I eat a salad almost every day for lunch and I pride myself on that being a pretty healthy choice. That being said, I also pretty much stick to vegetables, chickpeas, and balsamic vinegar—no meat (I'm vegetarian), no croutons, no creamy dressing, no sugary toppings. Because while salads on the surface seem like the epitome of health, there are tons of add-ons that end up ruining this visage.

Of course, calories are not everything. Plenty of salads rack up high calorie counts through healthy fats, vegetables, lean proteins, and fruit, but tons of them are just plain unhealthy. So to prove a point, I collected a list of 11 salads with more calories than a Big Mac. That's 540+ calories in your salad, that you should be mindful of where they're coming from.

1. Panera's Southwest Chile Lime Ranch Salad with Chicken: 650 calories

This Panera favorite racks in 9 grams of saturated fat, 1270 mg of sodium, and 9 grams of sugar. All of those numbers are higher than their equivalent measurements in a Big Mac from McDonald's. The ranch dressing and masa chip pieces are the main culprits—avocado, arugula, and chicken are perfectly delicious on their own.

2. Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad: 1420 calories

To be fair, you should know what you're getting into when you start throwing fried chicken on top of a salad. Add in the crispy noodles and oriental vinaigrette and you've got yourself 15 grams of saturated fat, 1530 mg of sodium, and 42 grams of sugar.

3. Wendy's Spicy Chicken Caesar: 720 calories

Wendy's sells a fairly classic Caesar salad, but with spicy fried chicken and pretty heavy dressing. It sits at 13 grams of saturated fat, 1760 mg of sodium, and 6 grams of sugar. But seriously—that chicken is so good. 

4. Taco Bell's Fiesta Taco Salad: 760 calories

Taco salad is never the best option when you're trying to eat healthy, considering there's generally some fried tortillas involved. Despite this, with 10 grams of saturated fat, 1320 mg of sodium, and 7 grams of sugar, this salad isn't even close to the the least healthy one's on this list.

5. TGIFriday's BBQ Chicken Salad: 910 calories

This salad has 13 grams of saturated fat, 2390 mg of sodium, and 24 grams of sugar. That's already more sodium than you should be eating in a day, and I'm guessing the bacon and tortilla chips are to blame. Adding BBQ ranch dressing to the mix is just asking for trouble. If you want to take it down a notch, try ordering it with a different dressing or even the dressing on the side for more control. 

6. California Pizza Kitchen Waldorf Chicken Salad: 1310 calories

Grapes and celery add a naturally sweet twist to any salad, but this one gets it's increase in calories from the candied walnuts and Dijon balsamic vinaigrette. If you order this salad, try swapping in oil and balsamic vinegar for a slightly healthier option. The salad has 20 grams of saturated fat, 1840 mg of sodium, and a whopping 55 grams of sugar, but it's hard to argue that those sweet candied nuts aren't worth it. 

7. Denny's Prime Rib Cobb Salad: 1060 calories

Steak, bacon, cheese, and fried potato sticks are the bases of this dish. The concoction claims to be a salad, but with 22 grams of saturated fat, 2060 mg of sodium, and 4 grams of sugar, the jury's still out on this one.

8. Chipotle Carnitas Salad with white rice, black beans, and vinaigrette: 780+ calories

burrito bowl, Chipotle Burrito Bowl, Chipotle
Jocelyn Hsu

Even before you start adding cheese, sour cream, salsas, or guac, a Chipotle salad racks up a ton of calories from just the basics. A bowl from Chipotle starts with 10 grams of saturated fat, 1865 mg of sodium, and 15 grams of sugar. The ingredient with the most calories is actually the vinaigrette—seriously, re-think your dressing choices no matter what salad you order. 

9. Maggiano's Salmon Salad: 1180 calories

After hearing that tomatoes and salmon are the base for this salad, I thought that it was likely to be healthy. Clearly, my instinct was wrong. Maggiano's packs in 21 grams of saturated fat, 2790 mg of sodium, and 16 grams of sugar into this innocent-sounding dish. I blame the bacon and the "white balsamic" dressing. Bacon and salmon aren't the best combo anyways, so you probably wouldn't miss it if you decide to go without. 

10. Newk's Turkey, Squash, and Kale Salad: 900 calories

This one reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner on a salad and I'm not really mad about it, except for the that fact that the vinaigrette itself packs 450 calories. The total salad brings in 20 grams of saturated fat, 1890 mg of sodium, and 17 grams of sugar. I bet this would be just as good with a lower cal dressing.

11. Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad: 1470 calories

Although it sounds delicious. calling this a salad is a bit optimistic. It's basically lettuce, chicken, and tortilla chip strips on top of a quesadilla. It also packs 30 grams of saturated fat, 2460 mg of sodium, and 17 grams of sugar. 

Looking at these salads just makes me more distrustful of menus that don't provide any nutritional information—and distrustful of any sort of dressing. Seriously, 450+ calories in a salad dressing? That's ridiculous. But beyond dressing, it goes to prove that calories aren't everything. Healthy fats and proteins like avocado, black beans, nuts, and olive oil may hold a higher number, but it will still benefit your health more than a greasy fast food burger.