Eating healthfully at a restaurant can be a challenge. But at some spots, the odds are especially stacked against you. For this year’s Xtreme Eating Awards, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nutrition consumer advocacy group, took a look at the excessively calorific meal combos available at America’s chain restaurants.
If you’re counting calories, you’ll want to steer clear of Applebee’s build-your-own appetizer sampler, CSPI tells us. The customizable platter can contain up to 3,390 calories, 65 grams of saturated fat and 11,650 milligrams of sodium if you order classics like the cheeseburger egg rolls, brew pub pretzels with beer cheese dip, chicken quesadilla, boneless wings and spinach and artichoke dip. (For reference, a day’s worth of food is 2,000 calories.) Even if you split the platter four ways, each person is still consuming more calories than the chain’s burger offering. And that’s all before tucking in to the main course.
CSPI also shares that at Maggiano’s Little Italy, a Meal for Two is also ill-advised: it starts with dinner rolls, then an appetizer, two pasta dishes, dessert and two extra pastas to take home for the next day. The most dangerous order — which would involve choices like mozzarella marinara and fettuccine alfredo — clocks in at a whopping 2,890 calories per person, and that’s excluding the take-home pastas.
They advise skipping appetizers, ordering more vegetable sides or substitutions, and cutting carbs.