1. Muffins: Eating a muffin on your way to work may seem like a healthy breakfast, but most store-bought versions are simply cake in disguise. A Starbucks Blueberry Muffin contains 430 calories, an Au Bon Pain Corn Muffin has 530, and a Dunkin’ Donuts Chocolate-Chip Muffin packs a whopping 630.
The bottom line: If you eat one of these three times a week, you could gain one to two pounds a month.
2. Cinnamon rolls: These sweet, sticky treats are favorites in shopping malls and airports across the country. But a regular habit could be enough to declare war on your waistline. A classic Cinnabon Roll, for example, tips the scales at a staggering 730 calories.
The bottom line: If you frequent the food court for one each week, prepare to gain an extra 10 pounds a year.
3. Onion rings How bad could onions be? Well, it’s the batter, the breading, and the deep-frying that make this crispy side order so diet-deadly. Jack in the Box’s version has 500 calories, while Nathan’s Famous Onion Rings weighs in at 745.
The bottom line: Eating one order of onion rings a week could translate to an annual weight gain of seven to 10 pounds.
4. Nachos: Fast-food nachos are usually one of the most fattening choices on the hors d’oeuvres menu. Taco Bell’s Macho Grande Nachos boasts 1320 calories, while On the Border’s Stacked Border Nachos contains a mind-boggling 2,740.
The bottom line: With these kinds of calories, you could gain one-third to two-thirds of a pound in a single sitting.
5. Buffalo wings: These sports-bar staples are coated in butter and hot sauce, deep-fried to a crisp, then slathered in blue-cheese dressing. Is it any surprise that they can instantly undo virtually any diet? Denny’s Buffalo Wings have 974 calories per plate, while Ruby Tuesday’s popular appetizer boasts a whopping 1,090.
The bottom line: Indulging in just once plateful a month is all it takes to pack on four extra pounds per year.
6. Cheese fries: As if classic French fries weren’t fattening enough, these cheese-smothered versions are positively calorific. One of the worst offenders is Outback Steakhouse’s Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing, which contains a stratospheric 2,900 calories.
The bottom line: This appetizer can pack on the pounds almost overnight. In fact, you’re almost guaranteed to gain an extra three-quarters of a pound every time you eat one.
7. Chicken pot pie: Once you look at the nutritional label, this classic comfort food seems anything but soothing. Pepperidge Farm’s Chunky Chicken Parmesan Premium Pot Pie contains 520 calories, while Kentucky Fried Chicken’s version packs 770.
The bottom line: Eat this diet-buster once a week, and you could weigh seven to 10 pounds more this time next year.
8. Carrot cake: It’s hard to believe that only one slice of anything could undermine an otherwise healthy eater, but with carrot cake, it’s almost guaranteed. A slice from Denny’s contains 799 calories, while the Whole Foods version has 830.
The bottom line: Is this decadent dessert really worth the caloric cost? Just a slice a week could cause you to gain one pound a month.
9. Milkshakes: These beverages may seem benign, but don’t be fooled: Milkshakes often contain more calories than banana splits or hot-fudge sundaes. A large Strawberry Milkshake from Dairy Queen contains 980 calories, while a Jack in the Box Chocolate Malted Crunch version has 1,310.
The bottom line: Sip at your own risk: Just two a week could make you gain two to three pounds every month.