At least once in your life, you would have visited a fast food restaurant. They are convenient and some people regularly indulge in them but now, Redditors who have been employed at America’s top restaurant chains are sharing the menu items you should never order.
These aren’t all for the same reason. Some are because their ingredients are handled poorly or are bad quality. Others just aren’t worth it for the money. Some are absolutely loaded with sodium and fat, whereas, others are just a pain in the neck to make.
Fast food restaurants aren’t exactly known for offering healthy options. In response to the outrage surrounding the nutritional emptiness on the McDonald’s menu, comedian Jim Gaffigan quipped, “We sell burgers and fries. We never said we were a farmer’s market.”
But it’s not just about the unhealthiness. It’s also a matter of poor hygiene, low-quality food, high prices, and some menu items just not worth buying. Thankfully, the employees of the fast food industry have come together to provide the internet with a definitive list of what you should not eat.
From old, rancid chili to calorie-laden sandwiches, here are 50+ foods you should skip next time you go out to eat.
1. Starbucks: Anything Food Items
Starbucks offers a range of expensive menu items and the truth is, the food isn’t good quality. Employees say it’s all prepackaged and comes frozen, so it’s definitely not worth the price.
2. P.F. Chang’s: Pad Thai Chicken
This dish is absurdly unhealthy. Not only is it a mind-boggling 1,230 calories but it also contains 2,590 mg of sodium, and well over your daily recommended sugar intake at 43 g.
3. Chipotle: Tacos
Chipotle has some pretty die-hard fans who might be disappointed to face the truth: their favorite chain’s tacos dish up only half portions for the same price.
4. White Castle: Hash Round Nibblers
You wouldn’t think that a bag of hash browns could run up so many calories. Go easy on this chain’s hash round nibblers, which in a sharing bag contain 1,440 calories and 110 g of fat.
5. Burger King: Fish Sandwiches
Burger King isn’t exactly known for its fish sandwiches but they’re on the menu. You may be better off getting a burger, though. The fish isn’t good quality and it tends to sit around in storage for quite some time.
6. Taco Bell: Breakfast Items (If you have dietary restrictions)
Taco Bell usually has plenty of protocols in place to avoid cross-contamination of meats and vegetables. However, those protocols are broken during breakfast time when bacon sits on the same side of the kitchen as vegetables, potentially mixing the two.
7. Auntie Anne’s: Jumbo Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel Dog
There’re no health risks involved in this one unless you count exploding arteries. This pretzel dog contains 650 calories, 31 g of fat, and 1,360 mg of sodium.
8. Wendy’s: Chili
Eating chili at fast food restaurants is usually never a good idea. It’s known as the food item that sits in the kitchen for days or weeks. Do yourself a favor and skip the chili next time you’re at Wendy’s.
9. Moe’s Southwest Grill: The Homewrecker Burrito with Chicken
You can find healthy burritos on the market. Unfortunately, the chicken Homewrecker Burrito from Moe’s isn’t one of them. At 945 calories and 1,859 mg of sodium, it’s far from health food.
10. Subway: Tuna Sandwiches
There are plenty of sandwich choices at Subway but you may want to skip the tuna melt. The tuna tends to sit out for a long time without getting refreshed or replaced. It may even be expired.
11. Dunkin’ Donuts: Hot Drinks
Dunkin’ Donuts is known primarily as a place to get a cup of coffee and a doughnut but you’re better off with a cold drink. Dunkin’s cold drinks are actually larger, so you’ll get more return for your money.
12. Arby’s: Roast Beef
It’s not a good day when your top menu item is the one your customers really shouldn’t try. Arby’s roast beef comes in a paste that needs to be dried out in the oven. If you order in the first few hours of the day, you might be getting yesterday’s leftovers.
13. Chick-Fil-A: Grilled Foods (if you have a gluten allergy)
There’s a reason Chick-Fil-A has a wide fan base: they offer great service and tasty food. But apparently, the chain is not the best at keeping gluten out of gluten-free food since employees often use the same grill without cleaning it between orders.
14. Church’s Chicken: Cob Sandwich
You might think that a chicken sandwich with some vegetables would be at least a little bit healthy. But Church’s cob sandwich is a whopping 810 calories with 1,460 mg of sodium.
15. Jimmy John’s: Iced Tea at Night
Jimmy John’s is a popular sandwich chain in many parts of the country. You can go there to get a sub at any time but don’t get the iced tea if it’s getting close to closing time. The container probably hasn’t been cleaned out, making it gooey inside.
16. Sbarro: Roman 16” Meat Primo Pizza
Sometimes, there are fast food items you want to avoid just because of the insane caloric intake. The Meat Primo pizza at Sbarro is loaded at 4,610 calories and 11,440 mg of sodium.
17. Buffalo Wild Wings: Anything but Wings
At least, in this case, a fast food restaurant is providing its signature dish well. But, employees say that pretty much everything else on the menu is prepackaged and frozen.
18. Hardee’s: Charbroiled ⅔ lb. Monster Thickburger
The Monster Thickburger doesn’t sound healthy, and well, it’s not. It packs 1,329 calories, 95 g of fat, and 2,820 mg of sodium.
19. Sonic: Chili (or anything if you have food allergies)
Chili at Sonic comes prepackaged in a bag and tossed in a warmer to heat up … all day long. There’s really no way of knowing how long your bowl of chili has been stewing. Sonic also tends to be sloppy with cross-contamination so be extra careful if you have food allergies.
20. Domino’s: Philly Steak or American Cheese
When ingredients are only used for a couple of standard menu items, they don’t get refreshed a lot of in the kitchen. These items are often on the edge of going bad in the Domino’s kitchen.
21. 7-Eleven: Hot Dogs, Taquitos, and Other Food in the Warmer
This one is actually pretty darn believable. If you hit up 7-Eleven during the night shift, take a pass on the hot dogs. They may very well have been sitting in the warmer since 5 a.m.
22. Dairy Queen: Anything but a Blizzard or Hamburger
Let’s face it, Dairy Queen exists for the Blizzards. But if you’re going to order off the main menu, stick to a classic burger. Anything else is probably older than it should be and not great quality.
23. Popeye’s: Shrimp Po’Boy
Another menu item to avoid purely because of its crazy calorie count is Popeye’s shrimp Po’Boy that clocks in at 660 calories, 41 grams of fat, and 1,980 mg of sodium.
24. Denny’s: Grand Slamwich with Hash Browns
There’s nothing like starting your day out with more than half your caloric needs. The meal contains 1,320 calories and 3,320 mg of sodium.
25. Panda Express: Orange Chicken
Panda Express has an unfortunate policy for its most popular menu item: if the orange chicken starts to become dry, employees can spoon on a little uncooked sauce to keep it juicy.
26. A&W: Anything Off the Breakfast Menu After Breakfast Time
Holding off on A&W breakfast items in the afternoon isn’t a matter of health or sanitation. It’s that these items aren’t prepared ahead of time once noon rolls around, so you’re in for a bit of a wait.
27. Tim Horton’s: Anything but Bagels or Doughnuts
The general rule of the thumb seems to be that coffee shops are for coffee and bagels. Tim Horton’s menu items come frozen, might not be stored properly, and are poor quality.
28. Cinnabon: Caramel Pecanbon
It’s no surprise that a caramel cinnamon roll isn’t healthy but you probably don’t expect it’ll be quite this bad. Cinnabon’s classic caramel pecanbon is one of the unhealthiest things on its menu at 1,080 calories and 960 mg of sodium.
29. Little Caesar’s: breadsticks
Little Caesar’s breadsticks may be popular but maybe you should probably stick to the Hot-N-Ready. Breadsticks are greased up with day-old butter to keep them looking and tasting good.
30. Long John Silver’s: Baja Fish Tacos
You think that fish is a comparatively healthy dinner choice but that’s not exactly the case at Long John Silver’s. The chain’s Baja fish tacos contain many unhealthy ingredients with 820 calories, 42 grams of fat, and a whopping 2,580 mg of sodium.
31. Panera Bread: Any Kind of Soup
Panera might have some tasty items but the chain’s soups are not the dinner you should choose. They arrive frozen in bags and are defrosted in a sink that might not be clean. Then, they’re transferred to a pitcher that, well … also might not be clean.
32. Steak ’n’ Shake: Chili or Shakes
This chain is not a good choice for chili. Along with a station that’s rarely cleaned, the grease is only changed out on rare occasions.
33. Johnny Rockets: Bacon Cheddar Double Hamburger
It’s not exactly surprising that a bacon cheeseburger isn’t healthy. But the Johnny Rockets version is impressively unhealthy with 1,770 calories and 2,380 mg of sodium.
34. Friendly’s: Tuna Salad
If you’re wondering why your tuna salad sandwich at Friendly’s is extra fragrant, there’s an unpleasant answer. One employee said tuna salad was only made fresh once a week at her Friendly’s location.
35. Bojangle’s: Chicken Rice Bowl with a Biscuit
You probably don’t think chicken and rice is all that bad for you. Unfortunately, this Bojangle’s dish will pack on 1,130 calories, 126 g of carbs, and 4,370 mg of sodium.
36. KFC: Barbecue Chicken
An employee from Kentucky Fried Chicken spilled a secret about the chain’s barbecue chicken sandwiches- they’re stale. REALLY stale. It’s soaked and heated for a full month before being served, not even good enough to donate to homeless shelters.
37. Carl’s Jr: Thickburger El Diablo
Everyone knows that fast food is bad for you but Carl’s Jr. takes it to a new level with its Thickburger El Diablo. From deep-fried jalapeno poppers to an enormous amount of meat, the burger offers more than half your daily intake needs at 1,290 calories and 85 grams of fat.
38. Checkers: Chili
Chili at many fast food restaurants tends to be reheated, old, or even recycled pieces of old hamburgers or other ingredients.
39. California Pizza Kitchen: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Thin Crust Pizza
It might be thin crust but it probably won’t help you stay thin. This pizza is impressively unhealthy, loaded to the brim with 1,320 calories and 3,960 mg of sodium.
40. Jersey Mike’s Subs: Chicken Parmesan or Meatball Sub Sandwiches
The subs at Jersey Mike’s have plenty of fans … but don’t order the chicken parmesan or meat sub. They come prepackaged and are microwaved or boiled for quick and dirty prep.
41. Einstein Bagels: Egg Items
If there’s one thing you definitely want fresh, it’s an egg. Unfortunately, Einstein Bagels pops their eggs in the microwave first thing in the morning and then keeps them warm for hours.
42. McDonald’s: Fresh Fries
Several years ago, a “McDonald’s hack” went viral around the internet: to get the hottest, freshest fries, people said, customers should always ask for fresh fries. McDonald’s employees were required to make a fresh batch. The reality is, you’ll wait longer, everyone else will wait longer, and the employees will hate you.
43. Pizza Hut: Deep Dish Pizza
Here’s the thing about deep dish pizza: those special dishes can be pretty tough to clean. Pizza Hut doesn’t exactly do it right. Instead, employees throw the dishes into the washer with old bits of crust stuck on, meaning they’re not always washed properly.
44. Culver’s: Veggie Burgers
Chains that specialize in classic hamburgers are not the place to get veggie burgers. At Culver’s, they’re quickly microwaved and then cooked on the grill that’s used for meat.
45. Movie Theaters: Popcorn
Before you start to protest, there’s a caveat. You can get popcorn if you’re at a late movie. Going to a matinee? The popcorn might be left over from the night before.
46. Quiznos Large Turkey Bacon Guacamole Sub
Just because it’s a sandwich and contains a vegetable doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. The Quiznos turkey bacon guacamole sub contains 1,300 calories and 69 g of fat. The worst part is the 3,870 mg of sodium.
47. Jack-in-the-Box: Smoothies or Milkshakes (if you have a fruit allergy)
Jack-in-the-Box employees aren’t very concerned with cleaning the blender so you’re probably drinking a little bit of all the shakes that were already made that day.
48. Baseball Stadiums: Hot Dogs
When vendors pack up, they don’t throw away their unused hot dogs. Instead, they put them in water and refrigerate until the next ball game.
49. Taco John’s: Anything with Beans
Taco John’s makes its beans in the morning and then throws them on a warming table … all day long. If they get too dry? Employees add a little water.
50. Shake Shack: Double SmokeShack Burger
The Double SmokeShack burger will run you about 850 calories, with 56 g of fat and 1,895 g of sodium. And that’s just the burger — fries, dessert, and soda not included.
51. Papa John’s: John’s Favorite
In other words, an extra-large pepperoni, sausage, and six cheese pizza. A single slice packs a whopping 410 calories, 21 g of fat, and 950 mg of sodium.
52. Five Guys: Fries
While the fries at Five Guys are cooked in peanut oil, they’re a far cry from healthy. One serving has 953 calories and 962 mg of sodium.
53. Gas Stations: Slurpees
Here’s a particularly disgusting fun fact: Slurpee machines aren’t cleaned very often or very well, making them the perfect breeding ground for mold.
54. Smashburger: Chocolate Oreo Malt
It’s not exactly surprising to find out that a big milkshake is full of unhealthy ingredients. Smashburger manages to load its Chocolate Oreo malt with 950 calories worth. If you’re following up a meal of burgers and fries, you might not want to stop to do that math.
55. Chop’t: Cobb Salad Sandwich
Nope, sorry, the bad news is that even though it’s a salad on a sandwich, it is not a healthy meal. Chop’t dishes up 970 calories and 1,990 mg of sodium for what might just be the least nutritious salad of all time.
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