Fast food isn’t the healthiest of options, we all know that. So, admit it: when you’re ordering fast food and the little voice in your head says “do better” we order a salad. But sometimes, that salad could be more detrimental than a small burger. In fact, some fast-food salads are as high in calories and fat as a double Quarter Pounder with cheese!
Two key ingredients can make or break your fast food salad: chicken (specifically, whether you choose “grilled” or “crispy” style) and salad dressing. Although some fat helps make salad dressing taste good, many fast-food dressings go too far. A serving of blue cheese dressing at Carl’s Jr., for example, adds 320 calories and 34 grams of fat to your salad.
Below are some of the best and worst salad options at the 10 top fast food chains. The “best” salads were those with the least saturated fat; the “worst” salads had the highest levels of saturated fat, total fat, and/or calories.
Before we begin, a quick tip for all you fast food salad eaters: eat only half a pack of dressing with some of these salads. This will decrease your calorie and fat intake).
Best Fast Food Salads
Taco Bell Chicken Fiesta Taco Salad (Fresco Style): This salad has 240 calories, 6 grams (g) total fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 720 milligrams (mg) sodium, 5 grams fiber, and 23 grams protein. Ingredients: beans, fiesta salsa, lettuce, rice, southwest chicken, tomato.
Taco Bell Steak FiestaTaco Salad (Fresco Style): 220 calories; 6g total fat; 2g saturated fat; 810 mg sodium; 5g fiber; 17g protein. Ingredients: beans, fiesta salsa, lettuce, rice, steak, tomato.
McDonald’s Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken with 1/2 packet Southwest dressing): 370 calories; 12g total fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 1,130 mg sodium; 6g fiber; 30g protein. Ingredients: Mixed greens, oven-roasted tomatoes, fire-roasted corn, black beans, poblano peppers, cheddar & jack cheeses, and tortilla strips.
Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Garden Salad (with Fat-Free Honey Mustard): 240 calories; 6g total fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 870mg sodium; 5g fiber; 23g protein. Ingredients: Lettuce, carrots, grape tomatoes, broccoli florets, Jack and cheddar cheeses, grilled chicken, garlic and butter croutons, honey-roasted sunflower kernels.
Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad (full-size with 1 packet Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing): 510 calories; 24 g total fat; 8.5 g saturated fat; 1,370 mg sodium, 4g fiber; 36 g protein. Ingredients: Salad greens, blue cheeses crumbles, dried cranberries, apple chunks, grilled chicken fillet, toasted pecans.
Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken & Fruit Salad (with Reduced-Fat Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette): Calories: 290; 8g total fat; 4g saturated fat; 790mg sodium; 4g fiber; 22g protein. Ingredients: Lettuce, carrots, Jack and cheddar cheeses, grilled chicken, fresh fruit medley, Harvest Nut granola.
Jack in the Box Grilled Chicken Salad (with Low-fat Balsamic dressing): 275 calories; 9.5 g total fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 1,130mg sodium; 5g fiber; 28g protein. Ingredients: Mixed salad greens, grilled chicken tenders, cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, carrots.
KFC Grilled Chicken BLT Salad (with Hidden Valley Ranch Fat-Free dressing): 265 calories; 8g total fat; 2.5g saturated fat; 1,330 mg sodium; 4g fiber; 36g protein. Ingredients: lettuce, oven-roasted chicken, diced tomatoes, bacon bits.
** Be sure to check the nutrition information posted on each fast food chain’s web sites for the most current information.**