Ah, the Great American Road Trip. The open road, the charming small towns, the wacky roadside attractions—and the ubiquitous fast-food chains just dying to serve you up a heart attack on a platter. Want to avoid an overdose on fat, salt, and calories on your next trip? Steer clear of these 10 roadside calorie bombs at all costs!
2. McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Hotcakes
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don’t start yours with this atrocity from the Golden Arches. As you might expect from a meal containing scrambled eggs, a sausage patty, a biscuit, hash browns, and three pancakes, McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Hotcakes is not the most nutritious meal. In fact, if you use the handy nutrition calculator on the McDonald’s website, it will tell you that this breakfast contains 1,090 calories (almost half of which are from fat), 56 grams of fat (that’s 87 percent of the recommended amount for an entire day), 575 mg of cholesterol (192 percent of the recommended daily amount), and 2,150 mg of sodium (90 percent of the recommended daily amount). That’s right, this one meal contains enough cholesterol for two days, under FDA guidelines. I’m lovin’ it! (If “it” is feeling my arteries clogging.)
3. Dunkin’ Donuts Frozen Caramel Coffee Coolatta with Cream
Need to stay awake on the road? Steer clear of this Dunkin’ Donuts beverage unless you want to have the ultimate sugar crash a few miles later. The large Frozen Caramel Coffee Coolatta with Cream contains 130 grams of sugar! And this drink has more calories than most meals (1,050) not to mention 52 grams of fat—almost as much as that McDonald’s breakfast.
4. IHOP Country Fried Steak & Eggs with Sausage Gravy
This belly buster combines all the best breakfast foods in one glorious meal. There’s 8 ounces of fried beefsteak (topped with sausage gravy), two eggs, hash browns, and two buttermilk pancakes. Unfortunately, all those delicacies add up—to a whopping 1,850 calories (1,030 from fat) and 725 mg of cholesterol. Maybe limit yourself to just one breakfast food per meal?
5. Long John Silver’s Big Catch
Long John Silver’s Big Catch was recently dubbed the “Worst Restaurant Meal in America” after the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) tested the meal’s nutritional value. While 1,320 calories per meal isn’t the highest calorie count on our list, this fried-fish special still packs in 33 grams of trans fat and nearly 3,700 mg of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends that people consume 2 grams or less of trans fat per day, meaning that this meal has enough trans fat to tide you over for more than two weeks! Also disgusting? The advertised 7 to 8 ounces of premium haddock that is the centerpiece of the meal was found by CSPI to actually be 4.5 ounces of fish and 3 ounces of trans-fat-drenched batter.
6. Smoothie King The Hulk Strawberry
How bad can a smoothie be—it’s basically just like eating a lot of fruit, right? Wrong. Smoothies can be nutritional bombs, with lots of added sugar and non-fruit fillers. Take Smoothie King’s The Hulk Strawberry, a “nutritious smoothie meal.” The 40-ounce serving of this shake contains enough calories for an entire day (1,928) plus 64 grams of fat and 250 grams of sugar! Eat a piece of fruit and drink some milk instead to satisfy your cravings.
7. Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad with Beef
A salad is always a safe choice if you want to eat healthily, right? Not if you get the Fiesta Taco Salad with Beef from Taco Bell. This nutritional disaster contains 780 calories (380 from fat) and 1,590 mg of sodium. Those figures probably cancel out the few virtuous scraps of lettuce in that bowl.
8. Quiznos Veggie Guacamole
Jared from Subway lost a ton of weight eating subs, so a hoagie (especially a veggie one) might seem like a good on-the-go meal. Maybe if you skip all the delicious parts of the sandwich (like the cheese and dressing), this could be a good choice. Otherwise, one large Veggie Guacamole sub from Quiznos will deliver a jaw-dropping 530 fat calories (out of 1,050 total calories), 17 grams of saturated fat, 102 grams of carbohydrates, and 1,910 mg of sodium straight to your waistline.
9. Wendy’s Baconator
OK, if you’ve willingly ordered a burger called the Baconator from Wendy’s, then you’re probably not super concerned about living a long and healthy life. But be warned—this burger lives up to its name, containing 970 calories (530 from fat), 1,890 mg of sodium, and 210 mg of cholesterol. But it also contains 57 grams of protein, two quarter-pound beef patties, smoked bacon, mayonnaise, and American cheese. We’ve all got to die sometime, right?
10. Chipotle Chicken Burrito
If your road-trip cravings take you south of the border, be sure to skip Chipotle’s Chicken Burrito. This burrito with beans, rice, veggies, salsa, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole boasts 1,185 calories and 52.5 grams of fat. Satisfy yourself by making it a burrito bowl instead—the tortilla alone has 290 calories and 9 grams of fat.
11. Five Guys Fries
The thick-cut fries at Five Guys are billed as “just plain potatoes cooked in 100 percent peanut oil,” which sounds super healthy until you pick up your order and the paper bag is stained with grease in about five seconds. Sadly, these fries are as bad for you as they are delicious—a regular-sized order has 953 calories (370 from fat) and 962 mg of sodium. The large order is even worse, containing 1,314 calories (511 from fat), 57 grams of fat, and 1,327 mg of sodium. Considering that the fries are a side order, that’s a lot of calories to accompany your meal!
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