works at Romano's Macaroni Grill, they list all the menu items nutritional information on their website and the Crusted Sole is listed as 990 calories, 18 grams of fat, and 1290mg sodium and that includes the side dish of Italian couscous. While not the healthiest item you could ever eat, it is not nearly as bad as the articles listed 2190 calories and 141 grams of fat. - 7/27/2010   9:56:48 AM
  • CLOUDKIT
    205
    Some of these items are shocking! Who knew you could turn some basic ingredients that are beneficial into such awful concoctions. it seems that sauces are partly to blame. Glad I dislike mayo, sour cream, guacomole, or cheese on a hamburger. - 7/25/2010   10:31:03 PM
  • 204
    We have Quizno's here in Canada, but none of these other restaurants. Some of them I've never even heard of. - 7/15/2010   8:57:18 PM
  • MLD1231
    203
    I have never ever ate any of these things, and reading them I was saying out loud, "Oh My God who the heck would eat these things!!" So I guess my eating habits aren't so bad...really, I know they aren't, now I'm on a kick to not eat anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup. And although I rarely eat red meat, I'm eliminating even more of it. My triglycerides were at a 405, so now back on the two fish oil's a day, per my doctor and my 10mg of choles. meds. And no icecream : ( - 7/12/2010   7:54:48 PM
  • 202
    I'm reading these descriptions and wondering what on earth this "food" looks like. We have fast food (and obesity) in London, of course, but I don't think we have anything on this list. I could be wrong since I don't go in those places. Just reading this gave me heartburn! - 7/12/2010   6:03:53 AM
  • 201
    I hate cooking and go out to eat once a week. I can eat healthy, or I can choose not to but it's my decision. I rarely eat my entire meal, I always bring 1/2 home to eat later that evening or to take to work the next day. I have my favorites so I pretty much know which choices are the best because I go to websites to get the facts.
    However, I tried Jason's Deli Friday after work, got 1/2 a sandwich, baked chips and soup and was feeling really proud of myself because I thought I was really eating within my calorie range and had calories left for the evening. When I went to their website to add my food to the food tracker, I was shocked at the calories in some of their foods. Luckily I had fewer calories at work that day so didn't go over, but if I go back, I will have to research what I want to eat ahead of time. I guess I was thinking because everything is organic, it would also be better calorie counts - NOT! - 7/11/2010   11:49:21 AM
  • PRINCESS_TALA
    200
    thats seriously stupid cuz im 14 i usually go to Chile's once every 2 to 3 weeks and i dont order Chili's Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing i order a chicken salad with dressing and water or iced tea u choose what u eat not them they just gave you choices to choose u decide what to choose

    - 7/11/2010   7:42:56 AM
  • 199
    Glad to say I've never had any of these entrees - 7/10/2010   2:15:08 PM
  • BLEIGH711
    198
    I worked as a hostess, server, and bartender at Chilis for a little over 4 years while in and immediately after college. Lets just say I am not the least bit surprised that they made this list twice. I made good money working there...but I also gained about 110 pounds over the course of those 4 years. We got our meals half price and sometimes free if we worked doubles. The price was right...and the food tasted good. I guess I partially have Chilis to thank for discovering Spark...ugh I want to head to the gym just thinking about it now. - 7/9/2010   2:22:10 PM
  • 197
    Yikes! I have my share of splurges, but happy to say none of those are it! - 7/9/2010   1:29:32 PM
  • LARSEL
    196
    happy to say never ate one of these and never will - 7/9/2010   11:42:28 AM
  • NGVCME
    195
    Well, I don't see McDonald's on the list. Many have pointed out that the nutrition info is there for consumer to read and pointed out that the name alone indicates a 5 alarm fire. An occasional meal like this might be ok but, it's the folks who make this a regular routine that worry me. Eating out is an expensive way to not have dishes to wash. - 7/9/2010   10:46:08 AM
  • JAZZERCISEGENIE
    194
    I try to never eat out. My husband gets really mad at me but it takes forever to loose a pound at my age so don't ask me to eat out - 7/9/2010   10:06:18 AM
  • SRYUUZA
    193
    Those may be scary meals in the calorie department, but let us not forget about appetizers. Take the following as an example. I like Red Robin, their burgers taste good and I love the unlimited steak fries. While I'm waiting for my meal I decide I want to have an appetizer.

    1374 Calories - Chili Cheese con Queso (appetizer)
    0936 Calories - Burnin' Love Burger (meal)
    0434 Calories - Serving of Steak Fries

    2744 Calories for just one meal, and lord knows that you never just have 1 serving of those Steak Fries, let alone that a single refill basket is actually 2 servings. They've also really good milk shakes! - 7/8/2010   8:22:32 PM
  • 192
    I love Outback and they have 500 calorie dishes marked. I get the small steak and for my two veggie sides I ask for double steamed veggies - no butter or anything.

    It is delicious and very filling. - 7/8/2010   10:56:48 AM
  • 191
    I do like Chilles, & Quizno's, but don't go there very often. And I am always careful to try to choose healthier options. I ask, or atleast read about how it is prepared. It's so not worth it ri me to have a days calories in one meal, & it's certainly not healthy for your body. I think it's crazy anyone would want to eat all that. As it is, I think we already have too big a portions at most restaurants. - 7/7/2010   11:01:39 PM
  • 190
    Pretty much every restaurant has nutritional information available to any guest that requests it. Many dishes that sound harmless are actually dripping with hydrogenated oils and coated in seasoned salt--do your homework. Word of warning: I managed at one of the prevalent restaurants mentioned in the list for several years, and although you may be ordering a healthful dish that tested with reasonable calories and fat it may not necessarily make it to your plate that way. It is usually easier and faster for the cooks to prepare your food the same greasy way they prepare everything else. Once, I ordered an item from the "healthy" menu, and it came to me the regular way, just with vegetables instead of fries. This was a 600 calorie difference from what I ordered! Be wary... - 7/7/2010   10:57:17 PM
  • 189
    I've never had any of the items on the list, but I had to laugh at some of the names:
    Chili's Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

    Really? A Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger is fattening? !!! no way. - 7/7/2010   8:25:49 PM
  • 188
    I've never had any of the items on the list, but I had to laugh at some of the names:
    Chili's Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

    Really? A Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger is fattening? !!! no way. - 7/7/2010   8:25:49 PM
  • 187
    Hmmm, these fat gram numbers do not seem right to me. I'm sure these sandwiches are very fatty and calorie laden, but 133 grams of fat? 133 grams = 4.69143694 ounces. That is more than 1 stick of butter. - 7/7/2010   10:41:35 AM
  • DIZZY*
    186
    I went to Quizno's website and the numbers for their Tuna Melt is for the Large Sandwich and 1750 Cal with Fat Cal being 1210 and Sodium 1940, Carbs 82 Protein 51 and Sugar 10. The sub without dressing and cheese was 1260 cal. and the cheese is 110 and the dressing is 370. This is the total cal count of 1740. I am glad that I don't eat out at those places. Never had anything on the list. - 7/7/2010   10:01:09 AM
  • 185
    The amount of sodium is the most disgusting to me. Ugh. I would gain 5lbs just from the water retention! - 7/7/2010   9:59:42 AM
  • 184
    this is getting old but still true.....eat balanced every 3 hours, snack on a fruit/yogurt/skim milk in between and by the time you get to one of these restaurants, your tummy would reject these disaster dishes outright....cuz there simply is no space to gulp this down (stomach just tells your brains it's way too full for it) moreover, your metabolic rate climbs up...which is always a good thing! - 7/7/2010   6:27:36 AM
  • 183
    TYPO?

    Really, 133 grams of fat in the Quizno's Large Tuna Melt? I'm still not entirely sure it's not a typo. But then the others are just as scary.

    And honestly, if you order something with the words "bacon tripple cheese big moth" in the name, you just know you're ruining your calory track for the day, just not by how much maybe. I admit I would have thought it difficult to pack 2000 calories into one dish.

    Then again, throw enough bacon and cheese into something and you get something that'll make your cholesterol levels go up by looking at it. - 7/7/2010   3:51:11 AM
  • 182
    By the way, *because* I keep my carbs low and eat enough fat (which is way more than "the experts" say you should eat), my appetite is in normal range and I never have a desire to eat any of the dishes on this list. I never even heard of them and I'd gross out if I was served one of them. I have to *remember* to eat and try to get at least 2000 calories a day. If they'd leave all the sugar and starchy garbage out I might consider one of these foods, but of course they won't, so I'll stick with my occasional Baconator, or just fix a steak at home. Sliced thin and dipped in butter. Real butter, not franken-margarine. Mmmmmm. - 7/7/2010   12:24:23 AM
  • 181
    People, there's no evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease, diabetes, or anything else. None. Zero. Zip. Every time I see someone claim that there is evidence, and they're silly enough to link to the actual study (and that's darned few of them--I don't think they even understand what they're seeing, to be honest, I'd hate to think they're deliberately lying), I go look and I see NOTHING about the researchers feeding two groups of people the exact same food only with different fat content. I see where they made people fill out questionnaires instead. THEN, on top of that, I see where they did not control for other variables like sugar and excess starch consumption.

    THOSE are the bugaboos. The science is pretty darned solid by now. Excess refined carb can even lead to high blood pressure because it elevates insulin, which in turn damages arterial linings, which in turn destroys your body's ability to tell whether your blood pressure needs increasing or not. Because low blood volume will kill you faster than high blood volume, your body chooses to err on the side of caution.

    I can eat Baconators without the bun and still lose weight. I can eat full-fat cheese and still lose weight. I can eat full-fat salad dressing and still lose weight--and you should too! You can't get any nutritional benefit out of the carotenes in salad if you don't eat it with an accompanying fat. Preferably olive oil. (Most salad dressings are loaded with soybean oil instead. Bad scene.)

    I tell people over and over, go read Gary Taubes... if you can look at his sources and tell me exactly what's wrong with them then knock yourself out... I notice most people don't even bother getting through his book and I include bloggers and media personnel in that count, I mean who has time to *read* anymore? But knowing the facts is the only way we're going to get out of this chronic-disease mess for good.

    Try Weston Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration while you're at it... an eye-opening read, and a bit shorter. With pictures, even. - 7/7/2010   12:17:15 AM
  • 180
    Have you all noticed the recent "meme" of the last few years, that of "comfort food"?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

    This phrase, "comfort food" has quietly stormed our culture, there's hardly a day I don't hear this apologetic misleading phrase, sometimes multiple times in a day, such a lovely sounding phrase, quite effectively glossing over concerns for high-fat-high-sodium unhealthy food... sometimes absurdly or grotesquely unhealthy as this article points out. Those concerned with healthy eating, should start their own "meme" or catch-phrase called something like "early-death-food", or "heart-attack-food", or some other clever acronym or phrase that will catch on. - 7/6/2010   11:59:44 PM

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