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The 5 Worst Items at Denny's

In the second part of our 10-part series on eating at chain restaurants, we take a look at Denny's. Check out part one, where we examine Starbucks.

Denny's, a classic all-night American diner, is a favorite for many. Although Denny's offers a variety of menu options, it is probably best known for its expansive breakfast menu, which is available anytime, day or night.

Although Denny's may hold a special place in your heart, many of their menu items may not be so good for your heart. Let's take a look at the worst calorie offenders on Denny's menu and see what lighter, lower-calorie options you can choose instead.

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DON'T EAT: The Grand Slamwich with Hash Browns


This sandwich and hash browns pair clocks in at an astonishing 1,530 calories. It also contains a whopping 102 grams of fat (45 grams of heart-clogging saturated fat) and 3,690 milligrams of sodium, both more than you need in an entire day. Considering you only need 65 grams of fat per day and it is recommended that you limit sodium to a maximum of 2,300 milligrams per day, this sandwich is one you should not slam down.

INSTEAD EAT:
Denny's now offers the Fit Slam, which provides a much more reasonable 390 calories, 10 grams of fat (2 grams saturated fat) and 890 milligrams of sodium.

DON'T EAT: Peanut Butter Cup Pancake Breakfast with Hash Browns & Fried Eggs

This sugary breakfast combo racks up 1,500 calories, 92 grams of fat (31 grams saturated fat) and 2,130 milligrams of sodium. In addition to all of that fat, it also contains 144 grams of carbohydrates from refined carbs and added sugar (73 grams of sugar per serving).

INSTEAD EAT: Opt for a Fit Fare Omelet, a protein-packed menu item that will only set you back 350 calories, 16 grams of fat (6 grams of saturated fat) and 850 milligrams of sodium, which is much better in comparison to the calorie-catastrophe listed above. You can also add one Hearty Wheat Pancake, which contains 155 calories and less than 1 gram of fat (ask them to leave off the pat of butter, and request sugar-free pancake syrup). Added bonus: the Hearty Wheat Pancake contains 4 grams of fiber compared to just 1 gram in the Buttermilk Pancake.

DON'T EAT: Zesty Nachos

Who can resist a spicy, crunchy appetizer? You should avoid this one, which provides an outrageous 1,320 calories, 65 grams of fat (34 grams saturated fat), 2,260 milligrams of sodium, and 135 grams of carbohydrates. Even if you're splitting this with a couple friends, this is still way too many calories to take in as a starter.

INSTEAD EAT: If you must have something before your main meal, order a cup of Vegetable Beef Soup (112 calories), a Garden Salad with Fat-Free Dressing (129-145 calories), or Seasonal Fruit (just 70 calories).

DON'T EAT: BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger or Bourbon Bacon Burger with French Fries

These burgers are diet disasters, with 1,500 to 1,520 calories, 83 to 88 grams of fat (26 to 27 grams saturated fat) and 1,720 to 2,220 milligrams of sodium, thanks to all the fatty meat, multiple slices of cheese and bacon, and deep-fried potatoes.

INSTEAD EAT: If you're really craving a burger, create your very own tasty, healthier version using their Build Your Own Burger option. Choose either the Grilled Seasoned Chicken Breast (196 calories) or the Veggie Patty (164 calories), and opt for a whole wheat bun (194 calories). To lower the calorie count even further, ask them to leave off the bun entirely and wrap it in lettuce. Low-cal additions include lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, pickles, red onions, spinach, ketchup and mustard.

DON'T EAT: Fish & Chips with French Fries

Think all fish is healthy? Not true when it is battered and deep fried. Something is fishy about a meal that totals 1,330 calories, 73 grams of fat (13 grams saturated fat) and 1,930 milligrams of sodium.

INSTEAD EAT: Dive into the Fit Fare Tilapia Ranchero--only 450 calories and 19 grams of fat (6 grams saturated fat). It's a tasty option that won't wreck your healthy diet.

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The 5 Worst Items at Starbucks

Kari Hartel, RD, LD is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian and freelance writer based out of St. Louis, MO. Kari is passionate about nutrition education and the prevention of chronic disease through a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Kari holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Southeast Missouri State University and is committed to helping people lead healthy lives. She completed a yearlong dietetic internship at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL, where she worked with a multitude of clients and patients with complicated diagnoses. She planned, marketed, and implemented nutrition education programs and cooking demonstrations for the general public as well as for special populations, including patients with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, obesity, and school-aged children.



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