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20 salads worse than a Whopper

Lizard King

Lizard King

Staff Member
Sep 9, 2010
Had to send this to my wife who thinks the salads she eats are sooo good for her, lol

I love Whoppers. I bet you do, too. Meat...good. Ketchup and mayo...good. Crunchy pickles...good. What's not to like?

I know what you're thinking: Dave, how could you of all people endorse the Whopper, a sandwich that perfectly encapsulates everything that's wrong with our nation's dining habits? Well, no one orders a Whopper thinking it's a sensible menu choice. It's an indulgence, an anti-diet food, and everyone knows it. Credit Burger King for being transparent with nutritional information.

Which brings me to my point: 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. What they haven't learned, though, is how to make actual nutritious food. Here we've rounded up 20 examples of salads so bad, you'd be better off ordering that Whopper after all.

Eat This!
Burger King Whopper
670 calories
40 g fat (11 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
1,020 mg sodium

Not That...

Romano's Macaroni Grill
Chicken Caesar Salad
650 calories
9 g saturated fat
1,450 mg sodium

The good news here is that this dish has almost 300 fewer calories than it did when we published our first edition of Eat This, Not That! 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 this dish still has a ways to go before we're ready to deem it a reasonable choice. To be fair, it has 20 fewer calories than a Whopper. But the problem with this dish is in the sodium count—it comes with nearly three-quarters of your daily recommended intake. Not good.

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Cobb Salad
708 calories
55 g fat (12 g saturated)
1,328 mg sodium

Blame the bacon and Gorgonzola cheese for the hefty weight of this simple salad. The good news here is that it comes with 65 grams of belly-filling protein. The shocking news is that it also comes with 28 grams of sugars—that's about three doughnuts' worth. For the culprit there, look to the sauce: A sherry shallot vinaigrette. Now here's the scary thing about this salad: Cosi boasts on its website that they feature it on the "Our Lighter Side menu." That's strange, considering it's the worst salad they offer! For a much smarter, TRULY lighter side, opt for the Shanghai Chicken Salad, and save nearly 400 calories.

Eat This Instead!
Shangai Chicken Salad
313 calories
13 g fat (2 g saturated)
839 mg sodium

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.

Eat This Instead!
Barbacoa Burrito Bowl with black beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomato salsa
410 calories
17 g fat (8 g saturated)
1,410 mg sodium

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.

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Eat This Instead!
Spinach Stir-Fried with Garlic (large)
136 calories
6 g fat (1 g saturated)
895 mg sodium

BLT Cobb Salad with Croutons and Classic Ranch Dressing
760 calories
51 g fat
2,090 mg sodium

Don't be totally shocked by this high calorie count—this salad is sporting two of the biggest culprits when it comes to diet-busting greenery. First, check the classic Ranch dressing. Any creamy dressing is going to be high in fat and calories. Replace it with vinaigrette and save big. Next, ditch the croutons, which are really just an extra load of totally empty calories and carbs.

Eat This Instead!
Apple Pecan Chicken Salad with Roasted Pecans and Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing
580 calories
27 g fat (9 g saturated)
1,590 mg sodium
Lizard King

Lizard King

Staff Member
Sep 9, 2010
Jack in the Box
Crispy Chicken Club Salad with Croutons and Ranch Dressing
873 calories
59 g fat (13 g saturated, 1 g trans)
2,179 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 better off sticking with the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl. That might come as a surprise, considering that branching off into other cultures' cuisines tends to produce dangerous results in the world of fast food, but jack's Japanese-inspired dish manages to buck the trend. While it packs 40 calories more than the than a Big Mac, it's also one of the few menu items to avoid a perilous load of trans fat.

Eat This Instead!
Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
580 calories
5 g fat (1 g saturated)
1,460 mg sodium

Taco Bell
Chipotle Steak Fully Loaded Salad
900 calories
57 g fat (11 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
1,700 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.

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Eat This Instead!
Fresco Crunchy Beef Tacos
450 calories
21 g fat (7.5 g saturated)
750 mg sodium

El Pollo Loco
Chicken Tostada Salad with Light Creamy Cilantro Dressing
910 calories
47 g fat (13 g saturated)
1,710 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.

Eat This Instead!
Chicken Caesar Bowl
490 calories
22 g fat (4.5 g saturated)
1,200 mg sodium

Chicken Caesar Flatbread Salad (with bread)
920 calories
66.5 g fat (20.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)
2,090 mg sodium

Yet another example of a Caesar salad that's a mighty dietary disaster. Beware all "regular" sized salads at Quizno's—the sandwich shop is home to one of the worst sandwiches in America because it has no concept of honest portion control. When a "regular" salad accounts for half of your day's calories and almost an entire day's worth of sodium, that's a sign that you're out of touch with reality.

Eat This Instead!
Raspberry Chipotle Chicken Salad (small)
350 calories
13 g fat (6.5 g saturated)
795 mg sodium

Einstein Bros.
Bros Bistro Salad with Chicken
940 calories
71 g fat (12 g saturated)
810 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.

Eat This Instead!
Deli Chicken Sandwich on Onion Bagel with Swiss
485 calories
14.5 g fat (6 g saturated)
1,115 mg sodium
Lizard King

Lizard King

Staff Member
Sep 9, 2010
Grilled Shrimp and Spinach Salad
1,050 calories
11 g saturated fat
2,530 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. If a field of greens is calling your name, limit yourself to a half order, or choose the Weight Watchers Grilled Chili-Lime Chicken Salad—it's the only salad with fewer than 700 calories.

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Eat This Instead!
Steak and Grilled Shrimp
390 calories
6 g saturated fat
1,890 mg sodium

California Pizza Kitchen
Field Greens Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese
1,098 calories
18 g saturated fat
1,185 mg sodium

Scary truth about the CPK salad menu: Order the "full size" of any of these leafy dishes, and you're bound to consume more calories than if you were to have ordered one or two—and sometimes even three—slices of cheese pizza. This utterly harmless sounding Field Greens salad will have a field day adding inches to your waistline.

Eat This Instead!
Half Moroccan Chicken Salad
412 calories
4 g saturated fat
309 mg sodium

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.

Eat This Instead!
Classic Caesar Salad with Shrimp
649 calories
14 g Saturated fat
1,338 mg sodium

Oriental Chicken Salad
1,310 calories
15 g fat
88 g carbohydrates

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?

Eat This Instead!
Paradise Chicken Salad
340 calories
4.5 g fat (1 g saturated)
2,060 mg sodium

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.

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Eat This Instead!
Dragonfire Chicken
480 calories
Lizard King

Lizard King

Staff Member
Sep 9, 2010
California Pizza Kitchen
Thai Crunch Salad with Fresh Avocado
1,399 calories
10 g saturated fat
1,712 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.

Eat This Instead!
Half Moroccan Chicken Salad
412 calories
4 g saturated fat
309 mg sodium

California Pizza Kitchen
Waldorf Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
1,570 calories
30 g saturated fat
2,082 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 Moroccan Chicken Salad instead—just be aware that it's also the size of a solid sandwich, and consider it your main meal, not a starter dish.

Eat This Instead!
Half Moroccan Chicken Salad
412 calories
4 g saturated fat
309 mg sodium

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.

Eat This Instead!
Grilled Chicken Tacos
779 calories
26 g fat (7 g saturated)
2,101 mg sodium

On the Border
Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef and Chipotle Honey Mustard
1,690 calories
124 g fat (38 g saturated)
2,570 mg sodium

The dismal dawn of the 1,690-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.

Eat This Instead!
House Salad with Fat-Free Mango Citrus Vinaigrette
255 calories
12 g fat (3.5 g saturated)
280 mg sodium

Santa Fe Chopped Salad
1,800 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.

Eat This Instead!
Cobb Salad
590 calories
Get Some

Get Some

Sep 9, 2010
fuckin salads! If you really want one just eat straight romaine lettuce! Seriously, some nice foliage for you herbivores


Senior Moderators
Staff Member
Sep 16, 2010
This is out there because there are to many stupid people walking the planet that don't think about food and what it comes with, Yeah I"ll take the Super Sized Fry, Triple Delux burger, 3 apple pies, and a Diet coke


Crusty Poo Butt
Sep 21, 2010
#21: Jeton's Tossed Salad
= zero nutritional value

I'd take plain romaine or spring greens with vinaigrette anyday...definitely very little or no fat there

This is out there because there are to many stupid people walking the planet that don't think about food and what it comes with, Yeah I"ll take the Super Sized Fry, Triple Delux burger, 3 apple pies, and a Diet coke
Eww reading that just gave me heartburn :eek:

Some people have no clue as to what they are eating
Last edited by a moderator:


VIP Member
Sep 14, 2010
See, this is why I don't eat salads. They're bad for you..



VIP Strength Advisor
Sep 15, 2010
LOL well now I know why Ive never eaten a salad I thought cause they dont taste good didnt know all this other things thanks for posting