Fast food restaurants have a bad reputation when it comes to nutritional value—and for good reason. “The burritos at Chipotle are a humongous calorie bomb,” says Alicia Romano, MS, RD, LDN, clinical registered dietitian at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center. Not only are you eating an abundance of calories, but you’re pushing sodium that’s greater than your entire recommended daily intake. In fact, one carnitas burrito has 1,350 calories and 2,590 milligrams of sodium (current recommendations are 2,300 milligrams a day). And it’s not the ingredients themselves that are too terrible for you, it’s the large quantities of rice and meats like the carnitas drenched in salty seasonings that overload your meal with carbs, calories, fat, and sodium. Instead, Romano swaps out the burrito for a burrito bowl with half a serving of brown rice, half a serving of beans, grilled chicken, and a small serving of tomato salsa, which cuts your calories down to just 400! And try to skip the guac, which adds an additional 230 calories to your meal. Don’t miss these 50 foods nutritionists swear they never eat.
Nutritionists usually avoid selecting pastries and baked goods like muffins at fast food joints because they’re packed with bad fats like saturated fats, a major contributor to heart disease. When Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and co-creator of the weight loss program, 2B Mindset, needs a quick breakfast pick-me-up at Starbucks, she never orders the apple bran muffin. “Bran, matcha, and chai are buzzy words that people immediately associate as being healthy,” says Muhlstein. “It’s so deceiving because they’re typically not.” In fact, the apple bran muffin has more fat and calories than the plain bagel at Starbucks.