Skip to content

12 Unhealthiest Restaurant Appetizers in America—Ranked!

Forget pregaming your meal with these horrid apps. Most of them pack in more calories than a full meal!

One of our best weight loss tips for dining out is ordering an appetizer instead of an entree to cut back on calories. But what happens when the restaurant you're dining in offers appetizers that pack in more calories, fat, and sodium than many of the entrees on the menu? Don't let your calorie-cutting strategy fail—just be sure to avoid these the calorie-bomb starters and go for something lighter, like a low-sodium soup or a side salad instead.

So which starter should you do without? We sifted through the nutritionals of all the appetizers at many of your favorite sit-down restaurants to identify the worst of the worst. Here, you'll find the restaurant appetizers with the most calories, total fat including saturated fat and heart-disease-inducing trans fat, as well as blood-pressure-spiking sodium. We also took into account sugar contents; but because we're talking about appetizers here, most of the menu choices are savory and don't pack in too much of the sweet stuff. And we didn't include more than three apps from any single restaurant.

Each app on this list packs in at least 1,000 calories, so read on to find out the unhealthiest restaurant appetizers in America, ranked from bad to absolute worst. And maybe keep in mind next time you order an app that they're meant to be shared!

And while you're uncovering these restaurant truths, make sure you check out the 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet for more insight on meals you should avoid.

12

Olive Garden's Lasagna Fritta

olive garden lasagna fritta
Courtesy of Olive Garden
1,070 calories, 71 g fat (29 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 1,650 mg sodium, 73 g carbs (5 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 35 g protein

Behold the best of the worst appetizers in the nation. Olive Garden serves up the ultimate cheesy feast in the form of fried parmesan-breaded lasagna that's topped off with marinara sauce, creamy Alfredo, and more parmesan cheese. The Lasagna Fritta houses over a thousand calories and the saturated fat equivalent of more than 11 plastic-wrapped slices of Kraft Singles American cheese!

RELATED: Sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!

11

Red Lobster's Langostino Lobster Artichoke Seafood Dip

red lobster langostino pizza
Courtesy of Red Lobster
1,040 calories, 56 g fat (17 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 2,300 mg sodium, 104 g carbs (10 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 32 g protein

While this app sounds like the ultimate upgrade to chips and dip, the nutrition panel should deter you from ordering it. Dive into this dish packed with langostino and Norway lobster, artichokes, spinach, three types of cheeses, pico de gallo, and warm tortilla chips on the side, and you'll take in almost a full day's worth of sodium before you even fork into your entrée.

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

10

Red Robin's Bone-In Bar Wings with Buzz Sauce

bold boneless wings red robins
Courtesy of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
1,260 calories, 88 g fat (37 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 2,880 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (7 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 93 g protein

Sure, chicken wings are jam-packed with muscle-building protein, but that doesn't mean you should order this saucy app on your way home from the gym. This plate of wings houses as much heart-harming sodium as more than 102 Rold Gold pretzels.

RELATED: Click here for all of our latest coronavirus coverage.

9

Friendly's Loaded Waffle Fries

friendlys loaded waffle fries
Courtesy of Friendly's
1,061 calories, 71 g fat (21 g saturated fat, 0.1 g trans fat), 3,796 mg sodium, 82 g carbs (6.7 g fiber, 1.9 g sugar), 22 g protein

Friendly's wasn't joking with this crispy tater dish because these waffle fries are fully loaded. The spuds are drenched with melted cheddar cheese sauce, bacon, and sour cream—which all account for the whopping 71 grams of fat and nearly two days' worth of bloating sodium.

8

Chili's White Spinach Queso

chili's white spinach queso
Courtesy of Chili's
1,480 calories, 92 g fat (32 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 3,170 mg sodium, 126 g carbs (12 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 40 g protein

Chips and dip is never a good idea—the snack is super caloric and packs in an outrageous amount of fat, carbs, and sodium, without much else. If you're looking to order a starter at Chili's, go with the Original Chicken Crispers, which boast fewer calories and fewer grams of fat. Plus, make this swap, and you'll save nearly a full day's worth of sodium.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

7

Red Robin's Chili Chili Cheese Fries

plate of red robin chili cheese fries
Courtesy of Red Robin
1,530 calories, 94 g fat (29 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 2,260 mg sodium, 121 g carbs (15 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 51 g protein

You'll find eight slices of white bread's worth of carbs in this plate of steak-cut fries loaded with Chili's trademarked Red's Chili Chili as well as cheese, bacon crumbles, jalapeños, and ranch sauce.

6

Uno Pizzeria & Grill's Pizza Skins

uno pizza skins
Courtesy of Uno Pizzeria & Grill
1,970 calories, 131 g fat (43 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 2,800 mg sodium, 146 g carbs (7 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 53 g protein

If you're dining at Uno, we're guessing you're here for the infamous deep-dish pies. But if you're pregaming your pizza with more pizza with this cheesy app, then you'll want to split this fat bomb with a party of six. The joint's signature thick crust is stuffed with even more carbs in the form of mashed potatoes and then topped with bacon and cheddar.

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

5

TGI Fridays' Bucket of Bones

Bucket of bones from TGI Fridays
Courtesy of TGI Fridays
1,570 calories, 82 g fat (23 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 2,980 mg sodium, 120 g carbs (6 g fiber, 71 g sugar), 92 g protein

You're playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette with your health if you order this appetizer. The plate of meat houses almost as much sugar as a full pint of Häagen-Dazs Banana Peanut Butter Chip ice cream!

4

Chili's Texas Cheese Fries

plate of texas cheese fries from chilis
Courtesy of Chilis
Per full order: 1,860 calories, 127 g fat (58 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 3,880 mg sodium, 97 g carbs (8 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 81 g protein

Cheese fries on their own are caloric, so why add bacon, jalapeños, green onions, and ranch to the mix? Not only will you get a plate of soggy fries, but you'll also ingest way too much sodium and saturated fat.

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

3

Applebee's The Classic Combo with Brisket Quesadilla

applebees classic combo
Courtesy of Applebee's
Without sauce or dressing: 2,240 calories, 129 g fat (39 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 5,990 mg sodium, 186 g carbs (15 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 83 g protein

Applebee's advertises that you're getting "all the classic apps you love on one plate," but the 2,240 calories worth of boneless wings, spinach and artichoke dip, brisket quesadilla, and mozzarella sticks aren't exactly tugging at our heartstrings. With the staggering amount of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat, we're looking at a one-way ticket to heart disease.

2

Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion

bloomin onion on white plate
Shutterstock
1,950 calories, 155 g fat (56 g saturated fat, 7 g trans fat), 3,840 mg sodium, 123 g carbs (14 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 18 g protein

Just as Outback is known for its iconic pumpernickel bread, folks also come to the steakhouse for its Bloomin' Onion. While the calorie, sodium, and carb counts are excessive, we're most intrigued by the fried onion's outrageous trans fat content. Because there's no naturally-occurring trans fat from animal products in here, that means that Outback is frying its veggie in partially-hydrogenated oil, which has been linked to heart disease as a result of increasing your blood's LDL (bad cholesterol) and reducing the HDL (good cholesterol).

1

The Cheesecake Factory's Factory Nachos with Spicy Chicken

Cheesecake factory nachos with spicy chicken
Courtesy of The Cheesecake Factory
2,670 calories, 192 g fat (84 g saturated fat, 5 g trans fat), 2,680 mg sodium, 173 g carbs (21 g fiber, 25 g sugar), 63 g protein

Leave it to The Cheesecake Factory to house the absolute worst restaurant appetizer in the country. While these stacked nachos serve two to four people, they still manage to cram in the most calories and fat out of all the apps on our list. These spicy-chicken-topped nachos boast as much sodium as more than one teaspoon of salt. If you wouldn't spoon that into your mouth, why would you order this fat-laden plate?

And if you'd rather cook at home than eat one of these appetizers, don't miss these 52 Life-Changing Hacks That Will Make You Enjoy Cooking Again.