Skip to content

Buffalo Chicken Salad

The Count: 1030 calories, 68 g fat, 14 g saturated fat, 3730 mg sodium

"Salad" is stretching it! Fried meat, oily sauce, and cheese push this meal to 1030 calories at one popular restaurant. That's about the same as a whole pint of chocolate-chip, cookie-dough ice cream. The salad also packs nearly 25% more fat.


French Toast and Bacon

The Count: 1850 calories, 65 g sat. fat, 3110 mg sodium

Want to use up almost all of your day's calories before noon? Eat this for breakfast. It's got a stunning 1850 calories. It also has 65 grams of saturated fat. That's three times the daily limit for this unhealthy fat.


Chicken Fajitas

The Count: 1370 calories, 53 g fat, 4640 mg sodium

Chicken fajitas can be a healthy option. But they're often served with heaps of sour cream, shredded cheese, refried beans, and fried rice. Pack it all in, and you've got 1370 calories ready to pad your waistline! Instead, load up on grilled peppers, onions, chicken, and fresh salsa. Stick with just one tortilla.


Vegetarian Fried Rice

The Count: 1090 calories, 19 g fat, 2210 mg sodium

Getting Chinese takeout? Don't assume the veggie options are the healthiest. Vegetarian fried rice can hide 1090 calories. That's over half of your calories for the whole day. Instead, go for steamed dishes with lots of veggies, steamed rice, and always ask for sauce on the side.


Pasta in Carbonara Sauce

The Count: 1570 calories, 113 g fat, 62 g saturated fat, 2460 mg sodium

Grilled chicken and shrimp can be good choices. But if they're drenched in carbonara sauce, not so much. A plate of pasta with shrimp and chicken in carbonara can creep up to1570 calories. It also has 113 grams of fat. That's more fat than you'd get from eating a half-dozen glazed doughnuts. 


Deep Dish Pizza With Sausage

The Count: 2300 calories, 164 g fat, 53 g saturated fat, 4910 mg sodium

Deep dish pizza can be deep trouble. One "individual" sausage pizza is 2300 calories. That's more calories than most people should eat in a whole day. It also packs in double the daily limit of fat. Skip the sausage and opt for thin crust.


Club Sandwich

The Count: 1400 calories, 23 g sat. fat, 2100 mg sodium

Club sandwiches can be deceptive, even with lean turkey or chicken meat. This one hides 1400 calories and a whole day's worth of saturated fat. Where are all those calories hiding? In the bacon, cheese, extra slice of giant bread, and mayo. Opt for a single-decker turkey sandwich, instead. Choose plenty of veggies and a few slices of avocado for great flavor.


Large Fries

The Count: 1474 calories, 71 g fat, 14 g saturated fat, 213 mg sodium

In a pinch, you might think that just one order of fries -- and nothing else -- would be OK. Not necessarily. Large fries can have more than 1400 calories. That's like a whole loaf of white bread, with an extra bonus of unhealthy saturated fat. If you're jonesing for fries, just get a small. You'll save 1100 wasted calories.



The Count 2310 calories, 156 g fat, 45 g saturated fat, 5580 mg sodium

How bad can those little, cute burgers be? If you eat the whole order of them, pretty bad. A plate of four sliders can add up to 2310 calories. (That's more than you should consume in a full day!) Solution? Don't eat the whole order. Pack up one or two in a doggie bag and have them tomorrow.


Eat Better: Find Hidden Calories

You can skip the most fattening restaurant meals by reading the menu closely. Look for clues. Words like pan-fried, sautéed, battered, breaded, au gratin, cheesy, creamy, buttered, deep-fried, béarnaise, or crispy are usually signs of extra fat and calories. "Crisp" items are often deep-fried in oil.

Eat Better: Ask How It's Cooked

Preparation makes a big difference. Baking fish -- with herbs, veggies, and lemon juice -- adds very few calories or fat to the dish. Other healthy cooking methods include:

  • grilled
  • broiled
  • roasted
  • baked
  • poached
  • steamed

Eat Better: Go á la Carte

Skip the jumbo portions and rich sides that come with restaurant entrees. Instead, choose side orders for your meal. In a Mexican restaurant, try one corn taco of grilled meats, a cup of chicken-tortilla soup, a side salad, and a fruit dessert. You get exactly what you want and a fraction of the calories.

Eat Better: Downsize

When only a hamburger will do, or a drive-through is your only option, think small. Go for the child's meal or a junior burger. Try this switch to get your fast-food fix with fewer calories:

  • Skip: Double cheeseburger, large fries, large soda --1210 calories
  • Choose: Cheeseburger, kid's fries, extra-small soda -- 500 calories


Eat Better: Hide Temptations

Many restaurants present a picture of abundance, starting with an overflowing basket of bread or chips. To prevent mindlessly inhaling a few hundred calories before your main meal, wave the waiter away when he swoops in with the basket of carbs. Or ask the waiter to remove the basket as soon as you've had a small portion.

Eat Better: Pasta

Pasta swimming in cream sauce can be an unhealthy choice -- it's packed with fat, calories, and cholesterol. Eat a small portion of whole grain pasta and top with better sauces, such as:

  • Red clam sauce
  • Marinara sauce without meat
  • Primavera sauce without cream
  • Marsala sauce with wine, not butter


Eat Better: Pizza

Pizzerias are used to getting special orders. A few simple changes can slash the calories and fat in your pie:

  • Pile on veggies and skip the meat.
  • Ask for extra sauce and half the cheese.
  • After a slice or two, take the rest home.

Eat Better: Dessert

Fresh fruit is available at many restaurants now, even fast-food chains, thanks to demand from health-conscious diners. If it's not listed with the desserts, check the side dishes -- or ask for a special order.

Loading Next Slideshow:

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on June 29, 2015