When you're out there in the trenches this coming Black Friday, let it be known that we're thinking fondly of you. Waging war with high prices, reaping the bounty of sweet sales victory, dragging sacks of consumer electronics and sweaters through the parking lot to your SUV like trophies of battle, your war medals made of receipts and balled-up coupons.
And because we know that you will fight fiercely, we've compiled a list of the five foods to avoid during your perilous journey through crowded malls and shopping centers this Black Friday -- and throughout the holiday season, for that matter. No matter how hungry you get, do not eat these foods. They are landmines of sugar and empty calories that will leave you lying defeated on the battlefield after your blood sugar drops and you hit the wall.
Tomorrow, we'll have a list of the five best mall foods -- the foods that will keep you alert and full of energy -- but for today, don't say we didn't warn you.
5. Auntie Anne's Glazin' Raisin Pretzel: Everyone loves Auntie Anne's. You can't pass the stand without the thick, yeasty aroma seducing you into line for a pretzel and a lemonade. It's just a pretzel, right? How bad could it be? Well, with over 500 calories and over 100 grams of carbohydrates (most of that from sugar), this is a gut-bomb that will leave you dragging before you know it.
4. Taco Bell Chipotle Steak Taco Salad: Lots of fast-food salads can be deceiving. This is a classic example. Instead of a healthy, invigorating meal, you're drowning yourself in over 900 calories, 1700 grams of sodium and nearly 60 grams of fat. In a salad. You can do better than this, even at Taco Bell. Just order off the low-fat, low-cal Fresco menu (which, frankly, we wish more fast food places offered).
3. Cinnabon Caramel Pecanbun: Sure, we all know that Cinnabon pastries aren't good for us. But they smell so damn irresistable. We even know a woman who had nightmares about Cinnabon after she started the Atkins diet -- that's how ingrained in our systems the Cinnabon has become. Despite all that, the Caramel Pecanbun with its extra-heavy cream cheese sauce contains half your daily caloric intake in one serving, as well as three heaping tablespoons of sugar.
2. Sbarro Stuffed Sausage & Pepperoni: Look, any slice of pizza you get from Sbarro is going to be laden with grease and salt. That's just a given. But at least do yourself a favor and restrict it to a 300-calorie slice of cheese instead of the stuffed sausage and pepperoni abomination that has at least 1,000 calories and untold amounts of fat and sodium.
1. Quizno's Large Tuna Melt: Another deceptively innocent sounding food, a sandwich from Quizno's surely couldn't be as bad for you as -- say -- a cheeseburger, right? Wrong. This fat-laden sandwich comes with a side of nearly 150 grams of fat and your entire daily recommended intake of calories. That's every meal you eat in one day, on a measly mall food court sandwich. Toasted bread or not, you're better off at Subway.