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What Does 1,000 Calories Look Like at Different Fast-Food Chains?

Downing 1,000 calories in one sitting is alarmingly easy.
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By now it's common knowledge that the majority of fast food offerings aren't exactly good for you. Sure, you can eat a salad at McDonald's for an under-300 calorie meal, but most fast-food customers are ordering the high-cal classics -- burgers, chicken nuggets, fries -- and chasing them down with Cokes and milkshakes. We've rounded up some easy ways to down 1,000 calories in one sitting at 9 major fast food chains. You'd be surprised by how easy it is.

When we head to our local fast-food spot, we usually don't just order a burger and leave. Offerings like McDonald's Extra Value Meals, Wendy's Combo Meals, and KFC Value Combos make it incredibly easy to eat a lot more than you planned, simply because you're given the impression that you're getting a good deal, and that it's not a full "meal" until it's eaten with a side of mashed potatoes and coleslaw. In reality, that new Four Cheese Whopper from Burger King that you're been wanting to try contains 850 calories, so there's no reason to supplement it with a 410-calorie medium order of onion rings or fries.

According to Health.gov's Dietary Guidelines, adult women should consume between 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day, and men between 2,000 and 3,000 calories, depending on age and physical activity level. "Due to reductions in basal metabolic rate that occurs with aging, calorie needs generally decrease for adults as they age," the guidelines state. In any rate, eating more than 1,000 calories in one sitting isn't good for anyone's diet.

Every fast food chain offers some extraordinarily unhealthy items, from a 1,160-calorie Big Hot Pastrami Melt at Wendy's to the unhealthiest fast food burger in America, the 1,300-calorie Monster Thickburger from Hardee's, which also contains 93 grams of fat. But if you're looking to eat healthier, there are plenty of salads and grilled chicken sandwiches that will fill you up without expanding your waistline. So read on to learn what 1,000 calories looks like at 9 popular chains, as well as some more waistline-friendly substitutions.

Taco Bell
Want a side of Nachos Supreme with your Mexican Pizza? That’ll run you exactly 1,000 calories. Pick one or the other, or complement one of them with a Fresco Soft Taco, which contains 160 calories or less. Photo Credit: Taco BellClick Here to See More of What Does 1,000 Calories Look Like at Different Fast Food Chains
KFC
One breast, thigh, drumstick, and wing – in other words, a half fried chicken – clocks in at 870 calories, and if you decide to splurge on one more wing that’ll put you above the 1,000 mark. Instead, go for either the breast (320 calories) or the thigh (290 calories), or even better, opt for the Kentucky Grilled Chicken; a breast, wing, drumstick, and thigh contains only 560 calories. Photo Credit: Getty Images News/Thinkstock
Chipotle
Want your carnitas burrito topped with rice, beans, and guacamole? Then expect to eat right around 1,000 calories. If you’re looking to make your burrito as healthy as possible, skip the add-ons like cheese and sour cream and load up on the vegetables or, even better, for a burrito bowl, which forgoes the 300-calorie tortilla completely. Photo Credit: ChipotleClick Here to See More of What Does 1,000 Calories Look Like at Different Fast Food Chains
Shake Shack
A Single Shackburger at Shake Shack contains 490 calories. Should you decide to top it off with a root beer float or creamsicle float, you’ll be right at 1,000 calories. A Single Cheeseburger contains 50 fewer calories than a Shackburger. Replace the float with an unsweetened iced tea—it’s calorie free. Photo Credit: Flickr/ John
White Castle
A White Castle Original Slider contains 140 calories, so if you decide to down seven of them in a sitting, that’s 980 calories. They may look small, but they definitely add up. Stick to a few (I know, it’s not easy). And while the new Veggie Slider may be vegetable based, it actually contains 10 more calories than the Original. Photo Credit: White CastleClick Here to See More of What Does 1,000 Calories Look Like at Different Fast Food Chains