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25 Foods You Should Never Buy At Publix

Publix offers plenty of healthy foods, but these aren't the best options.
publix entrace

We're thrilled that Publix has announced the opening of a GreenWise Market in Marietta, Georgia, promising 25,089 square feet of natural, wholesome, organic products. We can't say we're surprised, however, considering the fact that Publix has long been known for its wholesome, high-quality choices and consistently ranks among the nation's most beloved supermarket chains. (If you're wondering which mega-market is the least beloved, we've got the scoop right here.) Plus, there's that deli counter with those made-to-order "pub subs" that no one can seem to get enough of.

So, does that mean you can't go wrong when you shop for food at Publix? Well, no, not exactly. While Publix is famous for its delicious, healthy choices, it by no means limits itself as such. In fact, you could definitely bring home some genuinely questionable Publix-branded products if you wanted to. Here are 25 of the worst foods at Publix.

And for more foods to skip, steer clear of these 17 Worst Foods to Buy at Target.


Publix Chicken Tender Sub

publix chicken tender sub on white roll
Courtesy of Publix
Per whole sub: 1,660 calories, 83 g fat (16.5 g saturated fat), 3,085 mg sodium, 93 g carbs (10 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 120 g protein

Starting with the worst of the worst, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more terrifying combination of nutrition missteps than the Publix Chicken Tender Sub. Although like all the Pub Subs, this one is customizable, we went with a pretty basic combo: a whole sub on five-grain bread with one serving each of cheddar cheese, bacon, and a smear of Boar's Head Sub Sauce. Nevertheless, this combination clocks in at more than 1,500 calories, and it eats up your entire day's allowance of saturated fat and sodium. And that's without the hummus or avocado add-ons.

We won't judge if you want to give this impressively decadent sandwich a try, but please know you can find 7 Healthy Orders at Publix Deli here.


Publix Premium Alfredo Sauce

jar of publix alfredo sauce

Per 1/4 cup (62 g): 90 calories, 8 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 330 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein

It's not that the Publix Premium Alfredo Sauce is markedly worse than other Alfredo sauces you can buy. But still, it's Alfredo, which is made with heavy cream, butter, and cheese. That means you're looking at 18% of your daily saturated fat allowance in one quarter-cup serving. Moreover, despite that cheese is the third ingredient, this sauce offers a mere two grams of protein per serving, which is roughly one-third of the protein you get from a serving of…pasta. When the craving for pasta is upon you, consider one of these 20 Fat-Burning Pasta Recipes.


Publix Lobster Bisque

container of publix lobster bisque soup

Per container (283 g): 330 calories, 26 g fat (16 g saturated fat), 950 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 7 g protein

Lobster bisque is, by definition, a decadent creamy, savory-sweet soup concoction. But does a single serving have to contain 80% of your daily allowance of saturated fat or 41% of your daily allowance of sodium? Even the sugar content is a bit high for a soup that should be getting most of its sweetness from lobster meat.

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Publix Crunchy Sushi Roll

publix crunchy sushi roll in package
Courtesy of Publix
Per 10 pieces (227 g): 520 calories, 27 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 1,350 mg sodium, 62 g carbs (4 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 10 g protein

While sushi has a lot of healthy-meal potentials, that all goes away when your sushi is coated in panko crumbs and fried within an inch of its life like the Publix Crunchy Roll is. (Just look at the photo—you can't even see the sushi underneath all the tempura!)

We're not going to say that tempura rolls aren't delicious, just that you might want to think twice before you head out to Publix for sushi and end up coming home with this. After all, these sushi rolls are nutritionist-approved and delicious.


Freirich Pork Shoulder Butt

pork shoulder butt package

Per 4 oz (112 g): 220 calories, 18 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 660 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 16 g protein

Back in 2006, The New York Times talked up this particular product as the secret to award-winning chef Lidia Bastianich's pork and cannellini beans and raved about its buttery richness. That might explain why crowd-pleasing Publix carries it. But that doesn't make it healthy. Quite the opposite, in fact, with its hefty helpings of saturated fat, sodium, and the bad kind of nitrates that may cause cancer.

RELATED: Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!


John Morrell Liver Sausage (Braunschweiger)

john morrell sausage

Per 2 oz (56 g): 180 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 570 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 8 g protein

Also sold at Publix (although not made or labeled by Publix) is the John Morrell Braunschweiger, which is a soft, spreadable plastic-encased sausage made of minced pork, pork liver, and spices. If you've ever had liverwurst, then you're familiar with the general idea here…which is that this is not a good-for-you food. A single two-ounce serving, which is arguably not even enough for a respectable sandwich, is basically no healthier than the pork on the last slide, and yet this option has only half the protein.


Publix Lemon Flavored Drink

jug of publix lemon flavored drink

Per 1 cup (240 mL): 110 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (0 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 0 g protein

Delivering 27 grams of sugar, mostly in the form of high fructose corn syrup, and made not from lemon juice but a multi-ingredient lemon concentrate, this Publix Lemon Flavored Drink does not even bother pretending to be "lemonade." But for purposes of deciding whether it should count as one of the 40 drinks you should stop drinking after age 40, you might as well give it the benefit of the doubt. And by that we mean: Consider this drink no different from any other fruit-flavored sugar water.

RELATED: This 7-day smoothie diet will help you shed those last few pounds.


Publix Butter-Flavored Cooking Spray

publix butter flavored cooking spray

Per 1/3 second spray: 0 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein

The nice thing about the Publix Butter-Flavored Cooking Spray is that it happens to be sodium- and cholesterol-free. Also, it's made with canola oil, which is one of the healthiest cooking oils. The problem is that Publix went and flavored this cooking spray like butter, but not with butter. That defeats the whole purpose of butter, which imparts a creaminess along with its flavor. Also, please note, this product may be flammable. If you're looking for a healthier cooking spray, consider Publix's canola-based version.


Badia Imitation Vanilla, Dominican Style

bottle of badia imitation vanilla

Per 1/4 tsp: 0 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein

Speaking of fake flavors, Publix carries this Badia Imitation Vanilla at the request of its customers. But just because someone out there wants it doesn't mean you should—it's not real vanilla. Rather, it was synthesized in a lab. Here's what you need to know about "fake foods."

And for more of the foods you should skip, steer clear of these 25 Awful Ingredients Everyone Still Uses—But Shouldn't!


Publix Sweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

carton of publix vanilla almondmilk

Per 1 cup (240 mL): 70 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), <1 g protein

"Almond milk" is a bit of a misnomer, considering the fact that the beverage is mostly water. And unlike actual almonds (or actual milk), almond milk offers virtually no protein at all. What it does have is lots of liquid cane sugar (half a day's recommended allowance of sugar, to be exact). And in all fairness, we'd be remiss not to mention that Publix Sweetened Vanilla Almond Milk is supplemented with calcium and Vitamins A, D, and E. But notice we said: "supplemented." In other words, these vitamins and minerals don't naturally occur in almond milk, so you might as well just take a multivitamin.


Publix Non-Dairy French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

publix coffee creamer

Per 4 tsp (12 g): 60 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (0 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 0 g protein

Would you like some vegetable oil with your coffee? If not, you should consider skipping the Publix Non-Dairy French Vanilla Coffee Creamer, which delivers 60 calories, 8% of your daily recommended saturated fat, and 14% of your daily recommended sugar. Here's why the perfect creamer for coffee is…cream (or milk).


Publix Coconut Oil

publix coconut oil tub

Per 1 Tbsp (14 g): 120 calories, 14 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein

Coconut oil has some truly amazing properties, but it's important to recognize that a number of its benefits come from applying it to the body, rather than ingesting it. While coconut oil happens to work well for sautéing at high temperatures (personally, I think it's the perfect oil for making perfectly-cooked pancakes), it's not your best bet for vinaigrettes, because it becomes solid at room temperature, or for cooking in general because of its incredibly high saturated fat content.

Healthier alternatives include the Publix avocado oil, which also contains vitamin E, and plain old canola oil, which has only one gram of saturated fat.


Publix Honey Mustard Dressing

bottle of publix honey mustard salad dressing

Per 2 Tbsp (30 g): 120 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 0 g protein

Publix Honey Mustard Dressing didn't make our roundup of the 20 unhealthiest salad dressings, but with its soybean oil base and a completely unnecessary five grams of sugar (since when is mustard supposed to be sweet?), it can certainly keep pace with those that did.


Publix Strawberry and Cheese Pastry Bites

publix fresh strawberry and cheese pastry bites in plastic container

Per 5 pieces (117 g): 360 calories, 20 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 270 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (0 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 5 g protein

You know going in this wasn't going to be a healthy option, but who knew just how unhealthy a tiny little pastry could be? While the Publix Strawberry and Cheese Pastry Bites sound delicious, they're loaded with saturated fat (and not so much with strawberries). It turns out the strawberry filling is primarily high fructose corn syrup and applesauce.


Publix Fudge-Striped Shortbread Cookies

publix fudge striped shortbread cookies

Per 3 cookies (35 g): 170 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (1 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 1 g protein

"Shortbread" is by definition a very buttery business, so we'd expect the saturated fat in a shortbread cookie to reflect butter's high saturated fat content. Publix Fudge-Striped Shortbread Cookies have less saturated fat than one would expect. Yay? Nay. It's only because there's actually no butter to be found in these cookies. Instead, you'll find palm oil. And instead of regular sugar, you'll find a generous helping of high fructose corn syrup. If you want a classic shortbread cookie, you can easily make one yourself. In fact, our shortbread recipe manages to get it right without any sugar at all.

RELATED: Learn how to harness the power of tea to lose weight.


Publix Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup

publix fruit cocktail can

Per 1/2 cup (128 g): 100 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 0 g protein

The real problem with Publix Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup is that it seems to be having an identity crisis, which is to say it doesn't know whether it's a fruit or a dessert. And who can blame it, considering each serving has a mere one gram of fiber but a whopping 18 grams of sugar? Is it any wonder fruit cocktail made it to our list of unhealthy "healthy" foods?


Publix Pineapple Chunks in Heavy Syrup

can of publix pineapple chunks

Per 1/2 cup (122 g): 110 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 25 g sugar), 0 g protein

A can of Publix Pineapple Chunks in Heavy Syrup is no better than the fruit cocktail. In fact, with 25 grams of sugar, it's quite a bit worse. While it does have the added benefit of 95 milligrams of potassium per serving, that's not really all that impressive. If you're looking for high-potassium foods, you'd be better off with one of these.


Publix Dried Pineapple

package of publix dried pineapple

Per 7 pieces (40 g): 150 calories, 0 g fat, 115 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (1 g fiber, 31 g sugar), 0 g protein

By now, it's clear that canned fruit is not exactly a nutritional slam dunk. So, what about dried fruit? After all, dried fruit packs a nutritional punch. Each piece is more nutritionally dense than the equivalent non-dried fruit, and it's easy to carry around for snacking. Plus, it's so sweet, you might swear it's candy. Well, actually, it might as well be candy given that when you compare dried pineapple to most Halloween candy, you'll find the pineapple actually contains more sugar.


Publix Sweetened Dried Banana Chips

publix dried banana chips

Per 17 pieces (31 g): 160 calories,10 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (2 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 0 g protein

This one brings to mind the old riddle, "What do banana chips, fruit leathers, and fruit snacks all have in common?" The answer is that each sounds a lot healthier than it is. Never has this been more true than in the case of Publix Sweetened Dried Banana Chips.

Yes, bananas are fiber- and potassium-rich. But these chips are also super-high in saturated fat (clocking in at 45% of your daily recommended allowance), thanks to the addition of coconut oil. They also contain something called "banana flavoring," which we find perplexing because, as you might expect, bananas are already the first ingredient.


Publix Sweet and Nutty Trail Mix

package of publix sweet and nutty trail mix

Per 1/4 cup (33 g): 160 calories, 10 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 4 g protein

Trail mix can be healthy if it's eaten on the trail. So, if you plan on taking this Publix Sweet and Nutty Trail Mix with you on your next hike, then that's fine—assuming you're exercising portion control, which we all know can be a challenge. As a regular snack food, however, trail mix can be a calorie bomb, and this one is no exception. Although it's colorful, it's not because it's high in antioxidants but because its first ingredient is a generic version of M&Ms.


Publix Frosted Flakes Cereal

box of publix generic frosted flakes cereal

Per 1 cup (38 g): 150 calories, 0 g fat, 150 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (1 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 2 g protein

Who knew that the Publix version of Frosted Flakes would be higher in sugar than the Publix version of Cocoa Puffs? Well, it's true (although neither option is great for you). For more terrible-for-you cereals, don't miss our round-up of The Unhealthiest Cereals on the Planet.


Publix Peanut Buttery Cocoa Chip Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

carton of publix vegan ice cream

Per 2/3 cup (125 g): 340 calories, 23 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (6 g fiber, 24 g sugar), 4 g protein

If you're looking for a non-dairy frozen ice cream alternative that packs as many or more calories than your typical premium full-dairy ice cream, then look no further than the Publix Peanut Buttery Cocoa Chip Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert. "Peanut Buttery Variegate" is one of the ingredients and isn't exactly peanut butter but does have peanuts in it, along with oil, sugar, and salt. But if you're looking for a healthier option, we recommend trying one of these 14 Best Dairy-Free Ice Creams.


Publix Chocolate Flavored Sauce

bottle of publix chocolate syrup

Per 2 Tbsp (39 g): 100 calories, 0 g fat, 25 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (0g fiber, 17 g sugar), <1 g protein

How to top a nice cold bowl of peanut buttery non-dairy frozen dessert? How about a couple of spoonfuls of high fructose corn syrup flavored with cocoa? That's precisely what you'll get with Publix Chocolate Flavored Sauce. To its credit, in acknowledging it is chocolate-flavored, it isn't actually pretending to be a chocolate sauce. Nevertheless, that does not make it okay to spoon this over anything, let alone a respectable frozen dessert.


Publix Bananas Foster Flavored Yogurt

container of publix bananas foster yogurt

Per serving (150 g): 240 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (0g fiber, 32 g sugar), 5 g protein

The Indulgent Bananas Foster Flavored Publix Premium Yogurt sounds like it should be a healthy alternative to that dessert hall-of-fame member, Bananas Foster. And to the extent you can pretend it resembles actual Bananas Foster, perhaps it is. But it's a stretch. Moreover, with 32 grams of sugar and four grams of saturated fat, it's not even healthy. Knowing all of that, wouldn't you rather have a real dessert, like Publix Rice Pudding, which contains "just" 24 grams of sugar and one gram of saturated fat?


Publix Vanilla Low-Fat Yogurt

tub of publix creamy blends vanilla yogurt

Per 3/4 cup (170 g): 180 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (0 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 6 g protein

With its low-key packaging and a mere one gram of saturated fat, this low-fat yogurt might appear to be a healthy yogurt choice. But the truth is, it's higher in sugar than the aforementioned rice pudding, clocking in at 27 grams of sugar per serving. And it offers a mere six grams of protein, which is less than half of what you'd get from Greek yogurt. Here are the healthiest Greek yogurt brands on the market.

Don't let these 25 Publix products discourage you. Here are 15 facts about Publix that are going to make you want to shop there even more.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a food, health, and culture writer whose work has appeared online and in print for Reader's Digest as well as Health Digest, Huffington Post, Taste of Home, and others. Read more