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Posted on 28th March, by Aaron Shelley in Articles. Comments Off


Many people love Whoppers. We bet  some of you do, too. Meat, ketchup, mayo, pickles . . . what’s not to like?

 How could we endorse the Whopper? Well, no one orders it thinking it’s a sensible menu choice. It’s an indulgence, and everyone knows it. Credit Burger King for being transparent with nutritional information.

Just as you wouldn’t order a Whopper because you’re trying to watch your waistline, you’d never order a salad because it sounds like the most delicious item on the menu. No, it’s a concerted effort put one of the healthiest foods on the menu into your body, flavor be damned.

Except, more often than you realize, that salad is the worst choice on the menu. Restaurants across the country have learned that “nutrition” sells, so they put these caloric calamities on the “light choice” side of the menu with cute little heart icons that make you think you’re making a healthy selection. We’ve rounded up 17 examples of salads so bad, you’d be better off ordering that Whopper after all.

20. At Cosi: Cobb Salad


713 calories, 55 g fat (12 g saturated), 1,331 mg sodium


Learn to Lighten Up! On sandwiches and salads that include Cosi Vinaigrette, this little phrase will switch you to fat-free vinaigrette. Easiest 300-calorie savings ever. Ordering salad out is risky business, but this Shanghai standby offers plenty of lean protein and fresh vegetables without the normal salad pitfalls.


Shanghai Chicken Salad


319 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated), 856 mg sodium



19. At Romano’s Macaroni Grill: Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Salad


880 calories, 16 g saturated fat, 1,650 mg sodium

Romano’s has been one of the most responsive restaurants in the past few years—a number of items we’ve featured on our pages and online have shrunk or all but disappeared in the wake of such exposure. The bad news is that dishes like this one still exist on their menu.


Scallops and Spinach Salad


340 calories, 6 g saturated fat, 820 mg sodium



18. At Chipotle Mexican Grill: Chicken Salad with black beans, red salsa, cheese, and chipotle honey vinaigrette


720 calories, 41.0 g fat (11 g saturated), 2,015 mg sodium


If you’re seeking solace in salads at Chipotle, be sure to pass on the one and only vinaigrette on the menu. With 260 calories and 25 grams of fat, it has three times more calories than the most caloric salsa at Chipotle. Your best bet is to turn the tangy green salsa (just 15 calories per serving) into your dressing and spend the 245 calories you save elsewhere.


Barbacoa Burrito Bowl with black beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomato salsa


415 calories, 17 g fat (8 g saturated), 1,410 mg sodium



17. At P.F. Chang’s: Chicken Chopped Salad with Ginger Dressing


730 calories, 48 g fat (8 g saturated), 1,280 mg sodium


The ginger dressing gives this salad a tangy Asian-style kick; it also packs in a whole day’s worth of sodium. Order this salad as a starter and you’ll be consuming the caloric equivalent of nearly three Snickers bars before your main meal even hits the table.



Spinach Stir-Fried with Garlic (large)


159 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated), 900 mg sodium



16. At Jack in the Box: Crispy Chicken Club Salad with Croutons and Ranch Dressing


870 calories, 59 g fat (13 g saturated, 1 g trans), 1,710 mg sodium


The 2 ounces of ranch that top this salad contribute a third of the calories and half the fat. Switching to light ranch saves you 150 calories, but even if you eat your salad completely dressing-free, you’re far better off sticking with the Chicken Fajita Pita.


Chicken Fajita Pita with Fire Roasted Salsa


326 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated), 987 mg sodium



15. At Taco Bell: Fiesta Taco Salad


770 calories, 42 g fat (10 g saturated, 1 g trans), 1,420 mg sodium


Deep-frying an oversize tortilla and using it as a salad bowl completely defeats the purpose of ordering a salad in the first place. No matter what you stick in it, it’s still going to be burdened with a dangerous load of greasy fat. Opt for the hard-shell taco instead. It’s still the best option on the menu after all these years, especially now that it’s available Fresco-style.


Fresco Crunchy Beef Tacos


450 calories, 21 g fat (7.5 g saturated), 750 mg sodium



14. At El Pollo Loco: Chicken Tostada Salad with Light Creamy Cilantro Dressing


932 calories, 48 g fat (14 g saturated), 1,829 mg sodium


The dressing may be light, but this bowl is anything but. Rice and fried tortilla combine for a one-two punch of empty carbs, while the shredded cheese and sour cream lend these leaves more saturated fat than a dozen strips of bacon. Opt for the surprisingly healthy Chicken Caesar Bowl instead. This Itali-Mex hybrid bowl makes significant improvements on the standard Caesar that so routinely underdelivers. Plenty of fresh grilled chicken adds a big dose of protein, and the hulking scoop of salsa ensures that the lettuce isn’t mere token greenery.



Chicken Caesar Bowl with Light Creamy Cilantro Dressing


302 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated), 917 mg sodium



13. At Einstein Bros.: Bros Bistro Salad with Chicken


1,360 calories, 115 g fat (19 g saturated; 1 g trans), 2,040 mg sodium


We’re as perplexed as you are. How a salad that contains chicken manages to have twice as many calories as a chicken sandwich is a nutritional puzzle that only Einstein himself could solve. One of the few strategies that holds true across the spectrum of restaurants: You’re always better off playing the chef. Here, that means tossing aside their high-calorie sandwich creations and crafting your own. We use lean grilled chicken, plenty of fixings, and even a bagel and still come in under 500 calories.



Deli Chicken Sandwich on Onion Bagel with Swiss


470 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated), 1,105 mg sodium



12. At Applebee’s: Grilled Shrimp and Spinach Salad


1,010 calories, 69 g fat (12 g saturated), 2,650 mg sodium


Half of the salads on Applebee’s menu break the 1,000-calorie barrier, making them just as dubious as any other menu item. Slash calories by switching over to the Grilled Shrimp & Island Rice entree on the Under 550 Calorie menu, any of which are superior to a salad.


Grilled Shrimp and Island Rice


370 calories, 4.5 g fat (1 g saturated), 1,990 mg sodium



11. At California Pizza Kitchen: BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad


1,133 calories, 16 g saturated fat, 1,460 mg sodium


You know something’s amiss when the salad packs more than twice as many calories as the pizza. California Pizza Kitchen’s menu is a minefield of viscous calorie bombs, and if you try to venture far from the beaten path, you’ll likely find yourself with a barrage of clandestine calories clambering for real estate in—and on­—your belly.


Classic Caesar Salad with Shrimp


649 calories, 15 g Saturated fat, 1,338 mg sodium



10. At Applebee’s: Oriental Chicken Salad


1,340 calories, 98 g fat (15 g saturated; 1.5 g trans), 1,200 mg sodium


Why is this salad so hefty? Part of the blame goes to the “tasty Oriental vinaigrette,” for sure (the secret is always, at least partially, in the sauce). Another reason: It’s topped with “crispy noodles” (carbohydrate overload). And to complete the triumvirate of dietary doom: Fried chicken to boot. What exactly makes this a “salad” again?


Paradise Chicken Salad


340 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 2,060 mg sodium



9. At T.G.I. Friday’s: Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad


1,360 calories


In chain-restaurant parlance, “crusted” is a euphemism for “fried.” Add sugar-coated pecans, sugar-coated cranberries, and a heap of blue cheese, and you have all the makings of one of America’s worst salads. Go for the Dragonfire Chicken, instead. Along with Shrimp Key and the Cobb Salad, this is the only legitimately the health entrée available at Friday’s. The next best chicken-based entrée, the Chicken Parmesan Sliders, packs 790 calories before sides.


Dragonfire Chicken


420 calories



8. At California Pizza Kitchen: Thai Crunch Salad with Fresh Avocado & Additional Thai Peanut Dressing


1,408 calories, 10 g saturated fat, 1,064 mg sodium


Shredded carrots, edamame, cabbage, fresh avocado: The menu reads like an Intro to Nutrition class at the local junior college. If that’s the case, CPK is flunking out of school, since this seemingly harmless salad will saddle you with more calories than a pound and a half of sirloin from Applebee’s. Blame the two different dressings, the shower of fried wonton strips, and the sewer-cap size plate.


Half Chinese Chicken Salad


376 calories, 0 g saturated fat, 1,254 mg sodium



7. At California Pizza Kitchen: Waldorf Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing


1,561 calories, 31 g saturated fat, 1,821 mg sodium, ,


CPK’s salad menu is littered with gigantic gut-bombs like this one. There’s no reason that this salad should saddle you with three-quarters of your daily allotment of calories. According to the CPK website, it contains: “Field greens, chilled-grilled chicken breast, seedless grapes, Granny Smith apples, candied walnuts, celery and Gorgonzola cheese.” When mixed together in reasonable proportions, there’s nothing inherently wrong with these ingredients—in fact, most of them are good for you. It’s just that CPK jumbo sizes their menu items. Choose the half-size of the Roasted Vegetable Salad instead and consider it your main meal, not a starter dish.


Half Roasted Vegetable Salad


297 calories, 3 g saturated fat, 396 mg sodium



6. At Chevy’s Fresh Mex: Tostada Salad with Chicken


1,547 calories, 94 g fat (37 g saturated), 2,213 mg sodium


Containing nearly a day’s worth of calories and as much fat as 19 Twinkies, this bowl of leaves qualifies as one of the worst salads in America. (Only On the Border’s Grande Taco Salad and T.G.I. Friday’s San Fe Chopped Salad are worse). Opt for the Grilled Chicken Tacos instead. Though it is not a healthy food, they are the lesser evil. Drop the cheese and the chipotle aioli and you’ll skim off another 130 calories and 13 grams of fat.



Grilled Chicken Tacos


590 calories, 24 g fat (6 g saturated), 1,140 mg sodium



5. At On the Border: Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef and Chipotle Honey Mustard


1,600 calories, 116 g fat (39 g saturated), 2,640 mg sodium


The dismal dawn of the 1,600-calorie salad is upon us. With as much saturated fat as 38 strips of bacon and more calories than 11 Taco bell Frsco Beef Tacos, this abdomen expander ought to be the Worst Salad in America (at one point, it was). Here’s the worse news: It’s only number two.



House Salad with Fat-Free Mango Citrus Vinaigrette


280 calories, 12 g fat (4 g saturated), 405 mg sodium



4. At T.G.I. Friday’s: Santa Fe Chopped Salad


1,830 calories


This is the absolute worst salad in America. Point is, if you’re going to eat a bowl of leaves at Friday’s, better stick to the Cobb or Mediterranean; anything else will push you near or beyond 1,000 calories. But a word of warning: Even the Cobb Salad, our “Eat This” choice, is still worse than a Big Mac.



Cobb Salad


590 calories


More from Men’s Health

3. At Chili’s: Quesadilla Explosion Salad


1,400 calories, 89 g fat (28 g saturated), 2,360 mg sodium


Chili’s highest-calorie salad will supply you with 1.5 days’ worth of fat, thanks in no small part to its “garnish”—an order of cheese quesadillas! While the Caribbean Salad with Grilled Chicken does have a concerning 25 grams of fat, it’s the least scathing salad on the menu.


Caribbean Salad with Grilled Chicken


610 calories, 25 g fat (4 g saturated), 800 mg sodium



2. At Panera: Full Steak & Blue Cheese Chopped Salad


850 calories, 64 g fat (21 g saturated; 1.5 g trans), 1,590 mg sodium


The real culprit in this salad is the double impact of gorgonzola crumbles paired with blue cheese vinaigrette; the combo accounts for nearly half the total calories and is solely responsible for the trans fat content. Luckily, Panera redeems itself with the antioxidant-packed Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad.


Full Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad


340 calories, 13 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 360 mg sodium



1. At Cheesecake Factory: Santa Fe Salad


1,720 calories, 17 g saturated fat, 2,636 mg sodium


Truth be told, nearly every Cheesecake Factory salad dwarfs a Whopper (or two, or even three). The exception is the Weight Management salad menu, which provides rare decent options.


Weight Management Spicy Chicken Salad


440 calories, 1 g saturated fat, 771 mg sodium


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