The Best (And Worst) Fast Food Salads

84522051Fast 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 can add 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).


Worst Fast Food Salads

Jack In The Box Chicken Club Salad With Crispy Chicken Strips and Bacon Ranch Dressing: Calories: 783, Protein: 34g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Fiber: 3g, Sodium: 1946mg, Cheddar cheese, croutons and bacon ranch dressing are what define this club salad, but they’re also what make it a health disaster. This salad packs a hefty 783 calories and almost a day’s worth of sodium. Save major calories by going for grilled chicken and using the dressing sparingly.

McDonald’s Premium Bacon Ranch Salad With Crispy Chicken: Calories: 570, Protein: 27g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Fiber: 4g, Sodium: 1400mg, “Crispy” is code for fried, so it’s no wonder that this salad is the least-healthy salad option at McDonald’s. This salad also has bacon bits and shredded cheese, so it’s loaded with saturated fat

Panera Steak & Blue Cheese Chopped Salad: Calories: 790, Protein: 39g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Fiber: 4g, Sodium: 1280mg, Though it is refreshing to see a nonchicken option on a fast-food salad menu, steak isn’t the best way to go from a health perspective. This salad has way more calories and saturated fat than any of Panera’s other salads and is also at the higher end of the sodium spectrum.

Wendy’s Baja Salad, Calories: 730, Protein: 34g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Fiber: 13g, Sodium: 1920mg
The Baja Salad, featuring lettuce, chili, cheese and guacamole, might win points for its whopping 13 grams of fiber (half of what you need in a day) and 32 grams of protein (this nutritional combo means it will definitely fill you up). But this one meal also delivers two-thirds of your daily limit for sodium and saturated fat, making it a less-healthy choice.

Best Fast Food Salads

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 and…