Not-So-Appetizing Appetizers

Looking to start your meal with an appetizer? Don’t order these.

You’re out to eat and are so hungry you can’t wait until the food arrives so you order an appetizer to hold you over. Or maybe you’re entertaining dinner guests at your house and want to offer an appetizer while the meat’s grilling. Just like all foods, there are healthy, diet-friendly appetizer options and there are those that aren’t. It would be easy to sabotage your entire meal with a few bites of the wrong appetizer, so choose an appetizer that’s low in calories.

Wonder which appetizers you should avoid at all costs? Read on.
And as you consider the calories, fat, and sodium found in each of the appetizers listed below, keep in mind current dietary guidelines, which recommend women eat 2,000 calories and men 2,500 calories a day to maintain their weight, less than 65 grams of fat on a 2,000 calorie diet, less than 80 grams of fat on a 2,500 calorie diet, and between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

Cheese Fries

Two words you should avoid in your quest to find a low-calorie appetizer are cheese and fried. But it’s not just the cheese and the fried potatoes you need to be wary of. Cheese fries often come with bacon bits sprinkled on them and creamy ranch dressing to dip them in. Eat a whole serving of cheese fries by yourself and you’ll pack on 2,000 calories, load on 134 grams of fat, and pile on 2,800 milligrams of sodium.

Onion Bloom

Onions are healthy, right? Yes, but not when they’re smothered in batter, deep fried, and dipped in a cream sauce. You’ll ruin your best dieting intentions with a few bites of fried onion. At 1,949 calories, 161 grams of fat, and more than 4,000 milligrams of sodium, you’d do best to wait for your steak without any appetizer at all.

Mozzarella Sticks

What’s so bad about melted cheese surrounded by crusty bread dipped in red sauce? Well, a single order of mozzarella sticks contains nearly 1,000 calories, 48 grams of fat, and 2,640 milligrams of sodium. You know it’s hard to eat just one, so be safe and skip the mozzarella sticks.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

It’s got green vegetables in it, so it must be good for you, right? Wrong. It’s the cream-based sauce and the dozens of chips you dip that tip the fat-gram scales. Plan to consume 1,600 calories, 100 grams of fat, and 2,500 milligrams of sodium with a single order of spinach artichoke dip. Afraid you can’t say no to this delicious dip altogether? Cut back on the amount of fat in a dip like this by preparing it yourself using Greek yogurt.

Loaded Potato Skins

Potato skin is loaded with fiber and nutrients, so why’s it on the off-limits list? Because it is rarely eaten by itself. Pile on cheese, meats, and sour cream and you’ve got an appetizer that’ll wreck your diet. Limit yourself to one and you’ll only eat about 150 calories, but eat the whole plate and you’ll consume nearly 1,340 calories, 94 grams of fat, and 1,850 milligrams of sodium.

Fried Calamari

Squid by itself is good for you, but breaded and fried squid is a different story. Order fried calamari as an appetizer and add nearly 900 calories, 50 grams of fat, and 2,300 milligrams of sodium to your day’s total calorie count.