The average person needs around 2,000 calories a day to function, yet many people exceed that calorie count on a daily basis because they make food decisions without understanding the calorie count of these items. Whether it's a Bloomin' Onion at Outback Steakhouse to nibble on that just so happens to nearly match the daily caloric limit for an adult (the Bloomin' Onion has 1,950 calories!) or a donut with icing at an office meeting (coming in at around 400 calories), people make bad food decisions frequently, largely because they simply don't know how caloric these foods can be.
"Snacks" at More Than 500 Calories
There are many snack foods that are quite high in calories, since on a 2,000-calorie diet, a snack should be about 250 calories or fewer.
- Coconut milk - Though a good source of lauric acid (thought to increase "good" cholesterol), canned coconut milk has 552 calories per cup. If calories are a concern, opt for skim milk instead.
- Some trail mixes can be up to 693 calories per cup.
- A cup of granola is almost 600 calories. Muesli is a better option for a lower calorie snack.
- Some smoothies easily reach up to 800 calories, depending upon the size and ingredients. Have a smoothie made from fresh fruit, skim milk, and ice for a lower calorie option.
- A cup of pistachios has 691 calories. If you want to eat them, stick to a smaller portion of around 1/4 cup.
- A cup of unsalted cashews has 754 calories. Like pistachios, a smaller portion is a solution.
- A large order of French fries from McDonald's comes in at 510 calories. The sliced apples are a better snack option at this eatery, or get a smaller order of fries.
- A snack option that's gaining popularity, charcuterie platters can feature cheese, meats, and spreads. They also feature around 630 calories per serving.
- A cup of cubed cheddar cheese is 532 calories. Feta, goat cheese, and mozzarella all have lower calorie counts.
- A grande Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks has 510 calories. That's a lot of empty calories!
While calories are important, it's also necessary to strive for a nutrient-rich diet. So while things like coconut milk and nuts have high calorie counts, their nutritional benefits are numerous.
1,000 or More Calories
Rest assured that eating out is a nearly surefire way to encounter foods containing more than 1,000 calories. Often it's the preparation of the foods that packs on the calories.
- Burger King's Double Whopper with Cheese and Bacon features 1,105 calories, and that's without fries or a drink. A single Whopper without cheese and bacon is a little less damaging to your daily calorie count.
- A burrito at Chipotle can easily top 1,000 calories and can climb quickly to more than 1,700 calories when cheese, sour cream, extra meat, and other extras are added. A lower calorie option is a burrito bowl without the higher calorie toppings.
- Cinnabon's Carmel Pecan Cinnamon Roll checks in at 1,080 calories. Considering most people eat this as a snack or treat and then turn around and have a full meal, it's a caloric nightmare.
- Though tuna is usually a safe bet for calories and protein, the large Quiznos Tuna Melt has 1,460 calories. Choose the Tuna Melt Flatbread (330 calories) instead to save more than 1,000 calories.
- A slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory has 1,250 calories. If you can't resist ordering it, split it with friends.
- Though shrimp itself is a low calorie food, P.F. Chang's honey shrimp features 1,040 calories; opt instead for the 360 calorie Sichuan Shrimp.
2,000 or More Calories
Consuming all the calories you need in one day in one sitting isn't optimal for your metabolism or your energy levels.
- Listed as "The Worst Drink in America" by Food Matters, the Baskin Robbins large Chocolate Oreo Shake has a whopping 2,600 calories.
- Pizza doesn't have to be horrible for calories when you choose a thin crust, veggie-laden slice. Choose Uno's Chicago Classic Individual Deep Dish pizza, though, and you're eating 2,300 calories.
- The Louisiana Chicken Pasta dish at The Cheesecake Factory has 2,050 calories, and that's without a side dish, drink, or (of course) cheesecake.
- Sonic's large Peanut Butter Cookie Shake comes in right at 2,000 calories. The small version tops 700 calories so it's best to skip this treat altogether.
- The 3 Meat Plate from Dickey's Barbecue has a staggering 3,816 calories - all in one sitting.
If you're trying to lose or maintain weight, calorie counts of foods are important to understand. Read labels and menus carefully to ensure you don't wind up eating far more calories than you realize.