When you’re sitting down to a meal at one of America’s classic chain restaurant establishments, you’re probably not looking to skimp on calories. After all, restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory aren’t known for hosting Weight Watchers meetings. But do you know just how bad for you a single meal is?
No. 9: The Cheesecake
Factory – Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake -Calories: 1,500
-Sat. Fat: 43 g
-Sugar: 21 tsp.
You can’t finish a meal at The Cheesecake Factory without a slice of their famous dessert — but you probably could do without the extra 1,500 calories it’ll add to what surely was not a light meal in the first place. If you’re one of those “I can eat whatever I want, I just exercise,” types, you’ll need to engage in 4.5 hours of calorie-busting aerobics to burn off that slice, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
No. 8: Chevys – Super Cinco Combo -Calories: 1,920
-Sat. Fat: 36 g
-Sodium: 3,950 mg
This meal comes with a beef enchilada, a chicken enchilada, a crispy or soft beef taco, a hand-rolled pork tamale and a chile relleno — and don’t forget your sides of Mexican rice, sweet corn tamalito and a choice of homemade beans a la charra, refried beans with bacon (the obvious choice) or black beans. And since everyone feels like participating in a heart-pumping activity after gorging on Mexican, it’s worth noting that you’ll only need 3.5 hours of playing tennis to burn off these calories.
No. 7: BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse – Small Deep Dish Chicken Bacon
Ranch Pizza -Calories: 2,160
-Sat. Fat: 30 g
-Sodium: 4,680 mg
At nine inches, this deep-dish pie might be smaller than your typical pizza, but CSPI says that it’s the caloric equivalent of eating three Pizza Hut personal pan pepperoni pizzas. You would need to bike nonstop for 5.5 hours to burn off this pie.
No. 6: The Cheesecake Factory – Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted
Garlic -Calories: 2,410
-Sat. Fat: 63 g
-Sodium: 1,370 mg
Bow-tie pasta, chicken, mushrooms, tomato, pancetta, peas and carmelized onions — that meal doesn’t sound incredibly unhealthy, right? Add a garlic-parmesan cream sauce to the mix, and you’ve suddenly got a fat bomb on your hands. This pasta dish packs three times the recommended daily intake for fat.
To set the calorie counter back to zero, you’d need to fit in an after-dinner jog … for about five hours.
No. 5: Maggiano’s Little Italy – Prime New York Steak Contadina Style
-Sat. Fat: 66 g
-Sodium: 5,260 mg
Let’s talk in a language any American can understand: McDonald’s menu items. This meal from Maggiano’s is equivalent to nine McDonald’s quarter pounder beef patties, plus one cheeseburger. You’d have to hop on the rowing bike for seven hours to get your pre-steak body back.
Because a pound and a half of meat slathered in sauce isn’t enough, the folks at Famous Dave’s serve up this dish with a cornbread muffin, baked beans and fries. To keep these spare ribs from becoming your spare tire, you’d have to mow the lawn for 7.5 hours. Your neighbors will be thrilled.
Start your day with this meal, and you’d technically be eating a day and a half’s worth of calories. To burn off the custard-soaked bread, powdered sugar, maple-butter syrup and bacon, you’d have to swim laps for seven hours. Go.
Seafood is known as a lean, healthy source of protein … that is, unless it’s battered, stuffed and fried beyond recognition. The Big “Hook” Up Platter consists of seafood and crab balls stuffed with cream cheese and coated in breadcrumbs, beer-battered fish, fries, coconut shrimp, crab stuffed shrimp, hushpuppies and coleslaw. And of course, ranch and pineapple plum sauce for dippin’.
At 7,610 milligrams of sodium, it’s not recommended you touch any salt for the next five days. To burn it off, play golf for 11 hours — sans cart and caddie, of course.
If the term “Monster” doesn’t hint that this meal is less than healthy, the fact that these steak fries are served “bottomless” should be warning enough. That’s right — you get as many 370-calorie servings of fries as you can handle. If you’d like to wash the salty side down with one of their Monster Salted Caramel Milkshakes, add another 1,500 calories. And, in a restaurant where your first serving is never your last, you can get endless milkshake refills for just a dollar more. The savings are tempting … until you start adding up future hospital bills.
To burn this one off, you’d just need to find a mall, some power tunes, and a 12-hour block of time to speed walk the calories away.