The Naughty List! (Seasonal Shockers!)

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Everywhere you go these days, it's "pumpkin" this, "peppermint" that, "cranberry" whatnot, etc. We've pulled together a few particularly scary holiday-time items, and the results do NOT fill us with tidings of comfort or joy...

  Starbucks Caramel Brulée Latte

PER SERVING (one 16-oz./Grande drink with 2% milk and whipped cream): 420 calories, 15g fat, 200mg sodium, 66g carbs, 0g fiber, 48g sugars, 8g protein -- PointsPlus® value 12*

Oh, Starbucks. Seems as if we go through this every year: You release some new super-sugary drink into the world, and we have to warn everyone how crazy high in calories it is. Even a demure 12-oz./Tall drink made with nonfat milk and no whip has 240 calories, due in part to all that sugar! A standard Grande with 2% milk and whipped cream has more calories than a Burger King Buck Double. Does sipping the caloric equivalent of a two-patty cheeseburger first thing in the morning sound like a smart idea? We don't think so either.

  Au Bon Pain Turkey Cranberry Brie on Multigrain

PER SERVING (1 sandwich): 590 calories, 19g fat, 1,650mg sodium, 71g carbs, 10g fiber, 18g sugars, 39g protein -- PointsPlus® value 15*

Who doesn't enjoy the pairing of cranberries and turkey? People with defective taste buds, that's who! This sounds like a reasonable choice, right? The turkey, the multigrain bread... BUT WAIT! With stats like these, this sandwich is right up there with a Big Mac! If you're craving a turkey-n-cran sand, try our Gobble, Gobble Cranberry Grilled Cheese instead.

  Culver's Pumpkin Cheesecake Concrete Mixer

PER SERVING (1 medium order): 993 calories, 53g fat, 489mg sodium, 113g carbs, 2g fiber, 93g sugars, 16g protein -- PointsPlus® value 27*

This is among the worst of the seasonal offerings from the Midwest-based frozen custard chain. We're even being nice, not calling out the largest version. (That has 1,263 calories and 68g fat!) But what would you expect from cheesecake mixed into frozen custard? HELLO!? It's a bad idea. By the way, even one scoop of the plain vanilla custard has more than 300 calories and 18g fat. What the WHAT!?

  Burgerville Spiced Cranberry Crispy Chicken Sandwich

PER SERVING (1 sandwich): 510 calories, 41g fat, 1,090mg sodium, 86g carbs, 3g fiber, sugars n.a., 54g protein -- PointsPlus® value 25*

This is not the scariest item in our lineup, but here's the thing: You can slash nearly 90 percent of the fat with one little word! How? Easy. Order it Grilled instead of Crispy. It'll still have that spiced cranberry sauce -- which is what you're probably after anyway -- but you'll save 130 calories and 36g of fat! Just be careful around those Sweet Potato Fries; a regular order has 550 calories and 24g fat. Eeeks...

  Carl's Jr. Chocolate Malted Crunch Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shake

PER SERVING (1 shake): 840 calories, 41g fat, 380mg sodium, 102g carbs, 1g fiber, 85g sugars, 16g protein -- PointsPlus® value 23*

It seems like every season brings a tempting new shake flavor from crazy Carl. But like we've pretty much always said, do NOT fall prey to this mega-shake! We're sure that ice cream and crunchy chocolate candy pieces taste pretty good together -- we just have no need for THAT much of it. Craving these exact flavors? Dig into your Halloween stash for some Whoppers, crush 'em over a little light ice cream, and top it off with a tablespoon of Hershey's Lite Chocolate Syrup. You'll get your fix without blowing anything close to 800+ calories!

  Bruegger's Ham & Cheddar Panini + Butternut Squash Soup

PER SERVING (1 sandwich + 1 cup soup): 850 calories, 34g fat, 2,670mg sodium, 93g carbs, 3g fiber, 26g sugars, 42g protein -- PointsPlus® value 22*

This match-up was marketed as fall's "Perfect Pair," and more ideal duos are currently being tested. The idea? Not bad. The reality? Ummm... This couple has more calories than a Hamburger Deluxe matched with a medium order of fries at Jack in the Box! Must have soup and a sandwich here? Pair the Turkey deli sandwich with the Spinach & Lentil soup -- 550 calories and 11.5g fat for a complete meal!

  Panera Bread Peppermint Hot Chocolate

PER SERVING (1 beverage): 610 calories, 17g fat, 180mg sodium, 102g carbs, 0g fiber, 83g sugars, 11g protein -- PointsPlus® value 16*

We expect high-calorie bread items from this chain, but schmancy high-calorie beverages? Guess it makes sense, since Starbucks is now making sandwiches, that the Panera peeps are stepping into sugary hot beverage territory. The fact that this sweet stuff has more calories than the chain's steak chili with cornbread is LAME. You are not a meal; you are hot cocoa! Add a bit of peppermint extract or sugar-free peppermint-flavored syrup to your own hot chocolate made from a 25-calorie hot cocoa packet, and you'll be WAY better off.


'Tis the season to help others -- click "Send to a Friend" to save your pals from bad food choices!


Friday, December 17th, is National Maple Syrup Day. One of our favorite syrupy recipes? Plate-Lickin'-Good Chicken & Waffles -- full of syrup and Southern charm (but not calories)!

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