Cracker Barrel knows that when you have to drive, your car is not the only one that needs fuel. That’s why its restaurants are almost always located just a stone’s throw from the highway. Although Cracker Barrel can help you not drive on an empty stomach, making the wrong decision when ordering your meal may be more harmful than helping you. Cracker Barrel may attract you with the promise of enjoying meals as good as if they had been prepared at home, but some ingredients are far from everything you will find in your mother’s kitchen. So, if you are refuelling at Cracker Barrel’s pump, here are some meals to avoid.
1. Fresh Fruit N’ Yogurt Perfect Breakfast
The irony of this meal is that it is part of the “Lighter Twist” menu, which means that if you order it for lunch, you are probably making an effort to make healthy choices. Unfortunately, it’s probably not as good a choice as you hope.
This breakfast is made with low-fat yogurt, seasonal fruit, honeyed oats and granola, served with scrambled egg whites and turkey sausage looks healthy, right? Wrong. Of course, it’s less caloric than a stack of pancakes that is equivalent to 510 calories. But the 65 grams of carbohydrates that come on this plate are not what you would expect with a “light” breakfast. Nor are 41 grams of sugar expected. All this sugar means that, depending on your nutritional goals, you meet or exceed your daily sugar intake before you even finish breakfast. For all these carbohydrates and sugars, at least order something that tastes good, because this breakfast is not as healthy as we would like you to believe.
2. Cracker Barrel’s Fried Chicken Salad
You should not be surprised to see fried chicken salad on this list. Garnishing a fried chicken salad with cheese, croutons and eggs is certainly one way to make your greens taste good, but it’s not very useful if you want to reduce your calorie intake.
With this salad, you’ll get 870 calories, 1860 milligrams of sodium and 53 grams of carbohydrates – without the dressing. Of course, it’s not a salad without vinaigrette. By adding a honey vinaigrette, you add 350 calories, 580 milligrams of sodium and 26 grams of carbohydrates to your salad. At this point, you may as well give up ordering a salad and go for a hamburger and fries. It’s about as healthy, and you don’t have all that annoying salad to eat.
3. Chicken Sunday Homestyle by Cracker Barrel’s
Cracker Barrel offers a different special dinner for each day of the week, and Sunday is not the day you want to go.
Sunday Homestyle Chicken is made with two boneless chicken breasts, dipped in buttermilk batter, breaded and fried. It certainly looks delicious, but it’s probably not worth the calories – it’s equivalent to 1350 calories, and it’s just for the chicken! It is also 3200 milligrams of sodium, more than double what the American Heart Association says you should aim for in a full day.
4. Cracker Barrel’s Pancakes with pecans
If you are a fan of pecans (is there anyone who is not?), these pancakes are delicious for breakfast. Unfortunately, they are also incredibly unhealthy. These three giant pecan-filled pancakes, topped with butter, contain 1,130 calories, 2,720 milligrams of sodium and 119 grams of carbohydrates. What a great way to start the day!
Once you add a portion of the 100% natural and pure maple syrup that Cracker Barrel offers, you add 150 calories and 37 grams of sugar more. This is the recommended daily intake of sugar, just in maple syrup. And let’s face it, no one will eat a single serving of syrup when there are three pancakes, each the size of a plate.
5. Cracker Barrel’s Maple Jam N’ Bacon Burger
If you order a hamburger, chances are you’re not trying to make a healthy choice – and that’s fine! But Cracker Barrel’s Maple Jam N’ Bacon Burger goes a little too far.
With a hamburger, especially one of this size, you know you get calories, and this one doesn’t disappoint with 950 calories. You probably won’t be surprised either to see that it contains 51 grams of fat, 220 milligrams of cholesterol, 1300 milligrams of sodium and 52 grams of carbohydrates.
6. Cracker Barrel’s Momma’s Pancake Breakfast
Everyone knows that our mothers want what is best for us. One of the ways our moms take care of us is to make sure we start the day with a good, solid breakfast, to better help us grow and realize all our dreams. But if your mother was Cracker Barrel, and she gave you her breakfast of pancakes every day, the only dream you could reasonably expect to realize would be obesity, heart disease and early death…
According to Cracker Barrel’s nutritional guide, Momma’s pancake breakfast (i.e. three pancakes, two eggs, butter and meat of your choice – bacon) contains 1,1250 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat and 2,710 mg of sodium, making it heartwarming. According to the FDA, your standard daily diet of 2,000 calories should not include more than 20 grams of saturated fat and 2,400 milligrams of sodium if you want to stay healthy.
7. Breakfast of Cracker’s grandfather Barrel’s Country-Fried
The cuisine is often family-oriented, and the Cracker Barrel family is certainly no different. Because if you take a look at Grandpa Barrel’s breakfast, it’s clear that that’s where Mom learned everything she knows. Grandpa’s country breakfast is served with two eggs, oatmeal, sauce, cookies, butter, French fries or brown casserole with hashish, and either fried chicken or fried chicken steak. Phew – so much food!
Even with the slightly less bad options of French fries and country fried chicken, assuming two cookies and ignoring optional preserves, you still consume 1,340 calories, 19 grams of saturated fat, 465 milligrams of cholesterol, and 2,805 milligrams of sodium.
8. Fried shrimps from Cracker Barrel’s country
Choose anything from Cracker Barrel’s menu that includes the word “fried” in the description, and you know that it will never be good for weight loss, but it is not necessarily an automatic disqualification. However, the plate of fried shrimps in the countryside is monstrous. Even if you choose boring side dishes like steamed broccoli, boiled cabbage and coleslaw, as well as a slightly more interesting corn muffin, you’ll end up with a meal that contains 1,250 calories, 15 grams of saturated fat… and 3520 mg of sodium!
9. Macaroni with Cracker Barrel’s Cheese
Cracker Barrel’s macaroni and cheese are regular pasta with bacon pieces inside.
Macaroni and cheese can make a good meal when properly prepared and consumed in moderation – they can even become whimsical from time to time. If, however, they include several ingredients, such as bacon, you end up with an extra 270 calories, 16 grams of fat and 700 milligrams of sodium! Goodbye to the diet!
10. Cracker Barrel’s sweetened iced tea
Drinking sweet iced tea is a good way to cool down on a hot summer day or any other day for that matter. It is refreshing and easy to drink, often contains less sugar than regular soda (and more nutritional benefits). Cracker Barrel’s sweetened iced tea, however, contains 130 calories and 34 grams of sugar.
11. Cracker Barrel’s Double Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake
It’s hard to criticize a dessert because it’s not good for you. Dessert wasn’t trying to keep it a secret. And no one expects the words “Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake” to be beneficial to health.
Usually, it is possible to eat a light meal and then enjoy a dessert without the numbers getting out of hand. But choose this option from the Cracker Barrel menu and you will be entitled to 790 extra calories, 14 grams of saturated fat and 96 grams of sugar.
12. Quenelles by Cracker Barrel (as an accompaniment)
When you look at a menu and try to make an intelligent decision, it is easy to get distracted by the main elements of a dish and lower your guard when it comes to side dishes. But there is no point in saving yourself a few calories and salt on the main course (by giving up your favourite main course, moreover!), and then, without knowing it, recovering them in a poorly thought-out side dish.
For example, quenelles contain 210 calories and 940 milligrams of sodium, almost halfway to your daily sodium limit. There should not be so much sodium in the whole meal, let alone in one of the three forgotten side dishes that go with it.
13. Chicken and dumplings from Cracker Barrel’s
It is easy to be distracted by nutrition when you are trying to decide what to eat. However, there are sometimes other reasons to vote against a given dish. Let’s take the example of this dish. However, there is an even better reason to avoid this dish: this plate looks simply disgusting.
You must remember that the photos you see on the menu are better than the plate you will receive in front of you. What you get will depend a lot on what happens in the kitchen, but in the case of chicken and dumplings, it just doesn’t seem edible.