Whenever we try to eat better, salad becomes our go-to lunch. Nearly every fast food chain now has salad options, so its easy to find one to suit any taste.

But so many restaurant salads are major calorie bombs. In some cases, we’d be better off ordering burgers.

RELATED: Surprise — these so-called “healthy” foods aren’t good for you at all

Here are five of the worst salads on chain restaurant menus.

1. McDonald’s: Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad

By the numbers:

  • 520 calories
  • 25 grams of fat
  • 46 grams of carbohydrates

Yes, this salad has a whopping 520 calories. For comparison’s sake, a Big Mac has 540.

RELATED: These 25 restaurant and grocery store salads have more calories than a Big Mac

Fried chicken, tortilla strips and dressing are the killers here.

A better choice: Despite having bacon, the McDonald’s Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad only has 320 calories and 14 grams of fat. The Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad has 350 calories and 12 grams of fat.

2. Wendy’s: Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad

By the numbers:

  • 720 calories
  • 43 grams of fat
  • 155 milligrams of cholesterol
  • 1,760 milligrams of sodium
  • 41 grams of carbohydrates

Much like the McDonald’s salad, the fried chicken on this meal makes it an unhealthy choice, especially when paired with its shredded cheese and Caesar dressing.

A better choice: The Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad, which contains hummus and grilled chicken, has 450 calories, 15 grams of fat and a whopping 40 grams of protein. But if you really want crispy chicken, CheatSheet recommends just getting a 10-piece order of spicy nuggets. It has 410 calories — far less than the Caesar salad.

3. Burger King: Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken Salad

By the numbers:

  • 720 calories
  • 50 grams of fat
  • 120 milligrams of cholesterol
  • 1,960 milligrams of sodium
  • 32 grams of carbohydrates

RELATED: Which Burger King menu items are “whoppers” of fat, calories and sodium?

Bacon, cheese, ranch dressing — they’re all so good, yet so bad for us. Naturally, when combined, they turn this salad into a calorie bomb.

A better choice: Getting the same salad with TENDERGRILL chicken instead of TENDERCRISP lowers the calorie count to 590, although it’s still high in sodium (1,540 milligrams). Better yet, a Garden Grilled Chicken Salad with TENDERGRILL chicken and no dressing has a mere 320 calories and 14 grams of fat.

4. Panera Bread: Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken

By the numbers:

  • 570 calories
  • 34 grams of fat
  • 95 milligrams of cholesterol
  • 580 milligrams of sodium
  • 36 grams of carbohydrates

RELATED: Panera Bread’s CEO slammed McDonald’s over deceptive advertising for its new “healthier” food

It’s delicious, but it’s also one of the most caloric entrees on Panera’s famously healthy menu. It also has quite a bit of sugar (20 grams), probably thanks to the dressing and apples.

A better choice: The Seasonal Greens Salad with Chicken only has 310 calories and 13 grams of fat. But if you’re in the food for a little summertime sweetness, try the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken; it has 340 calories (although it also contains 20 grams of sugar).

5. Subway: Chicken & Bacon Ranch Salad

By the numbers:

  • 540 calories
  • 40 grams of fat
  • 100 milligrams of cholesterol
  • 1,290 milligrams of sodium
  • 13 grams of carbohydrates

RELATED: Never, ever order these 5 sandwiches at Subway

Ah, the old culprits — bacon and ranch — strike again. Those are definitely sometimes foods.

A better choice: Subway has lots of low-calorie choices! Several salads have fewer than 200 calories, including the Black Forest Ham Salad, the Carved Turkey Salad, the Cold Cut Combo Salad, the Oven Roasted Chicken Salad, the Roast Beef Salad, the Rotisserie-Style Chicken Salad, the Subway Club Salad, the Turkey Breast & Ham Salad, the Turkey Breast Salad and the Veggie Delite Salad. (But watch out for that fatty dressing!)

“Salad” does not always equal “healthy,” and here are 5 restaurant salads you should avoid at all costs PRNewsFoto
Beth Sawicki About the author:
Beth Sawicki is a content editor at Rare. Email her at
View More Articles