By David Zinczenko
Maybe many kids are screaming for fast food. Or your partner is dying to hit the local rib joint. Or your company is holding its employee appreciation lunch at Fat Joe’s House of Lard. Regardless, you’re trying to watch your weight. So what do you do when the waitress slides a greasy menu into your hands?
Easy. Just order the salad. And ifyour family and friends tease you for ordering the “wimpy” food? Well, that’s the price you pay for cutting calories, right?
Just one problem: All the discipline, self-deprivation, and scorn you suffer at the hands of your peers might be for naught. Because at many restaurants, the salad is just about the unhealthiest thing on the menu.
What? Really? Come on! Salads are made of all that leafygreen stuff, the stuff that has hardly any calories, right? Isn’t ordering the salad the equivalent of ordering a plate of air, with a side of emptiness?
That’s what restaurants would love you to believe. They like it when you order the salad, because salads are pretty inexpensive for your local burger joint to put together. You choose the green stuff; they make the green stuff. But to enticeyou to keep coming back, many chains are loading their “diet” options with crispy carbs, gummy fats, and enough oil to put BP to shame. The result: a few frail leaflets of healthy summer greens wearing a winter wardrobe of calories.
Here we’ve rounded up six examples of salads so bad, you’d probably be better off ordering that 670-calorie Whopper after all.Worst Drive-Thru Salad
Wendy's Chicken BLT Salad with Croutons and Honey Dijon Dressing
59 g fat (17 g saturated, 1 g trans)
1,665 mg sodium
(sodium equivalent: 167 like Pringles Crisps!)
Good to know: A Whopper contains 670 calories, 40 grams fat (11 g saturated, 1.5 g trans), and 1,020 milligrams sodium.
Your salad is only as healthy as its dressing.Honey mustard is the worst dressing on the menu. The best? Fat-free French. make the swap and you’ll save 170 calories. Unless labeled “fat free,” avoid creamy dressings. Another major culprit in this leafy mess? The carbohydrate-loaded, oil-soaked croutons. Always order your salads without. Now here's the real catch: You can order this one salad at Wendy's. Or you can order a single burger witheverything and a side salad, and save nearly 300 calories. Do the math on that one. An eat this, not that! Smart swap like this one every day can help you lose 15 pounds of belly fat in just six months!
Eat This Instead!
Single Old Fashioned Hamburger with Everything and Side Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
26 g fat (8 g saturated fat)
1,275 mg sodium
Bonus tip: Wendy's is one ofthe best fast-food restaurants in the United States—it serves relatively healthy sides and burgers, earning it a grade of B+ in our books and Restaurant Report Card ratings. For a list of decidedly less healthy fast-food joints, check out the restaurants that serve the 10 Worst Fast-Food Meals in America. Most of them will have you consuming more than an entire day's worth of calories in just onesitting! (Good news: Each bad choice comes with a much heathlier alternative of your favorite meal so you don't have to contemplate being on some miserable restriction diet.)
Worst Caesar Salad
Quizno's Chicken Caesar Regular Chopped Salad
66.5 g fat (20.5 g saturated)
2,090 mg sodium
(calorie equivalent: 10Good Humor Cookies and Cream ice cream bars!)
Quizno’s is home to one of the worst sandwiches in America (the tuna melt), so it’s not exactly a shock that it also offers up a salad that contains nearly half a day’s worth of calories, a full day’s worth of sodium, and the amount of saturated fat you’ll find in 20 strips of bacon. Much of Quizno's sandwich line would fall under the category of...