Hooters has developed a notorious reputation over the years, due in part to its wide selection of fried wings and sandwiches. While these menu items might be one of the big draws that get customers through the door, ordering them won't do your diet any favors.
"I probably shouldn't have looked at the Hooters' menu while starving, but alas, I did," Katie Tomaschko, MS, RDN, CDN, and contributor at Sporting Smiles told us. "And I can tell you that the majority of their food is rather unhealthy, to say the least."
The main problem lies in the amount of oil found in each wing, appetizer, and sandwich. "Almost all of their appetizers are fried," Tomaschko says. "Deep-fried foods are loaded with unhealthy fats, calories, and usually sodium. Even their wings are wrapped with bacon, adding another layer of saturated fat to them."
If you can't imagine a future without Hooters, take heart in knowing that you can still find ways to enjoy many of the meals here. "As long as you are practicing moderation and don't make it a habit of eating here frequently, I'd say order whatever you're really craving, but practice mindful eating and try not to overstuff yourself (nothing wrong with bringing home leftovers!)," advises Tomaschko.
That's a good policy to practice in general, but if you want to do the least possible damage, read on for more on the seven meals you should never order at Hooters.
Tater tots don't exactly have a reputation for being healthy, but this particular starter can easily make a traditional side of tots look as healthy as a salad. The appetizer comes loaded with over a day's worth of salt and fat, not to mention almost 75% of your daily recommended calorie intake. If you end up ordering this item, make sure you split it up amongst your group to minimize the dietary damage.
Big Fish Sandwich, Fried
On paper, a fish sandwich shouldn't be that bad for you, but if you order Hooters' fried fish sandwich with tartar sauce, you can expect to rack up a hefty amount of salt and fat in one go. There is some good news though: "[Hooters'] seafood options aren't too bad—a lot of the fish you can get grilled vs. fried, reducing the amount of fat and calories," Tomaschko says. Order the grilled version of this sandwich to skip some of the oil and enjoy a healthier option.
50-Piece Original Bone-In Wings
Very few people plan to sit down and eat 50 wings at once, but those who do need to be very aware of the fact that Hooters' Original Bone-In Wings come with 7,000 calories per order. Factor in the ridiculous 429 grams of fat, 370 grams of carbs, and over a day's worth of salt, and you're looking at one of the unhealthiest plates of wings out there. Even if you split this amongst three people, you can still do some serious damage to your daily eating plan.
Twisted Texas Melt
There's a reason Texas toast is on our list of the worst breads you can eat, and Hooters' version of a patty melt served on Texas toast takes it to the next level. In addition to dishing out half of a day's worth of calories in each sandwich, this melt overloads you with sodium and fat. If you opt for this sandwich, you might be better off saving half of it for later.
If you really crave a patty melt, you don't have to rely on Hooters to dish up this sandwich. Instead, try out The Ultimate Patty Melt Recipe to enjoy a patty melt that doesn't go overboard on salt, fat, or calories.
Home Run Burger on Texas Toast
"It looks like the Home Run burger (which has four burger patties!)… most likely [contains] the highest amount of saturated fat, sodium, and calories, making [it one] of the unhealthiest items," Tomaschko says. Heed that warning and skip this heart attack on a bun. It has enough sodium for almost two days, in addition to an entire day's worth of fat per sandwich. And that's without accounting for extra condiments or a side of fries, making the stacked burger particularly troublesome. If you're craving a burger, opt for a more reasonable single patty.
50-Piece Daytona Beach-Style Wings
Daytona Beach-style wings sound like they might be slightly healthier than traditional fried wings. After all, they're only lightly fried, sauced, and grilled before coming out to the table. Even without sauce, this massive order of 50 wings should make diners bat an eye.
If you opt to dig into this massive order of chicken by yourself, expect to load up on over two days' worth of salt and calories and three days' worth of fat. This over-the-top order should be enjoyed in moderation and shared amongst a big group.
50-Piece Naked Wings
If you take all of the crispy breading off of a wing, it can't be that bad, right? At first glance, this 50-piece order of wings only has slightly more than a day's worth of salt and a scant 18 grams of carbs. Compared to the other wing options, this item seems positively tame.
Take a closer look, and the 4,500 calorie count and 257 grams of fat should still make you hesitate if you think you could polish off a plate in one sitting. Unless you plan to visit Hooters with a big group, go easy on your body and order a much smaller set of wings for the table to ensure you don't derail your diet.