You’re out to dinner with friends or family and you’re trying to eat healthy so you order a salad. However in some cases, the salad you just ordered is one of the most unhealthy things on the menu. Here are 9 of the worst restaurant salads ranked in order from highest to lowest calories.
9. Burger King Bacon Cheddar Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken
You’re at the Burger King drive-thru and try to make a healthier decision by ordering a salad. This salad actually has more calories that a Whopper (without toppings). Your “healthy” decision comes back to bite you with 720 calories, 50 grams of fat (13 grams saturated), 1960mg of sodium, 32 grams of carbs, 7 grams of sugar, and 36 grams of protein. While not as high in calories as the other salads on this list, this salad is still very high in fat and has almost a day’s worth of sodium.
8. Friendly’s Crispy Honey BBQ Chicken Salad
This salad is basically an excuse for adults to eat chicken tenders and tortilla chips. Add mixed cheeses and ranch dressing to those two ingredients and you’ve got yourself 1043 calories, 68 grams of fat (15 grams saturated), 82 grams of carbs, 2269mg of sodium, 32 grams of sugar, and 30 grams of protein. That’s a full day’s worth of sodium, and about 1.5 days worth of sugar.
7. TGI Friday’s Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad
This salad is marked as a favorite on the TGI Friday’s menu, and boasts healthy ingredients like kale, mixed greens, and mandarin oranges. However the blue cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, pecans, and dressing put this salad up to 1080 calories, 71 grams of fat (16 grams saturated), 76 grams of carbs, 1650mg of sodium, and 39 grams of protein. This one didn’t include the amount of sugar, but the dried cranberries alone contain 29 grams of sugar.
6. Buffalo Wild Wings Mediterranean Salad with Lemon Pepper Chicken
I’m sure you’ve heard how the Mediterranean diet is very healthy and a good way to eat. So this salad must be good for you, right? Not so much. At 1110 calories, 74 grams of fat (18 grams saturated), 4230mg of sodium, 70 grams of carbs, 23 grams of sugar, and 52 grams of protein, you’re better off getting a small order of their buffalo wings. And yes you read that correctly, 4230mg of sodium, which is just about double the recommended daily amount.
5. IHOP Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad
First of all, why are you ordering a salad at the International House of Pancakes? Order a stack of chocolate chip pancakes! Anyway, this salad packs 1230 calories, 93 grams of fat (27 grams saturated and 1.5 trans), 2750 grams of sodium, 38 grams of carb, 7 grams of sugar, and 59 grams of protein. If you eat trans fat, they should be limited to 1% of your daily intake. For a 2000 calories a day diet, that means 2 grams of trans fat, which is just about what this salad contains.
4. Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad
I’m not sure what kind of “Fresh Asian greens” have 1420 calories, 99 grams of fat (15 grams saturated and 1 gram trans), 1530mg of sodium, 96 grams of carbs, 39 grams of protein, and 42 grams of sugar. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather eat real Chinese food with less calories and fat than this salad.
3. Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad
At 1430 calories, 96 grams of fat (28 grams saturated and 0.5 grams trans), 84 grams of carbs, 2420mg of sodium, 64 grams of protein, and 18 grams of sugar, this salad is about the same as an actual quesadilla. Don’t let the healthy-sounding description of this salad fool you, it’s one of the worst ones you can order.
2. California Pizza Kitchen Moroccan Spiced Chicken Salad
If Morocco actually saw the nutrition status of this salad, they would be appalled. It has 1500 calories, 99 grams of fat (10 of which are saturated), 1380mg of sodium, 128 grams of carbs, 43 grams of protein, and 80 grams of sugar. The recommended daily intake of added sugars for women is 20-25 grams, meaning this salad has 4 days worth of added sugar. No, thank you.
1. Cheesecake Factory Chicken Caesar Salad (Dinner Portion)
This salad packs a whopping 1510 calories, 16 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs, and 1450mg of sodium. This is about 2/3 of your daily recommended sodium intake and 3/4 of your daily calories. In comparison, their Factory Burger is 740 calories and has 18 grams of fat. If I were you, I would definitely pick the burger over this salad. I mean who wants to waste 75% of their calories on a caesar salad? Not me.
The next time you look at the salads section on a menu at a restaurant, don’t fall into the trap of thinking they’re all healthy. Check out the description and if it includes fried ingredients, cheese, creamy dressings, or tortilla or wonton strips, its nutrition facts will just about measure up to the salads on this list.