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7 Surprising Chain Restaurant Fat Bombs

Don’t let words like salad, grilled chicken, and avocado trick you into ordering an entrée that’s actually overflowing with calories, sodium, and saturated fat.

Fat Bomb #3: Chipotle Build Your Own Salad

Typical salad build (chicken, lettuce, black beans, guacamole, cheese, and vinaigrette dressing)
Calories: 830
Fat: 53.5g (13g sat fat)

Order instead: Taco build (crispy corn tortillas, pork, black beans, fajita veggies, and red tomatillo salsa)
Calories: 550
Fat: 17g (4g sat fat)

You made the choice to forgo an overstuffed burrito and didn’t order chips on the side. Great start, but hold up: Skipping a shell won’t save you calories and fat if you load your lettuce with heaps of cheese and a colossal scoop of guac. A smarter strategy for ordering Tex-Mex takeout: Use Chipotle’s online nutrition calculator, advises Gans. Pick your base—burrito, bowl, tacos, or salad—plus protein and toppings, and see where your meal weighs in before you step up to order.

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Fat Bomb #4: McDonald’s Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich

Calories: 670
Fat: 33g (9g sat fat)

Order instead: Premium McWrap Chicken Sweet Chicken Chili (Grilled)
Calories: 360
Fat: 9g (2.5g sat fat)

Skipping the Quarter Pounder with Cheese and ordering the chicken sandwich—smart move, right? Not so fast. This beast actually has more calories and fat than a Big Mac. The fried patty—along with the bacon, cheese, and mayo it’s topped with—are practically dripping with saturated fat and contain 1,410mg of sodium, more than half of what a guy needs in a day. Too much sodium can lead to bloating, says Gans, so the hard work you did in the gym this morning won’t even have a chance to show up.

But going for chicken is still a good instinct when you’re at the Golden Arches. Just make sure it’s grilled and doesn’t come with a lot of fatty extras. The Premium McWrap Chicken Sweet Chicken Chili (Grilled) has 400 fewer mg of sodium, plus it’s stuffed with filling veggies such as cucumbers and spring greens. “And it still provides 26g of protein, which is plenty,” notes Gans.

Fat Bomb #5: TGI Friday’s Hibachi Chicken Skewers

Calories: 1,330
Fat: 41g (5g sat fat)

Order instead: Dragonfire Chicken
Calories: 660
Fat: 15g (1.5g sat fat)

Grilled chicken is a great go-to muscle food, but watch out for sweet-tasting sauces. This miso-glazed entrée is the perfect example of how sugar can crank up the calories in an otherwise healthy source of protein. Go for the Dragonfire Chicken instead—its sauce is spicy, not sweet, and pineapple pico de gallo and mandarin oranges add natural flavor to the dish.

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