By now it’s common knowledge that the majority of fast food offerings aren’t exactly good for you. Sure, you can eat a salad at McDonald’s for an under-300 calorie meal, but most fast food customers are ordering the high-cal classics—burgers, chicken nuggets, fries—and chasing them down with cokes and milkshakes. We’ve rounded up some easy ways to down 1,000 calories in one sitting at 9 major fast food chains. You’d be surprised by how easy it is.
When we head to our local fast food spot, we usually don’t just order a burger and leave. Offerings like McDonald’s Extra Value Meals, Wendy’s Combo Meals, and KFC Value Combos make it incredibly easy to eat a lot more than you planned, simply because you’re given the impression that you’re getting a good deal, and that it’s not a full “meal” until it’s eaten with a side of mashed potatoes and coleslaw. In reality, that new Four Cheese Whopper from Burger King that you’re been wanting to try contains 850 calories, so there’s no reason to supplement it with a 410 calorie medium order of onion rings or fries.
According to Health.gov’s Dietary Guidelines, adult women should consume between 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day, and men between 2,000 and 3,000 calories, depending on age and physical activity level. “Due to reductions in basal metabolic rate that occurs with aging, calorie needs generally decrease for adults as they age,” the guidelines state. In any rate, eating more than 1,000 calories in one sitting isn’t good for anyone’s diet.
Every fast food chain offers some extraordinarily unhealthy items, from a 1,160-calorie Big Hot Pastrami Melt at Wendy’s to the unhealthiest fast food burger in America, the 1,300-calorie Monster Thickburger from Hardee’s, which also contains 93 grams of fat. But if you’re looking to eat healthier, there are plenty of salads and grilled chicken sandwiches that will fill you up without expanding your waistline. So read on to learn what 1,000 calories looks like at 9 popular chains, as well as some more waistline-friendly substitutions.