Restaurant Revelations: Hidden Sources of Calories

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Have you ever been advised to choose a salad over a burger in order to save calories at a fast food joint?

I know I have.

In fact, hearing that advice so often is one reason why I was surprised during a recent visit to a fast-food chain. I looked up at the calorie counts on the menu and actually gasped out loud. Many of the salads had far more calories than the burgers, and the same was true of many of the chicken sandwiches.

So I decided to have a little fun with those numbers.

Here's a quiz that you can use to show your clients how important it is to research calorie and nutrition information before they choose a meal in a restaurant. Some of the answers may surprise you!

FriesFast Food Quiz!


1. Which has more calories?

A) A 1/3 pound Original Burger on a small wheat bun
B) A Southwest Salad with grilled chicken and no dressing

2. Which has more fat?

A) A Big Mac
B) A Crispy Chicken Bacon Club

3. Which has more calories?

A) A TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich
B) A Whopper

4. Which has more sodium?

A) A 1/3 pound Original Burger on a small white bun
B) A small order of Loaded Fries

5. Which has more calories?

A) A cinnamon roll
B) A Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Croissan’wich

Onion RingsAnswers:

1. B) A Southwest Salad

The Southwest Salad with grilled chicken and no dressing has almost double the calories of the 1/3 pound Original Burger. The burger has 525 calories, while the salad has 1048 calories!

2. B) A Crispy Chicken Bacon Club

While the Big Mac has a whopping 28 grams of fat, the Crispy Chicken Bacon Club still outmatched it, with a grand total of 40 grams of fat!

3. A) A Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich

This one was actually remarkably close. A Whopper contains 650 total calories, while a Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich has 660 calories.

4. A) A 1/3 pound Original Burger on a small white bun

A small order of Loaded Fries may taste saltier than a burger, but that order contains 1096 milligrams of sodium, which is less than the 1863 milligrams of sodium you’ll find in the burger.

5. B) A Sausage, Egg & Cheese Croissan’wich

The Sausage, Egg & Cheese Croissan’wich has 500 calories, while the cinnamon roll has almost half that, containing a total of 280 calories.

Now of course there is more to consider than simple calorie, fat, and sodium stats alone. The number of nutrients, both macro and micro, along with the nutritional profile of a meal, are all still vital. This quiz is just a fun way to get a discussion started about the importance of being an informed consumer. It makes a great jumping-off point for talks about healthful ordering strategies in restaurants, where to go for information about fast food, and other nutrition topics. How will you use this quiz?

Oh! And here's a free PDF handout with the 5 questions and answers you see above. I hope you like it!

Fast Food Quiz

Nutrition information from,, and

And here are some more fast food resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

Fast Food Poster
Eating on the Go: Fast Food Alternatives PowerPoint and Handout Kit
Sugar and Fat Awareness Poster Set

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