What 1,500 Calories Looks Like at 25 Fast Food Restaurants

Those attempting a 1,500-calories-a-day diet, be warned: The following infographic may be upsetting! We’ve scanned the most popular fast-food menus for 1,500-calories-per-day meals, and quite frequently, you can blow your entire calorie budget for the day in one sitting. What do 1,500 calories look like at fast-food restaurants? Here’s a hint of how fast you can cram calories meant for a full day into one meal.

What 1,500 Calories Looks Like at 25 Fast Food Restaurants infographic

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What 1,500 Calories Looks Like at 25 Fast-Food Restaurants Transcript


Restaurant + Calorie Total Items
McDonald’s (1,560 calories) 1 Big Mac (540 calories), 1 Large Fries (510 calories), 1 McFlurry With Oreo Cookies (510 calories)
Wendy’s (1,550 calories) 1 Baconator (940 calories), 1 Chili-Cheese Baked Potato (610 calories)
Arby’s (1,460 calories) 1 Smokehouse Brisket (600 calories), 1 Small Curly Fries (410 calories), 1 Small Vanilla Shake (450 calories)
Dairy Queen (1,520 calories) 1 Chicken Strip Basket (1000 calories), 1 Small Butterfinger Blizzard Treat (520 calories)
Burger King (1,530 calories) 1 Double Quarter Pound King (900 calories), 1 Chicken Fries (290 calories), 1 Dutch Apple Pie (340 calories)
Chipotle (1,495 calories) Chicken Burrito With White Rice, Black Beans, Queso, Chili-Corn Salsa, Cheese, Guacamole, and Sour Cream (1,495 calories)
Sonic Drive-In (1,510 calories) Small Peanut Butter and Cookie Dough Dream Master Blast (940 calories), Jr. Double Cheeseburger (570 calories)
Carl’s Jr. (1,500 calories) Famous Star With Cheese (670 calories), Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake (320 calories), Jalapeno Poppers (370 calories), Side Salad (140 calories)
KFC (1,510 calories) 1 Large Popcorn Nuggets (620 calories), 2 Biscuits (370 calories), Double Crunch Sandwich (520 calories)
Panera Bread (1,520 calories) Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt (770 calories), Bowl of Black Bean Soup (140 calories), Cinnamon Crunch Scone (550 calories), Fresh Fruit Cup (60 calories)
Chick-Fil-A (1,490 calories) Spicy Deluxe Sandwich (540 calories), Medium Waffle Potato Fries (360 calories), Superfood Side (150 calories), Large Frosted Lemonade (410 calories), Zesty Buffalo Sauce (30 calories)
Dunkin’ Donuts (1,510 calories) Boston Kreme Donut (300 calories), Sausage, Egg, and Cheese on a Croissant (700 calories), Small Frozen French Vanilla Swirl Coffee With Whole Milk (510 calories)
Taco Bell (1,520 calories) Crunchwrap Supreme (530 calories), Nacho Fries (400 calories), Caramel Apple Empanada (280 calories), Cheesy Roll Up (180 calories), Small Mountain Dew Spiked Lemonade (130 calories)
Subway (1,450 calories) 6-Inch Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt (590 calories), Veggie Delite Footlong (No cheese) (430 calories), White Chip Macadamia Nut Cookie (220 calories), Loaded Baked Potato Soup (210 calories)
Starbucks (1,500 calories) Bacon, Gouda, and Egg Breakfast Sandwich (370 calories), Grande Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino (420 calories), Confetti Hearts Cake Pop (150 calories), Venti Iced White Chocolate Mocha (2% milk) (560 calories)
Five Guys (1,446 calories) Bacon Cheeseburger (920 calories), Little Fries (526 calories)
Moe’s (1,476 calories) Adobo Chicken Burrito (Rice, Cheese, Queso, Chipotle Ranch, Sour Cream) (1,086 calories), Chips (390 calories)
Popeye’s (1,945 calories) Popcorn Shrimp Po’ Boy Sandwich (660 calories), Regular Cajun Fries (268 calories), Regular Red Beans and Rice (247 calories), Mardi Gras Cheesecake (320 calories),  
In-N-Out Burger (1,469 calories) Double-Double w/Onion (670 calories), 15-Ounce Vanilla Shake (580 calories), 16-Ounce Root Beer (219 calories)
Jack in the Box (1,479 calories) Classic Buttery Jack (816 calories), Seasoned Curly Fries (280 calories), Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Shake (796 calories)
Tim Horton’s (1,480 calories) Farmer’s Breakfast Grilled Wrap (650 calories), Medium Iced Mocha Latte (390 calories), Honey Cruller Donut (310 calories), Hash Brown (130 calories)
Papa John’s (1,560 calories) Small (10-Inch) John’s Favorite Pizza (1,560 calories) (260 per slice)
Bojangle’s (1,490 calories) Cajun Filet Biscuit (550 calories), Cinnamon Biscuit (520 calories), Large Sweet Iced Tea (420 calories)
White Castle (1,510 calories) 5 Cheese Sliders (800 calories), Loaded Fries (460 calories), Brownie on a Stick (250 calories)
Panda Express (1,490 calories) Kung Pao Chicken (290 calories), Half Chow Mein (510 calories), Veggie Spring Roll (190 calories), Cream Cheese Rangoon (190 calories), Chicken Potsticker (160 calories), Fortune Cookie (20 calories), Gatorade Lemon-Lime (130 calories)

Normally, eating 1,500 calories a day isn’t unrealistic given a diet of vegetables, little dairy, and lean meat. Here’s a sample of a 1,500-calorie diet that includes three meals and an afternoon snack. There are tons of examples of meal plans with three full, filling meals under that calorie threshold. With a little bit more prep, getting the energy you need from vegetables and protein is completely reasonable. But it is important to consider one question: Is a 1,500-calorie diet enough? Typically, an exercising person should get between 1,800 and 2,600 calories daily, and the limit of 1,500 is good for weight loss for an average person. Of course, individual needs may be different.

But here’s how not to eat 1,500 calories a day: cramming it all into one meal. This is an intensely unhealthy way to go about it, and it’s certainly not meant as a guide. But this just goes to show how unhealthy America’s fast-food items can be. We’ve already shown how much you’d have to run to work off some of these items. Here’s another way to look at how quickly burger calories stack up!

At most of these fast-food restaurants, you can sit down and consume one 1,500-calorie meal. That means you’ve already consumed what those trying to lose weight should eat in an entire day when you sit down at that restaurant (or in your car, of course). Fast-food calories can pile up ridiculously fast, with some single items, like one burrito at Chipotle or a small pizza at Papa John’s, completely filling that 1,500-calorie quota on their own.

What does a 1,500-calorie diet look like? This fast-food calorie counter can show you what 1,500 calories will get you at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, or Chick-Fil-A. At McDonald’s, all you’d need to reach 1,500 calories in one meal is a Big Mac, large fries, and a McFlurry. At Wendy’s, you only need two items: a Baconator and a chili-cheese baked potato. At Sonic, you’d just need one of their most caloric Master Blast drinks and a Jr. Double Cheeseburger.

What’s upsetting about this is that to reach 1,500 calories per day, you don’t necessarily need to pick out the highest-calorie fast food items at each restaurant. You also don’t need to pick out the unusual and rare seasonal items or experiments that can be horrifyingly high in calories. All you need is a few regular-menu fast-food items to reach your 1,500 calories a day! Menu items that are always available, like burgers and shakes, tend to be over 1,000 calories on their own, so if you’re hoping to lose weight, definitely watch out.

Maintaining a healthy diet with a limit of 1,500 calories is reasonable, but doing it with fast food in your diet may not be. Sticking to the least caloric items might help, but the sodium will still likely lead to bloating. If you want to lose weight, steer clear of blowing your whole budget on one 1,500-calorie meal.

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