Why You Should Skip The Country Fried Shrimp At Cracker Barrel

If Cracker Barrel's history of discriminatory hiring practices, racism, razor blades in burgers, or lawsuits over sexual harassment, wrongful death, and wheelchair accessibility weren't enough to dampen your enthusiasm for this roadside caricature of homestyle country charm, a health warning for their shrimp dish probably won't, either. But for those who find themselves stranded on a highway with nothing but Chicken N' Dumplins as far as the eye can see, it's probably a good idea to skip this shrimp platter and opt for something else from the Cracker Barrel arsenal.

The words "country fried" before any menu item should be enough to give anyone pause before ordering. While it's unclear just what sets "country" frying apart from regular old frying, one thing is for sure: any preparation of the "breaded and fried" variety does not bode well for your daily fat, sodium, and calorie intake — and the Country Fried Shrimp dinner is no exception.

What's the catch with country fried shrimp?

At 900 calories for the minimum plate of shrimp, hushpuppies, steak fries, and cocktail sauce, you've already racked up 36 grams of fat — and almost all of your daily sodium (via Cracker Barrel and CDC). Even at Mayo Clinic's highest recommended fat intake per day (78 grams), this seafood bomb will take you 46 percent of the way there. The CDC recommends 2,300 mg of sodium daily, and Country Fried Shrimp packs a whopping 2,040 mg.

But that's just the beginning. Because, of course, the Country Fried Shrimp dinner comes with a choice of bread: two buttermilk biscuits, (320 calories), two cornbread muffins (420 calories), or one of each – and "real butter." On top of that, you get to choose two Country Sides at no extra cost. Even if you chose the somewhat-lighter biscuits, plus broccoli and fresh fruit, two of the lowest-calorie sides, your calorie grand total would top 1,300. More moderate side choices, like coleslaw and corn, would bring you to 1,650 calories, 77 grams of fat, and 2915 mg of sodium. And that's not even counting the real butter (via Cracker Barrel).

If you still need a dose of crispy seafood before shopping around for a rocking chair (Cracker Barrel sells 70,000 a year!) opt for the lighter U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Fillet. It's available fried, and at 400 calories before sides, it's a little less fishy for your health than that shrimp.