In-N-Out animal style fries are a popular menu item at the famous West Coast burger chain. But how many calories are actually in an order of these indulgent fries? Keep reading to find out.
What are Animal Style Fries at In-N-Out?
Animal style fries at In-N-Out are the chain’s version of loaded fries. Regular french fries are topped with two ingredients that make them “animal style” – melty American cheese and In-N-Out’s signature Spread sauce.
The Spread sauce is a tangy, creamy sauce similar to a Thousand Island dressing. It’s made with ketchup, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and other ingredients like pickles and spices.
So animal style fries take crisp, golden fries and top them with gooey melted cheese and zesty Spread sauce. The result is an indulgent, craveable loaded fry experience.
Calories in Animal Style Fries
According to the In-N-Out nutrition information, a full order of animal style fries contains 770 calories.
That’s for an average-sized order of fries – In-N-Out serves two different fry sizes. The calories can vary slightly depending on the exact size you order.
- Small size animal fries: 500 calories
- Regular size animal fries: 770 calories
For comparison, a regular order of fries without the animal style toppings contains 420 calories. So loading up your fries animal style adds about 350 extra calories.
Calories in Each Topping
What makes up those 350 extra calories when you get animal style fries?
Let’s break it down by looking at the calories in each topping:
- 2 slices American cheese: 140 calories
- Spread sauce: 210 calories
So just two slices of melted cheese contributes 140 calories. The creamy Spread sauce is the biggest calorie addition, coming in at 210 calories for the amount used to top a regular order of fries.
Nutrients in Animal Style Fries
Now that we know how many calories are in animal style fries, let’s look at some of the other key nutrients:
As you can see, an order of animal style fries delivers quite a bit of fat and sodium. The 40g of total fat includes 14g of saturated fat, which is 70% of the daily value.
The 870mg of sodium is also high, coming in at 37% of the daily recommended limit. As expected with loaded fries, salt and fat are high Contributors to the indulgent nutritional stats.
On the positive side, animal style fries do contain some protein from the cheese topping, supplying 22g or 44% of the daily value. There is also a few grams of fiber from the potato fries.
How Do Animal Style Fries Fit Into Your Diet?
Should you indulge in In-N-Out’s famous animal style fries if you are closely watching your calorie intake or following a healthy diet?
While the 770 calories certainly make these a high calorie menu option, that doesn’t have to automatically rule them out for special occasions or as an occasional treat.
As with any indulgent food, moderation and balance are key. Having animal style fries once in awhile can absolutely have a place in an otherwise healthy pattern of eating.
Strategies to Fit Them Into Your Diet
Here are some tips for enjoying animal style fries without going overboard on calories, fat, and sodium:
- Order the small size for a 500 calorie portion
- Split an order with a friend
- Get them only occasionally, not every visit
- Pair them with lower calorie sides and toppings on your burger
- Balance out the indulgence with nutrient dense meals the rest of the day
As you can see, there are many ways to work animal fries into your diet in moderation. Going for a smaller portion, limiting how often you have them, and watching your intake the rest of the day can help keep your overall diet balanced.
Healthier In-N-Out Options
If you love the taste of In-N-Out but want to make a more nutritious choice, there are healthier menu options beyond animal style fries:
Protein Style Burger
Order any burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun to save on carbs and calories. The lettuce wrap cuts about 130 calories compared to a bun.
Mustard Grilled Chicken Sandwich
A grilled chicken sandwich with mustard is a high protein, lower fat option at only 310 calories without fries.
Hamburger with Onion
The simple hamburger with onion instead of spread and cheese offers classic flavor at only 240 calories.
New to the menu, this salad offers a healthy meatless choice topped with low cal veggies and vinaigrette dressing.
If you do opt for animal style fries, there are some tweaks you can make to cut a few calories:
- Order them light on the Spread sauce
- Ask for just one slice of cheese instead of two
- Choose a vinegar based dressing like balsamic to dip them in
While the savings are minimal, every bit can help lighten up this calorie-laden menu item.
Should You Eat Animal Style Fries Every Day?
At over 700 calories and 40 grams of fat for one order, animal style fries are best enjoyed only occasionally. Making them a daily habit isn’t a good idea for your health or waistline. The high calorie, fat, carb, and sodium count can add up quickly.
Nutrition experts recommend limiting foods high in saturated fat, sodium, and calories to no more than once or twice per week at most. It’s best to keep animal fries as an occasional indulgence, not an everyday item.
Health Risks of Too Many Animal Style Fries
Eating anything in excess can carry health risks, and animal style fries are no exception. Some concerns linked to having them too often include:
- Weight gain – at over 700 calories, they can lead to extra pounds if consumed daily
- High cholesterol – frequent saturated fat can drive up unhealthy LDL levels
- High blood pressure – excess sodium intake stresses the cardiovascular system
- Heart disease – high fat, sodium, and calories are all risk factors
- Diabetes – heavy carbs and calories can lead to blood sugar issues and insulin resistance
Clearly, health issues can develop if you make animal style fries an everyday habit. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid them entirely. But moderation and variety in your diet are key to keeping risks low.
Healthier Fries at Other Chains
If you want a loaded fry fix but are trying to watch your health and calorie intake, other fast food chains offer more nutritious options. Here are some lighter fry choices with fewer calories than In-N-Out animal style:
- Small French Fry – 230 calories
- Small Fries with Sweet N Sour Sauce – 340 calories
- Small French Fries – 270 calories
- Small Fries with BBQ Sauce – 330 calories
- Small Natural Cut Fries – 260 calories
- Small Fries with Ranch – 330 calories
As you can see, even loaded down with sauce, the fry options from these chains are lower in calories than a 770 calorie In-N-Out animal fry. So you can still get your fix for less.
Should Kids Eat Animal Style Fries?
With their indulgent flavors and craveable taste, animal style fries understandably appeal to kids’ palates. However, their high calorie and fat content make them a poor dietary choice for children.
Childhood obesity is a major health concern, with about 1 in 5 school-age children being obese. Fatty, salty foods like animal fries contribute to this epidemic. Their excess calories, fat, sodium, and refined carbs are problematic for kids.
Experts advise not introducing children to unhealthy fried and fatty foods like animal fries in the first place. With the current childhood obesity crisis, these types of indulgences are best saved only for rare occasions once kids are older.
Healthier Kid-Friendly Sides
If dining at In-N-Out with children, there are better options to substitute for animal fries, such as:
- Fresh fruit cup
- Side salad with low fat dressing
- Chocolate milk – provides calcium for growing bones
- Yogurt tube – offers protein
With creativity and marketing items as “fun foods”, parents can steer kids toward healthier picks. Starting good diet habits young promotes lifelong wellbeing.
Are Animal Fries Part of a Healthy Pregnancy Diet?
When pregnant, every food decision affects your growing baby. High fat, salty foods like animal style fries are best minimized during pregnancy.
The excess calories, saturated fat, sodium, and preservatives in animal fries offer little nutritional benefit and come with potential risks. They can contribute to issues like:
- Excessive weight gain
- Gestational diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Premature birth
To protect your baby’s development, aim for a balanced diet centered around nutritious whole foods. Get plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats from sources like olive oil and nuts.
Occasional Indulgence When Pregnant
Pregnancy cravings and comfort foods can certainly strike. If animal fries are what sounds good every once in awhile, a small order is unlikely to be harmful.
Just be mindful of portion size and limiting salty, fried fare to occasional treats. Focus your meals and snacks on providing optimal nutrition for you and your developing baby.
Should You Exercise After Eating Animal Fries?
Exercising after eating anything high in fat like animal fries is not recommended. The fat and sodium in these indulgent fries can cause indigestion, cramping, and bloating during physical activity.
It takes the stomach about 3-4 hours to fully digest a heavy, fatty meal. So longer duration or more vigorous exercise right after eating animal fries is not wise.
That said, a leisurely walk or other light activity can aid digestion. Just don’t plan high intensity training immediately after these fat-laden fries.
Better Pre-Workout Foods
These are smarter fuel options before a tough workout:
- Whole grain toast
- Energy bar
High protein, moderate carb, and low fat foods give you energy without digestive distress when eaten before physical activity. Time any indulgences like animal fries for after your workout instead.
Final Word on Animal Style Fries
When craving the signature loaded fries from In-N-Out, animal style is the way to go. With melted cheese and zesty Spread sauce on crisp fries, they offer irresistible flavor. A full order clocks in at 770 calories and 40 grams of fat though.
These indulgent fries can fit into a healthy diet, but only when enjoyed in moderation. Going with a small size, skipping them some visits, and not making them an everyday habit are best. This helps control calories, fat, and sodium intake.
Overall, animal style fries are a tasty seasonal treat. Just keep your expectations – and portions – in check.