The Best & Worst Menu Items at Sonic
Sonic is one of the more unique fast-food restaurants, style-wise. With employees rolling up to your car window by way of roller skates (at some locations), this place offers a different kind of quick-service experience while dishing up the classics. We asked Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, and LA-based nutritionist and healthy cooking expert, to weigh in on what she thinks are some of the best and worst menu items at Sonic.
See which Sonic menu options won't derail your diet, and which ones will likely set you back.
Worst: SuperSONIC Bacon Double Cheeseburger With Mayo
This burger has double the beef and cheese of a standard burger, not to mention a few strips of bacon added in, too. It's no surprise as to why Bannan says this is the worst cheeseburger for your health at Sonic.
"Coming in at over half a day's worth of calories and almost double the daily recommendation for saturated fat, this burger packs a lot of fat and calories in between two buns," she says.
Best: Junior Burger
"The Jr. Burger is a sensible portion, with a fraction of the saturated fat than most burgers on the menu," says Bannan.
This burger has one-third of the calories the bacon double cheeseburger contains. You could even treat yourself to a vanilla cone on the side with this as your main meal.
Worst: Footlong Quarter Pound Coney
"At almost 800 calories, this hefty hot dog also comes with 19 grams of saturated fat and a day's worth of sodium," says Bannan.
Just how much is 19 grams of saturated fat? For perspective, about two servings of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream, or half of the pint, contains 22 grams of saturated fat and for about 90 calories less. We all know how rich and creamy that ice cream is! As Bannan mentioned, this menu item will cancel out your daily allotment of sodium if eaten all at once. Either split this hot dog with a friend, or opt for another menu item.
Best: All American Dog—6 inches
Considering there are only three hot dog options available in all Sonic locations across the U.S., there isn't much to go off. Of the three, the All American Dog, made of 100 percent pure beef, is topped with ketchup, mustard, and sprinkled with relish and chopped onions. With this option, you avoid the calories and excess saturated fat from the chili in the coney dog and only eat 6 inches worth. This is the most sensible option that's offered at all locations.
Worst: Ultimate Meat and Cheese Breakfast Burrito
"This breakfast option is one of the highest in sodium, with nearly a full teaspoon in one burrito," says Bannan. "More than half of the burrito's 840 calories come from fat, and it has a whopping 19 grams of saturated fat."
If you follow a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, then you'll want to spread out that 2,300 milligrams of sodium throughout the whole day, not consume nearly all of it in an 840-calorie breakfast burrito.
Best: Breakfast Toaster with Ham
If the ham variety is available at the Sonic in your town, opt for this one over the traditional bacon variety.
"Ham can be a leaner protein option, and this breakfast is one of the lowest in saturated fat," says Bannan. "It is still relatively high in sodium, but is lower in sugar and higher in protein than lower-sodium options on the menu."
For comparison, if you choose the sandwich with bacon, you tack on 70 more calories and three additional grams of saturated fat. Nothing too concerning, but the ham would be the better choice.
Snacks and Sides
Worst: Chili Cheese Tots
OK Sonic, it's a little extra to be adding chili and cheese to your tater tots, don't you think? With nearly 2,700 milligrams of sodium and almost 1,000 calories, we hope that you're sharing this large order with four other people—especially if it's being consumed as a side to a sandwich.
Best: Soft Pretzel Twist
"This side only has 1 gram of saturated fat, and has one of the lowest sodium [contents] as well," says Bannan.
What would be better is if Sonic offered a side with vegetables. However, this will have to suffice.
Worst: Honey BBQ Boneless Wings
Bannan says that if you plan to consume all 12 wings by yourself, "you'll also be taking in almost 3 tablespoons of sugar, over a teaspoon of sodium, and nearly a day's worth of saturated fat."
We suggest splitting this order of wings among three people in order to cut back on all three of these gargantuan numbers.
Best: Crispy Tender Sandwich
"While it may seem like the grilled chicken sandwich would be the better choice, the crispy tender sandwich is actually lower in overall calories and sodium, and [for] the same amount of saturated fat," says Bannan.
So go ahead and let yourself have the fried chicken sandwich.
Ice Cream and Shakes
Worst: Oreo Peanut Butter Shake
One of the most alarming aspects of this shake is the fact that it contains more than two times the suggested amount of saturated fat that is suggested you should have in a day. But there's something even more concerning about this ice cream-based beverage—the sugar content.
"Not only does it have over 9 tablespoons of sugar, but it also has almost half the daily recommendation for sodium as well," says Bannan. And this is just a dessert!
Best: Vanilla Cone
We know you want that hot fudge sundae, but if you can refrain, the vanilla cone is an even better option at under 300 calories and less than 20 grams of sugar.