Restaurant dishes

The Unhealthiest Chain Restaurant Dishes of All Time – Eat This Not That

Let’s be honest here for a minute: Most people don’t necessarily head to chain restaurants with a healthy meal in mind. You know you’re ready for a convenient and tasty meal! While it’s good to indulge once in a while, you might want to think twice about ordering certain meals, especially the really unhealthy menu items. With more calories, fat, and sodium than anyone should consume in a day, these dishes can really harm your health.

We spoke with Danielle Stadelman, Real Foods Dietitian to understand why these meals really are the unhealthiest chain restaurant dishes. Plus, she shares tips on some better-for-you options that don’t sacrifice flavor. And while you’re making better choices, check out these 21 best healthy cooking hacks of all time!

The Cheesecake Factory/

2,480 calories, 177 g fat (82 g saturated fat, 4.5 g trans fat), 5,150 mg sodium, 155 g carbohydrate (11 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 65 g proteins

While it may and does look tasty, this dish from The Cheesecake Factory blows the recommended daily values ​​out of the water. Especially when you look at the sodium, you might be shocked to find that this dish has as much sodium as about 16 large orders of fast food fries.

“The dish is basically a meat-lover’s pizza combined with a huge serving of pasta! However, this dish takes it to the extreme,” says Stadelman. “It’s estimated to have 2,480 calories (a whole day’s worth for many), 5,150 milligrams of sodium (more than two days’ worth), and 82 grams of saturated fat (four days). If your heart is set on enjoying this meal, it would be a good idea to take half of it home for tasty leftovers the next day!”

crispy waffle peppers with honey and chipotle
Courtesy of Chili’s

2,590 calories, 126 g fat (42 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 5,180 g sodium, 303 g carbs (14 g fiber, 128 g sugar), 63 g protein

Neither fried chicken nor waffles are very nutritious foods, so it’s no surprise that the combination of the two is particularly unhealthy.

“This dish provides a couple [of] days of your macronutrient needs and added sugar alone is more than 5 times your daily amount,” Stadelman warns.

While you could try making a healthy version at home, if you really want the chili version, Stadelman has a game plan to make it more enjoyable and less likely to make you sick.

“I would never suggest that you have forbidden foods or restrict your wellness foods. However, an even better idea: make a plan to share crisps and waffles with a friend, so you can enjoy every bite,” she said. . “The rest of the day, plan to eat more nutrient-dense, fiber-dense foods, i.e., more fruits and vegetables. A treat now and then will keep you satisfied and happy!”

applebees chicken salad wrap
Courtesy of Applebee

1910 calories, 114g fat (120g saturated fat, 1g trans fat), 2920mg sodium, 180g carbs (10g fiber, 38g sugar), 43g protein

At first glance, a salad wrap seems like a healthy option. But it’s actually one of the unhealthiest options on Applebee’s entire menu. Substituting grilled chicken for fried chicken and reducing or omitting the dressing could help make this a better meal for you.

Looking for more helpful tips? Your Ultimate Restaurant and Supermarket Survival Guide is Here!

threesome pizookie
Courtesy of BJ Restaurant

2100 calories, 94g fat (46g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 1810mg sodium, 289g carbs (5g fiber, 204g sugar), 26g protein

Why have one Pizookie when you can order three? Of course, this dessert trio is a great way to try several flavors of BJ’s Brewhouse’s famous sweet treat and the sizes are even considered “mini”. But all together, if you choose the Salted Caramel, Monkey Bread, and Cookies & Cream flavors, they add up to 204 grams of sugar, the same amount found in four cans of Crush Pineapple soda.

“Who can say no to cookies and ice cream; however, this trio combo would be more reasonable if served with a third of what you get. Think a mini cookie pan with a scoop of ice cream. , but finding the right balance so you don’t have a crazy blood sugar spike after indulging,” says Stadelman. “Another idea is to think about sharing this trio dish with at least one other person, because you won’t you don’t have to ingest all that sugar and fat on your own!”

tortelloni from alfredo olive garden
Courtesy of Olive Garden

1,980 calories, 131 g fat (76 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 3,720 mg sodium, 95 g carbs (5 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 112 g proteins

A creamy pasta dish is certainly delicious, but this meal from Olive Garden far exceeds the recommended amounts of calories, fat, sodium and even protein. With 114 grams of protein, the Asiago Tortelloni Alfredo with Grilled Chicken far exceeds the recommended 46-56 grams per day. What’s wrong? As it turns out, excess protein can increase your risk of kidney stones and cancer.

Panera Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl
Lincy H./Yelp

1140 calories, 35g fat (18g saturated fat, 1g trans fat), 2210mg sodium, 163g carbs (6g fiber, 9g sugar), 43g protein

Panera’s macaroni and cheese might be your weakness, and paired with a bowl of bread, it’s a carb-lover’s delight. While carbohydrates are essential for a healthy body, too many carbs can lead to a higher risk of heart disease.

But don’t despair just yet.

“I suggest ordering the You Pick Two menu, which includes smaller portions of those classic dishes like soups and macaroni, salads, or a sandwich,” Stadelman says. “You can still enjoy this mac and cheese (510 calories) and opt for a Cobb Half Green Goddess salad with chicken (260 calories), so you can build a balanced plate with lean protein, carbs and veggies. to keep you fueled and energized throughout the day!”

ihop country fried steak eggs
Courtesy of iHOP

1,440 calories, 93 g fat (29 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fat), 3,530 mg sodium, 110 g carbs (7 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 41 g protein

From breaded and fried red meat coated in gravy to fried hash browns and fried eggs, there’s a lot going on in this IHOP dish. Aside from eggs, each item on its own is hardly healthy, but acceptable in moderation. Together, you get a meal with as much fat as about 31 strips of bacon and as much salt as you would find in about 26 strips of bacon. Not the best way to start your day!

tgi fridays chicken parmesan pasta
Courtesy of TGI Fridays

1,890 calories, 107 g fat (43 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 4,130 mg sodium, 154 g carbs (9 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 74 g protein

It’s a hearty dish, and it’s definitely not a meal for the faint of heart. Luckily, Stadelman offers plenty of tips here for satisfying those carb cravings without ending up with a sugar spike while dining at TGI Fridays.

“I suggest browsing the kids’ menu for hearty but tasty options. Take the kids’ buttery pasta dish, which is fettuccine pasta with butter and Parmesan Romano cheese (350 calories) and add a side of protein, like grilled chicken. It’s a win-win and you’ll feel satisfied but not overloaded,” she explains. “If you don’t feel like the kids’ choices, decode the menu by searching for specific terms. Be aware of these words, such as ‘crispy’, ‘crispy’, ‘beaten’ and ‘breaded’, as well as ‘creamy’ and ‘cheesy’, which can often mean that they are higher in fat or calories. Instead, opt for dishes that may be healthier, such as “baked”, “grilled”, “roasted” and “steamed”. “

red lobster admirals feast
Courtesy of Red Lobster

1650 calories, 98g fat (10g saturated fat, 1g trans fat), 5000mg sodium, 129g carbs (9g fiber, 18g sugar), 64g protein

Any of these fried seafood would be a treat when you’re at Red Lobster, but when you pile them all on one plate, you get a lot of greasy food for one person. It’s a feast best shared with others, lest you take 5,000 milligrams of sodium and risk of harming short and long-term health, from bloating and discomfort to kidney stones, heart failure and stomach cancer.

outback baby back ribs
Courtesy of Outback Steakhouse

1820 calories, 115g fat (45g saturated fat, 1g trans fat), 1860mg sodium, 78g carbs (

With 129 grams of protein, Outback Steakhouse’s Complete Ribs Order delivers excess protein along with fat and calories. If this is your favorite, try cutting it into a half order and pairing it with a side salad or steamed vegetables for a more balanced and nutritious meal.

Denny's Spicy Sriracha Burger
Courtesy of Denny’s

1,960 calories, 125 g fat (44.5 g saturated fat, 3.5 g trans fat), 4,380 mg sodium, 112 g carbs (11 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 90 grams of protein

Although Denny’s is known for its selection of breakfast foods, there are plenty of savory entree options. But the Spicy Sriracha Burger is forbidden. You can order this burger double, which means there are two patties covered in cheddar cheese, bacon, jalapeños, Sriracha sauce and mayonnaise. Accompanied by seasoned fries, this meal contains almost an entire day’s worth of calories. The sodium here is downright scary too, equivalent to 386 Lay’s Potato Chips.

ocharleys seafood platter
Courtesy of O’Charley’s

1950 calories, 121g fat (22g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 2970mg sodium, 141g carbs (9g fiber, 27g sugar), 71g protein

Opting for a seafood dish is often a healthier choice, but it depends on how the fish is cooked. Take this tray from O’Charley’s as an example. Here, you feast on hand-breaded cod, fried buttermilk shrimp and stuffed imperial crab, alongside fries, coleslaw, tartare and cocktail sauces. Frying the seafood resulted in a high-calorie, fatty, and sodium-filled dish. Pay attention!

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