The 5 Worst Fast Food Salads You Can Eat

When someone considers ordering a salad, it’s usually because they’re looking for a healthier option. However, it’s certainly possible for a salad to lack nutritional value. Some salads just don’t deliver the powerful nutrients you’d expect to come on a bed of lettuce. And this is even more true at fast food joints.

Just think about bacon, ranch, crispy (aka fried) chicken … yum. While your mouth may start salivating at the very thought of all these ingredients tossed into one tasty meal, you probably wouldn’t choose such foods if they weren’t accompanied with a few veggies. And if fast food chains know how to do one thing right, it’s add flavor with unhealthy ingredients. While some fast food salads may be better than their obviously unhealthy menu counterparts, you’d be surprised at how bad some of them can be. Here are five of the worst fast food salads.

1. Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad from McDonald’s

Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad from McDonald's

This salad from McDonald’s couldn’t get any worse. | iStock.com

Paula Dean’s notoriously fatty meals probably come to mind when you hear the word “buttermilk,” but that ingredient is the least of your worries. The deep-fried, crispy chicken is the real red flag. If you’ve not yet been tipped off by the name of this salad, we’re here to share with you why you shouldn’t go for the McDonald’s Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad. Crispy chicken, tortilla strips, and heavy dressing all come together to deliver 520 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 46 grams of carbohydrates. Just say no.

2. Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad from Wendy’s

Caesar salad with chicken in a bowl

This Wendy’s salad is loaded with calories and fat. | iStock.com

When Wendy’s first introduced the spicy version of their signature chicken nuggets, the world rejoiced at the fiery ingenuity of the beloved fast food. And for anyone looking to class it up, the spicy chicken is also available in the health-conscious version of a salad! But, before you get too excited, just know you’re still better off, at least calorie-wise, with the chicken nuggets. A 10-piece order comes in at 410 calories, which is far less than that of an entire Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad. This meal, which combines the spicy chicken with a three-cheese blend and Caesar dressing, rings in at 720 calories, 43 grams of fat, and 1,760 milligrams of sodium.

3. Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken Salad from Burger King

Fast food salads ready to be served

Run far away from this Burger King salad. | iStock.com

Bacon is one of the country’s most beloved ingredients. Atop iceberg lettuce, it has to be healthy, right? When you consider there’s also cheddar cheese and crispy chicken in the Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken Salad, though, it’s easy to see this isn’t the case. Once you add the ranch dressing, it contains 720 calories, 50 grams of fat, and 1,960 milligrams of sodium. Yikes!

4. Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken from Panera Bread

Salad in a bowl with apples and chicken

This Panera salad seems healthy, but it’s really not. | iStock.com

While Panera might seem like a better option than most other fast food places, there are still items on the menu you should steer clear of. As one of the prized possessions on their extensive salad menu, the Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken is also the highest in calories. While their promise of fresh ingredients is certainly more tempting than that of say, McDonald’s, this salad still has 570 calories and 34 grams of fat.

5. Chicken & Bacon Ranch Salad from Subway

Greens with creamy dressing, croutons, and cheese

Subway’s sandwiches may be healthier than some of their salads. | iStock.com

While most people flock to this lunchtime sandwich staple for, well, sandwiches, Subway’s menu does offer some tasty salads as well. But, as we’re seeing, not all salads are created equal. The one that tops the unhealthy list at this fast food chain? The Chicken & Bacon Ranch Salad. At 540 calories, 40 grams of fat, and 1,290 milligrams of sodium, you’re better off sticking with a low-cal sandwich.

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