23 July 2011 ~ 3 Comments

Dieting Lesson: Not All Salads Are Healthy

Since being on this diet, salads have come to be my best friend. They are an easy meal to prepare at home and when dining out, just about every restaurant has a couple of good salads on their menu.  One thing I am learning though, is that just because it’s a salad, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Especially when it comes to fast food & fast casual food.

Two recent dining out experiences as examples.

1) Wendy’s – Most of the salads at Wendy’s, before personalizing, have 40+ grams of fat. Only the new Berry Almond Chicken Salad has less than 20 grams of fat, and not much less, it’s still has 16g. I recently ordered the BLT Cobb salad, thinking I was doing OK, only to later find out it had 46 grams of fat! Now, I picked around the bacon, but still, that is a lot of fat. Oh, and 21 of the grams of fat were from the salad dressing alone!

2) Applebees – Again, most of their salads before personalizing, have 30 – 50 grams of fat.  Now, they do have two WW salads that are low fat, but they don’t share fat content on their menu, just WW points and calories, if less than 550. Today I had essentially the 1/2 pecan chicken salad and yes I new the chicken would make the fat count higher, but 48 grams of fat??? REALLY?

So which fast food restaurants actually have healthy salads? I had no idea, so I went searching and I found this great article over on ABC.com from ShopSmart Magazine where they shared some of their top picks.

1) Panera Bread: BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad // 10G// Without the Panera BBQ Ranch Dressing

2) McDonald’s: Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken// 8G// Without creamy southwest dressing 

3) McDonald’s: Premium Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken// 9G// Add 2.5g of Fat with ginger sesame dressing

4) Burger King: Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad // 7g// Without ranch dressing

  Read the complete article: ShopSmart’s Best Salad Choices at Chain Restaurants


So be careful out there when ordering on a diet.  Learn from me. The word ‘salad’ is not synonymous with the word ‘healthy’.

If you have any suggestions for places with healthy salad options, I’d love to hear them. We don’t eat fast food a lot, but when we do, I’d like to be able to still stay inline with my [email protected][email protected]!


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3 Responses to “Dieting Lesson: Not All Salads Are Healthy”

  1. Kathy 23 July 2011 at 5:13 pm Permalink

    In past couple of years I learned where to place these fast food salads….on a chopping block. The reason many of them are so high in fat is that like the other meals on the menu, they are much too big. This is true for fast food and most sit down restaurants. Panera salads have some very good and healthy ingredients but if you pile them high like they do, you might as well eat a bagel with cream cheese. I can pretty easily divide each of these salads in half for 2 meals.

    In the end, I don’t choose salads when I go to fast food restaurants. They are really no healthier than a chicken sandwich. If I go to fast food, I am prepared to eat fast food. And I eat or order on half of most other meal size salads at a restaurant.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Emily 24 July 2011 at 5:41 pm Permalink

    I absolutely love the BBQ chopped chicken salad from Panera. Glad to hear it is on the “good” list! I don’t tend to order fast food salads, but some of my go-to meals on the road include Chick-fil-a’s chargrilled chicken sandwich (the combo w/ fruit on the side is great), Wendy’s chili (not helpful this time of year!), and Chipotle burrito bowls or salads.

  3. Lehti 10 October 2011 at 5:21 pm Permalink

    I know those salad dressings can be a real energy and fat boosts to a salad that supposed to be low fat food. You really have to look what is inside the salad when buying it for lunch. Luckily McDonalds is clearly saying how many calories and how much fat is in their salads so that I can easily pick the ones that I want to eat. Don’t know if that is the case in every country.

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