The Winner Of The Worst Fast Food Is.......

October 27, 2011   16 Comments

Take a good hard look at the plate of food above. What do you see?

Worst Fast Food

You know what I see? The color BROWN. All of the food on that basket is brown, the soda on the side of it is brown, and the dessert I was offered (apple pie) was also brown.

I guess if you ate the rainbow the rest of the day with ZERO brown, you might get away with it. Here is the photo of last week's healthiest fast food winner - Chipotle:


And that's where we'll find it...the rainbow connection! The lovers, the dreamers and meeeeeee. la di da....

musical interlude brought to you by Kermit the Frog

Simple fact. If you are eating one color, you are not having a healthy meal. The fast food meal at the top of the page is particularly atrocious because of what it contains.

I am going to pick on Popeye's today - but really you can find this sort of monochrome meal at many fast food joints. This meal for $6.10 includes a biscuit, deep fried chicken strips, fries, a ranch dressing sauce, and a 22 ounce soda.

When you deep fry something and THEN put ranch dressing on it - you create a massive calorie bomb. Sadly, Popeye's did not have their nutrition information up to date on their website (no chicken strip or ranch dressing sauce information).

I am going to take an informed guess on the calorie content of this entire meal - 1770 calories and 85 grams of fat.

That one meal at Popeye's is the recommended calorie consumption for my entire day! AAACK! and all I ate was brown food!

Yes, I did eat it because it was lunch time and I don't like to waste food. I eat almost everything I photograph for the site - and this was no exception.

How did it taste? It tasted really good at the beginning and then all I could taste was salt. How did I feel after eating some of it? I felt kinda sick.

No, I couldn't finish it. Have you tried Popeye's food? How do you deal with fast food in your daily life?

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So true... Colour is without a doubt the best indicator of nutritional value. No colour? The chances are it is processed, refined carbohydrate... full of calories and low in nutrients!!

I try not to eat fast food too much. I would say we go twice a month. Lately, when we do go, I've really been making an effort to get the healthiest option available. I also add any vegetable or fruit sides offered. You may not realize that a lot of fast food places now offer a fruit cup. The one at Chick-fil-a is really good, all the fruit is just really fresh. Oh, and in my book French fries aren't a vegetable side. I've been avoiding them altogether. I don't even like them as much anymore. All I ever taste is salt.

so scary! We don't eat fast food because not many have truly vegan options (even french fries are cooked in the same grease as chicken and fish). Really, Forks over Knives was such an eye opener to me about how dangerous it is to eat such unhealthy food that I doubt I'll ever eat fast food again. Thankfully, our city has a bunch of vegan and vegetarian restaurants with good fresh ingredients, and a few "junk food" items if you have a craving for some. ;) Shame on you, Popeyes for not even having all the nutrition facts available so people can make safe choices!

What a sad looking meal...the food just looks sad to me, like it's saying "why were we subjected to all this frying!"

I definitely agree about the colors! I try to incorporate as many colors as I can into my diet. The only brown food I really like to indulge in is chocolate =]

I just want to say thanks for opening our eyes and helping us to make informed choices - being aware can be so overwhelming at times ... but I really appreciate your input.

I've never been to a Popeye's but I'd go there as a special treat, and like you said, eat the rainbow the rest of the week. But checking on their website I think you could have eaten a healthier meal at Popeye's.

They have "naked" entrees and a "Naked" complete meal of 3 tenders, green beans, and a toasted baguette roll for 300 calories.

I think it's not always about where we eat, but what we eat. There really are healthy choices out there for people who choose to eat Fast Food.

I eat fast food about once every 2 months so if I do go out, I tend to a point. I try not to drink my calories or get too much food to begin with.

I found the current nutrionals. It's not 1770 calories. But it is high in fat. Very high.

One Breast provides 350 cals and 20 grams of fat. A seemingly modest two-piece combo meal, including a mild chicken breast and wing, a biscuit and coleslaw adds up to a whopping 1,000 calories, 66 grams fat, 21 grams saturated fat and 2,570 milligrams sodium.

You know what I do when I eat at Popeye's? Do what Mamma always said. Make sure you have two colors on your plate at least three if you can. Get the red beans and rice and green beans, skip the biscuit and pull the skin off the chicken. It's still not that much lower in cals but tastes just as good and is slightly better for you.

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To answer your question "how do you deal with fast food in your life?", we don't eat it at all! I do have one exception and it is a rare exception, Chick-fil-a. I love their food (chicken nuggets, chicken salad sandwich, and grilled chicken on a side salad). I get the fruit cup for my kids instead of fries. Other than that, we do not eat fast food at all. If I am in a hurry, I will do a healthy wrap at home. For packaged food, I use the Applegate brand of chicken strips. Even a PB&J at home is more healthy than fast food. I use the fresh peanut butter that only contains peanuts with an organic jelly and a 15 grain bread without high fructose corn syrup. The majority of the time I am cooking a freshly made meal with fresh fruits, veggies, meats and many herbs. And, yes, I am a full time working mom and still somehow make time for our family meals!

I'm in my late 60s, and this is the first time I've ever heard about the rainbow method of eating. What a great idea!

2,570 mg sodium in one meal? That's 2-1/2 times my daily allowance!!!

My husband anf three daughters have Celiac Disease, so we don't go out to eat often. But when we do, I do let them get what they want, as long as it's Gluten-Free, of course. We make up for it the rest of the time by eating 'by the rainbow,' as it's been called.

Yikes. I've never eaten there but it even looks gross... and I gain weight if I average anything over 1500 calories a day (I'm petite.) I was at a state fair and some kid did a science fair exhibit that was really telling... he used diabetic test kits and took blood sugar levels on people after they ate various fast food or junk items, both normal and diabetic test subjects to see how quickly the blood sugar rose and dropped. It was scary. I don't remember the source but it's a good way to think of this--he found some publication that said eating one french fry was the health equivalent of smoking one cigarette... one wouldn't kill you but it's the cumulative effect of the habit over time that shortens one's life and affects one's health... (and just think about all the smokers who also eat a lot of junk!) and personally, I think even if it's not as addictive as nicotine, things like fries do have that "can't stop" effect once you get going.

Really? This post is rediculous. You got the obvious worst food(health wise) on the menu and then complain that it isn't healthy enough. You could have just as easily racked up as many calories at chipotle as popeyes but you used your head and ordered as a smart consumer. You could have swapped out many of those items for others. Which is what you did at chipotle. I'm not saying Popeyes is health food or that it even tries to be, but throwing a quality fried chicken joint under the bus is crazy given the context of this site. You could have ordered red beans and rice or mashed potatoes instead of fries. You could have used hot sauce instead of ranch. You could ditch the biscuit. You didn't though.

At Chipotle you could have added at tortilla, cheese, and sour cream. You didn't. You were quick to ditch the dressing at chipotle but readily grabbed the ranch from Popeyes.

Sorry, but this post is very missleading.

I agree with above, chefprotoss!! It looks to me like she purposely set out to make the first look bad when she picked the food. U can eat unhealthy anywhere if u try.

Ok, Chefprotoss, there are certain people here (myself included) that she was talking to with this post. I am self-employed and spend alot of my day driving between clients and often find that my lunches are drive-thru. Unfortunately, I have eaten the lunch she chose to feature on several occasions. Yes, she could have chosen a healthier lunch, but that would have defeated her point. Her basic argument about this meal from the beginning was that it was mono-chromatic which essentially meant that it was unhealthy. While I knew when I ordered it that it was unhealthy and also while I was eating it, it never occured to me to consider that the unappealing, drab color of it was another indicator that it was not giving me what my body needed. So, I learned something today and gained a tool for future meal assessment - yes, it might have seemed obvious to some people, but in the spur of the moment I don't think about those types of things. If she had picked the healthy options, then her post would have been "Hey, look how healthy you can eat at a mostly-fried fast food joint", but that wasn't her point. Her point was best delivered by ordering and photographing what she did. I got it and I'm sure there are others that did as well. Lisa does a great service here that we all benefit from, so give her a break.

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I notice you recommend the Chipotle meal...I order their kid's meal (even though I'm 63), because it's just less food. Their adult's meals are just too many calories, and while healthy, too much fat. The kid's meal is a taco, with a choice of meat (barbacoa is lowest) and some vegetables in a tortilla of your choice, side of sliced apples, and a choice of juice, for the win.

For that matter, even Mickey D's can be healthier, depending on how you order it: A McChicken sandwich, comes with lettuce -- just ask for no mayo -- hold the fries, and get a much better meal. Just asking any fast food place to hold the mayo can save you around 100 calories (1 Tbsp mayo = 11 g fat, at 9 calories per gram). Just saying.

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