Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be writing about some of the worst foods on offer at some of the most popular restaurants across the country. These are the foods you should avoid at all costs. However, we don't focus solely on the negative aspects of these restaurants since most of them have some great healthy choices available.
It's up to you to be prudent at the drive-thru. All of the restaurants that are reviewed offer full disclosure of their menu nutrition. If you intend to make these restaurants part of your diet, I strongly encourage you to visit the websites of your favorite restaurants and arm yourself with the knowledge so you can order the right stuff!
First up on our list is everyone's favorite amalgamation of fast-food and Mexican cuisine, Taco Bell. Here's what not to eat.
DON'T DRINK: Mountain Dew Baja Blast, 40 ounce
Clocking in at a whopping 550 calories of pure emptiness, the 40 ounce Baja Blast is the worst drink on the menu. Soda in general should be avoided, but this mega-sized Mountain Dew brand should be avoided at all costs.
INSTEAD DRINK: Opt for a Frutista drink or how about some high quality H20? You'll cut out the excess calories, and help replenish the lost fluid and electrolytes from your workout that day.
DON'T EAT: XXL Grilled Stuft Burritos
Coming in steak, beef, and chicken varieties, the XXL Grilled Stuft Burritos clock in anywhere from 830 to 880 calories, with an average of over 37 grams of fat. These really are the worst burritos on the menu, even if they may be the tastiest.
INSTEAD EAT: Opt instead for a regular bean or black bean burrito. You'll save on the calories as well as the total and saturated fat content. Plus, you can eat two of those and still not reach the calorie count of one XXL Burrito (not that we recommend eating two of them).
DON'T EAT: Volcano Nachos
Not only are these bad boys spicy as all get out, they wallop the scales at 970 calories, 520 from fat, and a whopping 58 grams of fat. Bam! Avoid these at all cost.
INSTEAD EAT: If you have a hunger pain for nachos at Taco Bell, stick with the plain or cheesy nachos. You'll cut calories and fat content by nearly two-thirds. You can pair that with one of the better options for a complete, pretty good for you on-the-go meal.
DON'T EAT: Fiesta Taco Salads
Many places, and not just Taco Bell, are guilty of the "everyone thinks salads are healthy so let's play along game." The Fiesta Taco Salads also comes in beef, chicken or steak varieties, and will set you back anywhere from 730 to 780 calories and average out at 37 grams of fat.
INSTEAD EAT: The best option here is to stick with the Express Taco Salad with chips. It's the best salad on the menu.
DON'T EAT: Beefy 5-Layer Burrito
Off of the value menu, the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito has the most calories and highest fat content of all of the items on the Why Pay More menu. Avoid it.
INSTEAD EAT: Go for one or two of the Cheese Roll-Up or Crunchy or Soft Beef tacos. They have about half as much calories and fat content.
As always, Taco Bell does offer healthier menu options, you just have to be a little diligent and order with your head and not your empty stomach! Before you head over and Live Más, make sure you check out their nutrition information here.
Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement
and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports
Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as
well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University
of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous collegiate and amateur
athletes across many different fields. Ryan also has had the opportunity
to work with several professional athletes. Recently he has worked with
amateur and professional athletes within the emerging sport of Mixed
Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can contact Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.