Unhealthiest Foods At The Mall

When it comes to nutritional justice, the purveyors at most food courts deserve to be disbarred. In addition to the standard fast food peddlers, malls often offer uniquely bad-for-you treats that you’d never think of eating unless they were right there in

A few weeks ago, I ran into a colleague who’d been following my health and diet tips on Twitter. She loved them, she said, and she’d even dropped several pounds by adopting some of my secrets. But she wanted some advice about a fast-growing problem: her teenage daughter’s weight.

“We cook healthy at home, but like most teenagers, she eats a lot of her meals when she’s out with friends,” my colleague said. “Out at the mall.” 

Ouch! No three words are as clear a prelude to weight troubles as “at the mall” (except maybe “supersize it, please”). America’s malls are hothouse factories of weight-gain triggers: The smell of cinnamon buns wafting through the air, the unrelenting signage for food and drink, and the endemic stress of dealing with crowds and money. To top it off, when you’re at the mall, you’re already spending—so what’s another five bucks for a gooey treat?

But when it comes to nutritional justice, the purveyors at most food courts deserve to be disbarred. In addition to the standard fast food peddlers, malls often offer uniquely bad-for-you treats that you’d never think of eating unless they were right there in front of you while your belly is screaming “feed me!”

“The key to helping your daughter control her weight is arming her with the information she needs to make smart choices,” I said. “You need a few insider tips.” Then I laid some out for her:

Worst Mall Drink
Jamba Juice Peanut Butter Moo’d (22 oz)
770 calories
20 g fat (4.5 g saturated)
108 g sugars
The scary thing about this 22-ounce shake is that you can consume nearly half a day’s worth of calories in 3 minutes of spirited sipping, all under the pseudohealthy banner of the sacred smoothie. What’s even scarier is you’ll be slurping up the sugar equivalent of 6 packs of peanut M&M’s, all while thinking you’re doing your body a favor. While at Jamba, stick to their impressive list of smoothies in the All Fruit and Light categories.
Bonus tip: For thousands of tips and tricks like this one, download Eat This, Not That! to your iPhone. It’s like having your own personal nutritionist in your pocket wherever you go--with facts on more than 100,000 restaurant and supermarket foods.

Drink This Instead!
Jamba Juice Mango Mantra (16 oz)
150 calories
0.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
27 g sugars

SAVE 620 CALORIES AND 20 GRAMS OF FAT! Make this smart swap just a couple times a week and lose more than 15 pounds a year!

 
 

Worst Slice of Pizza
Sbarro Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza (1 slice)
890 calories
42 g fat
3,200 mg sodium
The architecture of this thing makes it less like a slice of pizza and more like a pizza-inspired Chipotle Burrito. It relies on an oversize shell of oily bread to hold together a gooey wad of cheese and pepperoni. The net result is a pizza pocket with two-thirds of your day’s fat and more than a day’s worth of sodium. And the traditional pizza slices aren’t much better; few fall below 600 calories. If you want to do well at Sbarro, think thin crust with nothing but produce on top.
Bonus tip: Another bit of menu magic: Order anything from the 20 Best Restaurant Foods in America, and leave the restaurant feeling satisfied with your healthy and delicious dish. You'll enjoy the healthiest versions of your favorite meals.

Eat This Instead!
Sbarro New York Style Fresh Tomato Pizza (1 slice)
450 calories
14 g fat
1,040 mg sodium

SAVE 440 CALORIES AND 28 GRAMS OF FAT! Make this smart swap just a couple times a week and lose more than 10 pounds of fat in a year.


Worst Chinese Meal

Panda Express Orange Chicken with Fried Rice
970 calories
38 g fat (7.5 g saturated)
1,540 mg sodium
It’s unfortunate that this dish happens to be one of the most popular on Panda’s menu. Consider the recipe: Battered and fried, then coated in a sugary syrup. It’s like Colonel Sanders meets Willy Wonka. Pair with a scoop of fried rice and you’ve got a dish with serious flab-enhancing potential. Here’s a better survival strategy: Skip the rice altogether and choose steamed veggies instead. Then pick any entrée besides orange chicken.
Bonus tip: You already know to watch out for calories from food. But we consume about a quarter of our day’s calories in liquid form. Read The 40 Best and Worst Beers to find out how that’s possible, and look for the upcoming Drink This, Not That! book, which shows you how to make the smartest choices in the entire beverage world.

Eat This Instead!
Panda Express Broccoli with Eggplant and Tofu
460 calories
30 g fat (4.5 g saturated)
1,400 mg sodium

SAVE 510 CALORIES AND 8 GRAMS OF FAT. 

Worst Sandwich
Panera Bread Full Chipotle Chicken on Artisan French
990 calories
56 g fat (15 g saturated, 1 g trans)
2,370 mg sodium
Panera, home to soups, salads, and a general feeling of well-being (not to mention free Wi-Fi!), benefits from a beaming health halo—a perceived virtuousness that doesn’t necessarily play out in the hard realities of their nutritional stats. Yes, you can carefully construct a well-balanced 500-calorie meal, but you can also unknowingly consume 1,500 calories without breaking a sweat. Take this sandwich: It begins innocently enough (chicken and white bread), but is supported by a scurrilous cast of bacon strips, high-fat chipotle sauce, and a tarp of cheddar cheese, the most fattening of cheese choices.
Bonus tip: Sandwiches can be excellent lunch choices, or utter diet destroyers. See the 30 Worst Sandwiches in America for more examples like this one.

Eat This Instead!
Panera Bread Full Smoked Turkey on Country Miche Bread
560 calories
17 g fat (2.5 g saturated)
1,960 mg sodium

SAVE 430 CALORIES AND 39 GRAMS OF FAT! 

 
The Worst Mall Food in America
Cinnabon Regular Caramel Pecanbun
1,100 calories
56 g fat (10 g saturated, 5 g trans)
47 g sugars
141 g carbohydrates
Cinnabon and malls are inseparable. Consider it a symbiotic relationship: Researchers have found that we're turned on by the smell of cinnamon rolls, and further studies have shown that we're more likely to spend money when we're thinking about sex. But just because Cinnabon might be good for Gap doesn’t mean it’s all good for you. This dangerously bloated bun contains nearly an ENTIRE day’s worth of fat, two and a half times the unhealthy trans fats you should get in a day, and more than half of your daily allotment of calories. (For those keeping score, that’s as much as you’ll find in 8 White Castle hamburgers).
Bonus tip: Save calories, time, and money with our FREE Eat This, Not That! newsletter. Sign up today and you’ll get the Eat This, Not That! guide to shopping once and eating for a week for free!

Eat This Instead!
Cinnabon Stix
379 calories
21 g fat (6 g saturated, 4 g trans)
14 g sugars
41 g carbohydrates

SAVE A WHOPPING 721 CALORIES AND 35 GRAMS OF FAT!

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