The Worst Restaurant Side Dishes
We're just going to go ahead and say it: when you're patiently waiting for your meal to come when you're at a restaurant, oftentimes, it's the side dishes you're more excited to eat. Think about it—who doesn't love a solid order of French fries? It often steals the thunder from that burger it is accompanying! Side dishes can make that main entrée a truly delicious meal, but there are some side dishes served up in your favorite restaurants that are just, well, terrible for you.
Have no fear, as we're here to help you out the best way we can. And that's by exposing which side dishes from popular restaurants you're better off not adding to your meal, as they'll just tack on more calories, fat, and sodium to what is (most likely) already an indulgent meal. These are the worst, unhealthiest restaurant side dishes you're going to want to avoid ordering. If you decide to cook up something yourself, be sure to check out any of the 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
Cheesecake Factory Macaroni & Cheese
There really is nothing quite like a warm bowl of macaroni and cheese. It's one of the most comforting foods on the planet, but it should come as no secret that every dish at The Cheesecake Factory is over-the-top. And a seemingly innocent side order of mac and cheese here packs a ridiculous amount of calories, fat (including saturated and trans fats), and sodium. Frankly, this dish is just downright scary. Instead, go for the grilled asparagus, especially if you're thinking of indulging in a slice of cheesecake!
Applebee's Crunchy Onion Rings
Oh, onion rings. Another side dish choice that might bring on a wave of nostalgia, but it's doing nothing for your waistline! At Applebee's, the "crunch" factor is really emphasized, which yes, means they're grease-filled and are just a way to add on calories, fat, and more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium to your meal. It's no wonder they're on our list of 17 Menu Items That Are Total Health Red Flags!
TGI Friday's Whiskey-Glazed Ribs Half-Rack
At TGI Friday's, there is the option to add a half-rack of ribs as a side dish. If you think a half-rack can't be nearly as bad as a full-rack, think again! A half-rack of the whiskey-glazed ribs has more sugar in one order than you would get if you ate seven Original Glazed Krispy Kreme Donuts. Plus, it contains more than half of a day's worth of sodium, which is far too much for one side dish.
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Chili's Awesome Blossom Petals
What exactly is an Awesome Blossom Petal you might be wondering? Well, it's essentially Chili's version of an onion ring, as it's pieces of onion that are breaded and fried. Sorry, but you'll want to pass on these.
Romano's Macaroni Grill Parmesan Truffle Fries
Parmesan truffle fries sound simply fancy, but don't that fool you. French fries are still fries, no matter what they're topped with. At Romano's Macaroni Grill, it makes for the side dish that contains the most amount of calories and sodium out of any on the menu. Big yikes.
O'Charley's Classic Bleu Cheese Wedge
At O'Charley's, one signature side option is the Classic Bleu Cheese Wedge. It's a salad, can't be all bad. Well, it's drowning in bleu cheese and has enough calories to be its own meal! You're much better off ordering a plain side salad instead of this wedge.
BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes always seem like a safe choice—it's better than eating fried spuds. At BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse though, the white cheddar taters are—surprise, surprise—packed with sodium.
Bob Evans Bread & Celery Dressing
Bread and celery dressing from Bob Evans is just another way of saying it's stuffing, which makes sense when you think about the type of food that is served up at Bob Evans. Yummy comfort foods are their specialty, but the fact that this little bowl has 1,000 milligrams of sodium makes it a no-go. You could eat 90 Lay's potato chips and that would have less sodium than this restaurant side dish!
Outback Steakhouse Loaded Homestyle Mashed Potatoes
"Loaded" is one of those menu words you always want to look for as that means the dish is filled with toppings that aren't necessarily the healthiest such as bacon, cheese, and sour cream. At Outback Steakhouse, you're much better off choosing the side of a sweet potato than the loaded homestyle mashed potatoes. It'll save you 1,040 milligrams of sodium.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill Garlic Rosemary Fries
These fries from Uno Pizzeria & Grill seem safe, but again, that pesky sodium is just far too high to justify eating all of these along with the burger or chicken sandwich they are accompanying. A side order of these fries is also 680 calories—that's more than some of the entrées like the herb Rubbed Chicken and the Chicken Caesar Salad. Now that's just not OK!
Longhorn Steakhouse Mac & Cheese
Carrabba's Italian Grill Fettuccine Alfredo
At Carrabba's, you can add a side order of fettuccine Alfredo to your meal, if you're looking to load up on fat and sodium. Instead, go for the side order of steamed asparagus which clocks in at only 25 calories and has zero grams of sodium.