The 20 Worst Mall Foods in America

The 20 Worst Mall Foods in America

It’s that time of year again: Chances are you’ll be logging some serious hours at the mall in the upcoming days. Blame stress, blame shopping fatigue, or blame the irresistible smell of food court treats slamming your senses from the minute you walk in the door—whatever the reason, you’ll probably end up chowing down at the mall during your shopping trip.

Here’s the danger: Studies have shown that the more temptation people resist, the harder it becomes to continue resisting. That means after hours of being surrounded by last-minute sales (!), special offers (!), and life-changing one-time deals (!), your ability to resist the enticing edibles of the mall food court may be severely compromised. And considering the industrial-strength calorie bombs we uncovered while researching the bestselling Eat This, Not That! series (Rodale Books), a lack of willpower in the presence of mall eateries can be a very dangerous thing.

Fortunately, Eat This, Not That! has developed a guide to help you navigate the nutritional pitfalls that pollute every mall food court in America. What follows is a list of the 20 worst foods we’ve uncovered in our scramble to save shoppers serious calories in the holiday seasons. Proceed with caution.

20. WORST “HEALTHY” SNACK
Starbucks
Cranberry Flax Muffin
410 calories
17 g fat (1 g saturated)
57 g carbs
32 g sugars

SUGAR EQUIVALENT: 3 Scoops of Breyers All Natural Butter Pecan Ice Cream

This sneaky muffin sounds so harmless—how can you go wrong with cranberries and flax? But it’s got as many calories as Starbucks’ more sinful-sounding scones, and its shockingly high amounts of sugar won’t do your blood-sugar levels any favors, especially if you’re at risk of diabetes and trying to cut back. If you’re going for a light and healthy breakfast with your morning coffee, choose the Banana Loaf instead, and save 150 calories and 13 grams of sugars.

Eat This Instead:
Banana Loaf
260 calories
10 g fat (1 g saturated)
39 g carbs
19 g sugars

19. WORST CHINESE MEAL
Panda Express
Orange Chicken
500 calories
27 g fat (5.5 g saturated, 1 g trans)
42 g carbs
810 mg sodium

FAT EQUIVALENT: 9 strips of Oscar Mayer Bacon!

Compared to other traditional Chinese meals (think multi-serving takeout boxes of carb-loaded lo mein), 500 calories doesn’t seem so bad. But consider the source—one small serving of Panda Express orange chicken usually comes with a second entrée (add another 300–400 calories) and a side of rice (add 450 calories if you choose the fried variety, 380 for the steamed). Make it a double serving of orange chicken and a side of fried rice and you’ve just consumed 75 percent of your day’s calories in one moment of weakness.

Eat This Instead:
Broccoli Beef
150 calories
7 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
510 mg sodium
11 g carbs

And feel free to add steamed rice to the dish—it’s almost 100 fewer calories than the fried equivalent.

18. WORST SNACK
Auntie Anne’s
Glazin’ Raisin Pretzel
510 calories
107 g carbs
4 g fat (2 g saturated)
480 mg sodium

CALORIC EQUIVALENT: 2 slices of Pizza Hut cheese pizza!

It’s hard to consider this meal. Not all of Auntie Anne’s options are this heavy, though. The jalapeño pretzel (without butter) is a reasonable-sized snack that can help give you the energy boost you need to make it through your shopping spree, without loading you down and threatening your waistline.

Eat This Instead:
Jalapeño Pretzel, no butter
270 calories
58 g carbs
1 g fat (0 g saturated)
780 mg sodium

17. WORST WRAP
Schlotzky’s
Grilled Chicken and Guacamole Wrap
695 calories
36 g fat (10 g saturated)
1,495 mg sodium
59 g carbs

CALORIC EQUIVALENT: 5 orders of Burger King onion rings!

Wraps have a great publicist. Over the years, these tortilla-wrapped vessels have become synonymous with healthy eating. Truth is, they’re more likely to be calorie bombs than the sandwiches they’re intended to replace. That’s because most wraps start with tortillas the size of hubcaps, which not only account for upwards of 300 calories on their own, they also provide the structural integrity for a deluge of dangerous toppings. What you end up with is one item in the vast universe of healthy foods that aren’t.

Eat This Instead:
Mediterranean Tuna Wrap
420 calories
12 g fat (2 g saturated)
1,300 mg sodium
57 g carbs

16. WORST SMOOTHIE
Jamba Juice
Peanut Butter Moo’d 24 oz
800 calories
21 g fat (6 g saturated)
131 g carbs
115 g sugars

SUGAR EQUIVALENT: 12 scoops of Breyers All Natural Mint Chocolate Chip

Maybe it’s called a “Moo’d” because drinking 800 calories as a snack will make you feel like a cow. The calories aren’t the only problem, though. In addition to increasing your blood sugar levels (making you more susceptible to diabetes), researchers from Duke University found that eating too many sugars and carbohydrates may also harm your liver. While the sugar content in the Strawberry Nirvana isn’t ideal, it’s a major improvement (plus it all comes from natural sources).

Drink This Instead:
Strawberry Nirvana 16 oz
170 calories
0 g fat
36 g carbs
30 g sugars

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~ by sunil khemaney on December 23, 2008.

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