Unhealthiest fast food salads

Want to know a secret? Even though you think you may be eating healthy by ordering a salad, odds are you aren’t, especially if that salad comes from a fast-food restaurant. Here are the 10 unhealthiest fast food salads in America.

Because salads look healthy, with their overflowing bounty of lettuce and julienned carrots, we tend to believe that they are healthy. Unfortunately, just because it doesn’t look like chicken-fried steak, that doesn’t mean it doesn't have nearly as many calories as one. Sure, if you chop up a bunch of fresh vegetables and toss them with some balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil, you’ll end up with one of the healthiest meals on earth, but unfortunately that’s not the state of the modern fast-food salad.

If you’re looking to eat a healthy salad (anywhere, but especially at fast-food restaurants), there are a couple things you should avoid. Cheese, for one, is a quick and easy way to boost the fat and calorie count of anything it’s added to, as are things like fried chicken and bacon. Also, pay special attention to salad dressings. Obviously, a big glug of ranch dressing is one of the world’s worst diet-killers, but even fat-free dressing is loaded with chemicals and sugar. If oil and vinegar is an option, always go for that; it might seem a little odd to bring your own homemade dressing to Burger King, but it’s better than what they’re offering.

In order to round up the unhealthiest fast food salads, we looked at the nutritional information websites of leading fast food chains and did the math. And math definitely needed to be done, because most of them list salads and dressings separately. In these cases, we went with the unhealthiest dressing they offered, which was usually ranch (If given the option, don’t go with ranch!). So read on to learn which fast food salads are the unhealthiest by fat and calories — but do remember: even though their calorie counts may be high, they’re still better for you than cheeseburgers. Our list runs from "best" to worst.

1. Panera Bread: Chicken cobb with avocado (with Greek/herb vinaigrette)

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Fat: 72 grams
Calories: 870
Sodium: 1,050 milligrams
Cholesterol: 275 milligrams

2. Wendy’s: Spicy chicken caesar salad (with caesar dressing)

Healthy Green Organic Caesar Salad with Cheese and Croutons

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Fat: 38 grams
Calories: 780
Sodium: 1590 milligrams
Cholesterol: 115 milligrams

3. Jack in the Box: Chicken club salad with crispy chicken strips (with ranch dressing)

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Fat: 53 grams
Calories: 760
Sodium: 1,630 milligrams
Cholesterol: 120 milligrams

4. Burger King: Chicken apple & cranberry garden fresh salad with tendercrisp and dressing

plate of fresh colorfull spinach salad close up

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Fat: 42 grams
Calories: 680
Sodium: 1010 milligrams
Cholesterol: 95 milligrams

5. Steak ‘n Shake: Southwest grilled chicken (with ranch dressing)

SONY DSC

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Fat: 42 grams
Calories: 640
Sodium: 1,040 milligrams
Cholesterol: 120 milligram

See what other fast food salads are more unhealthy than they seem.

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