Restaurant entrees can easily pack in more calories than you need in an entire day, but did you know that restaurant appetizers are often the worst items on the menu for your waistline?
[sws_pullquote_small align=”sws_pq_center” textalign=”center” linecolors=”b3b3b3″ fontstyle=”normal” textcolor=”356e1b”] ap·pe·tiz·er n. A small portion of a food or drink served before or at the beginning of a meal to stimulate the desire to eat. [/sws_pullquote_small]
Appetizers are supposed to be a little tidbit to get you ready for your main course. But they now have a new meaning as their portions have gotten so large.
A recent study of more than 30,000 restaurant menu items revealed that appetizers pack in more calories, fat and sodium than entrees. The average calories in appetizers now weigh in, on average, at 813 calories compared to 675 in main courses.
To see just how bad starters have gotten, here are some of the worst appetizers for your diet.
Uno Super Chi-town Tasting Plate
2,270 calories, 146 grams fat (29 grams saturated fat)
When you’re eating pizza or other Italian dishes, appetizers aren’t necessary because the meals are so heavy. Better bets include the 140-calorie Beef Barley soup or the side salads.
Chili’s Texas Cheese Fries with Chili and Ranch
2,150 calories, 144 grams fat (62 grams saturated fat)
Not only will this appetizer provide enough calories that you need in a day, the fat is enough for more than 2 days and the saturated fat is more than you should have in four days. If you think the half-order are much better they’re not: a ½ order has 1,350 calories and 93 grams fat. The ½ order has more calories than their brownie sundae. Instead, order a side of Spicy Garlic & Lime Grilled Shrimp for 130 calories or cup of the chili for 230 calories as better bets.
Outback Steakhouse Bloomin’ Onion
1956 calories, 162 grams fat (48 grams saturated fat)
Outback Steakhouse Wings
1,876 calories; 152 grams fat (52 grams saturated fat)
Crickey! These appetizers are meant to serve more than one person but even if you share it with friends and family, the saturated fat is enough to require a side-order of Lipitor to help lower your cholesterol.
1,580 calories, 96 grams fat (34 grams saturated fat)
With the calories that equal two meals and more than twice the saturated fat you need in an entire day, you could eat two slices of the chain’s cheesecake for fewer calories than this starter.
P.F. Chang’s Spare Ribs
1180 calories, 81 grams fat (23 grams saturated fat)
This Asian appetizer has more calories than a lot of the entrees on the menu. If you want an appetizer, stick with the Shanghai Shrimp at 240 calories.
Avocado Club Egg Rolls
1,120 calories, 86 grams fat (27 grams saturated fat)
Skip the small plates and starters at CPK and go with one of their thin-crust skinny pizza choices like the Artichoke & Spinach pizza that has 960 calories.
840-850 calories, 32-51 grams fat, 8-11 grams saturated fat
You might think that you’re ordering something healthy with Calamari or Zucchini Fritti. But not these, as they’re both fried. These appetizers pack in nearly twice as many calories as you need in a meal. Opt for the Wild Mushroom & Goat cheese Flatbread entrée and have a side salad with it.
–Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD