The unhealthiest foods in the food court

From a pastrami sandwich at Subway to a Caramel Pecanbon at Cinnabon, the offerings at the great American food court can be some of the unhealthiest you’ll find, anywhere. We’ve gathered the most common food court standbys and tracked down the unhealthiest items on their menus, and it’s something you should check out before you ever head down to your local shopping mall again.

The food court is as American a concept as there is. It’s convenient, has a number of diverse choices, and is at the epicenter of that enduring monument to capitalism: the shopping mall. It also displays the melting pot nature of America; in any city across the nation you can go to its mall food court and find some combination of sushi, pizza, Cajun, pretzels, sandwiches, smoothies and more.

As our country went into consumer overdrive, the shopping mall became the focal point of all things in culture: fashion, music, food, socializing and more. The 80s was like, totally the mall culture’s heyday as people shopped ‘til they dropped and afterward could watch a pop sensation perform a concert. All this excitement naturally works up an appetite, and the food court’s role in the mall experience cannot be underestimated.

More than a conglomeration of culinary choice, the food court is the nexus for the mall’s social activity. A number of us have ailed the pain of a breakup over an Orange Julius, celebrated a victory with an oversized slice of pizza or simply enjoyed conversation, company and the absurdity of eating a massive, gooey cinnamon roll in the middle of the afternoon. The food court has been there during life’s ups and downs, and that, through no fault of its own, can make it easy to succumb to the pitfall of unhealthy eating in the name of retail therapy.

Navigating the food court, and eating tiny pieces of meat on a toothpick while doing so, and making a selection that is both in line with your palate and health goals can be difficult. Do your research ahead of time; know what menu items are available, find the healthiest option and stick to your decision once the melange of smells makes your senses go haywire. After all, you can always return a questionable clothing purchase but you can’t take back your verdict in the food court.

To make your selection process a little easier, we’ve rounded up 12 of the most popular food court staples, like Cinnabon and Panda Express, and tracked down the unhealthiest items on their menus. So check out our handy guide to the unhealthiest items in the food court, and next time maybe you’ll think twice before digging into those loaded fries from Steak Escape.

1. Auntie Anne’s: Jumbo Pretzel Dog

 (Flickr/istargazer)

Fat: 29 grams
Calories: 610
Saturated Fat: 13 grams
Cholesterol: 40 milligrams
Sodium: 1,150 milligrams

2. Great American Cookies: Double Doozie

 (Flickr/Shoshanah)

Fat: 34 grams
Calories: 690
Saturated Fat: 11 grams
Cholesterol: 30 milligrams
Sodium: 520 milligrams

3. Jamba Juice: Original Peanut Butter Moo’d Smoothie

 (Flickr/tomarthur)

Fat: 20 grams
Calories: 770
Saturated Fat: 4.5 grams
Cholesterol: 10 milligrams
Sodium: 490 milligrams

4. Orange Julius: Large Pina Colada

 (Orange Julius)

Fat: 9 grams
Calories: 800
Saturated Fat: 8 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 210 milligrams

5. Panera Bread: Full Italian Combo on Ciabatta

 (Yelp/MimiL)

Fat: 42 grams
Calories: 990
Saturated Fat: 16 grams
Cholesterol: 160 milligrams
Sodium: 2,850 milligrams

6. Cinnabon: Caramel Pecanbon

 (Flickr/secretlondon1)

Fat: 50 grams
Calories: 1,080
Saturated Fat: 20 grams
Cholesterol: 25 milligrams
Sodium: 960 milligrams

7. Chick-fil-A: Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe (with large Waffle Fries)

 (Chick-fil-A)

Sandwich

Fat: 27 grams
Calories: 570
Saturated Fat: 8 grams
Cholesterol: 80 milligrams
Sodium: 1,750 milligrams

Large Waffle Fries

Fat: 27 grams
Calories: 520
Saturated Fat: 4 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium:240 milligrams

For more unhealthy food court meals, check out the full list

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