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The #1 Unhealthiest Order at 8 Major Seafood Chains

Ordering any of these dishes means you'll be swimming in sodium, calories, and fat.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Americans have a hearty appetite for seafood, and it's easy to see why. Seafood is a highly nutritious source of protein that's rich in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins D and B2. But the way that chain restaurants prepare seafood can turn a wholesome meal into an unhealthy option.

"When you add tons of seasonings, oils/butter, sauces or breading to [seafood], it can result in a high-calorie, high-fat meal," says Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Miami, Florida.

If you're looking for healthier seafood options when eating out at chain restaurants, Ehsani suggests the healthiest way it can be prepared is if it's baked, grilled, or pan-fried with simple seasonings like minced garlic, black pepper, and lemon. And when it comes to the environment your fish comes from, choose seafood that was caught in wild, natural environments. "The best fish options to choose from according to the FDA are salmon, pollock, cod, and herring," says Ehsani.

If you like to order seafood at your favorite restaurant chain, here are 8 of the unhealthiest dishes you should be wary of. Read on, and for more, don't miss The #1 Unhealthiest Fish Order At 10 Major Restaurant Chains.

Red Lobster Admiral's Feast

red lobster admirals feast
Red Lobster
Per meal: 1,730 calories, 102 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 4,350 mg sodium, 130 g carbs (7g fiber, 14g sugar), 73 g protein

This meal at Red Lobster is truly a feast. Besides the fact that all the seafood is fried, most of the side options are not the healthiest picks (sorry, Cheddar Bay Biscuits!)

"The Admiral's Feast is shrimp, scallops, clams, and flounder that are all breaded and then deep fried, served with cocktail sauce and two sides," says Ehsani. "This meal is very high in calories, packing over 1,700 calories in just one meal, contains almost double the daily limit for sodium, (the daily recommendation according to the American Heart Association is no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day) and is very high in total fat with 910 calories coming from fat."

 The 9 Healthiest Dishes to Order at Red Lobster

Long John Silver's Baja Fish Taco

long john silvers baja fish taco
Long John Silvers
Per meal: 410 calories, 21 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 1,290mg sodium, 40g carbs (3g fiber, 7g sugar), 13 g protein

These tacos are filled with fried Alaska Pollock and served on a corn and flour blend tortilla, topped with cabbage and lime vinaigrette.

"You might be thinking a fish taco, like the Baja Fish Taco, is a nutritious option, but just one taco packs 410 calories and a whopping 1,290 milligrams of sodium," says Ehsani. "If you have multiple tacos, you likely will exceed your sodium limits for the day just in one meal. It's best to skip this fish taco and make your own at home."

Captain D's Seafood Kitchen Supreme Sampler

captain d seafood kitchen supreme sampler
Captain D's Seafood
Per meal: 1,180 calories, 79 g fat (36 g saturated fat), 2,080 mg sodium, 68 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6g sugar), 47 g protein

Everything about this sampler dish is fried, fried, fried, making it an obviously unhealthy order.

"If you are in the mood for seafood, you might be tempted to get a sampling of multiple ones, such as the Supreme Sampler, which consists of two pieces of breaded and deep-fried fish, chicken tenders, shrimp, served with two sides, and hush puppies," says Ehsani. "This meal is high in total calories, fat, saturated fat and even has 4.5 grams of trans fat in this meal, which is the type of fat you should absolutely try to avoid. It also contains just 1 gram of fiber, which is an essential nutrient most Americans are struggling to meet daily."

 10 Seafood Chains That Serve the Highest Quality Fish

Legal Sea Foods Tuna Burger with sides

legal sea foods tuna burger
Per meal: 2,120 calories, additional nutritional information unavailable.

"The tuna burger is one of the highest calorie meals on the Legal Sea Food menu," says Ehsani. "The burger contains a day's worth of calories just on one plate. It's best to avoid this burger and grab a baked fish with veggies as an option."

Bonefish Grill Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos with Fries

bonefish grill bang bang shrimp tacos
Bonefish Grill
Per meal: 1,580 calories, 96 g fat (21 g saturated fat), 4,050 mg sodium, 134 g carbs (12 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 43 g protein

The Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos at Bonefish Grill feature not only fried shrimp, but are served in a fried wonton shell.

"A lot of people love bang bang shrimp, however, it's not a very nutritious option. It's typically dipped into a batter then deep fried and then covered in a bang-bang sauce that's made from mayo, thus resulting in a very high-fat, high-sodium shrimp," says Ehsani.

"This meal also nearly contains double the amount of sodium you should be consuming in one day, hitting over 4,000 milligrams, when the daily recommendation is to hit no more than 2,300 milligrams per day and less if you have high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes."

 21 Best Low-Sodium Fast-Food Orders, According to Dietitians

Joe's Crab Shack Stuffed Flounder

joe's crab shack stuffed flounder
Joe's Crab Shack / Facebook
Per meal: 1,462 calories, additional nutritional information unavailable.

If this flounder wasn't stuffed, it may be a healthy option, but the fillings (and what it's also topped with) make it super unhealthy.

"The stuffed flounder at Joe's Crab Shack is stuffed with seafood stuffing and cheese and is topped with creamy lobster sauce. This meal contains almost 1,500 calories, hitting about 75% of your daily calories in one meal," says Ehsani. "It's best to just ask for lightly seasoned flounder or other fish without all the breading, stuffing, cheese, or creamy sauce."

Eddie V's Prime Seafood Kung Pao Calamari

eddie v's kung pao calamari
Eddie V's / Facebook
Per meal: 1,450 calories, 106 g fat (17 g saturated fat), 3,980 mg sodium, 93 g carbs (9 g fiber, 26 g sugar), 34 g protein

This fried squid dish is also served with wok-fried vegetables with roasted cashews at Eddie V's.

"Lots of people love to order calamari as an appetizer before their main course, However, even if split one or two ways, it's still overall high in calories, fat, and sodium," says Ehsani. "Calamari is dipped in batter, then deep fried which increases its overall calories, fat, and sodium. A better option is to choose sashimi instead."

 I Tried Fried Shrimp From 5 Restaurant Chains & There's Only One I'm Going Back For

McCormick & Schmick's Classic Shrimp Scampi

McCormick & Schmick's Classic Shrimp Scampi
McCormick & Schmick's
Per meal: 1,780 calories, additional nutritional information unavailable.

McCormick & Schmick's Classic Shrimp Scampi includes linguine, garlic, white wine, and fresh herbs–with a boatload of calories.

"Pasta lovers may choose shrimp scampi as their favorite option at seafood restaurants. However, it's a high-calorie dish, packing almost 1800 calories, which is almost a day's worth of calories in one dish," notes Ehsani. "The sauce is made from butter and white wine, which is likely the culprit behind the high calorie amount. Try to make a lighter sauce at home yourself or ask for a tomato sauce instead."

Sources referenced in this article
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