Fast Food Salads That Are Extremely Unhealthy

Fast food has a reputation for being unhealthy. From the over-sized burgers and soft drinks to fries, fried chicken, and more, most people understand that it's probably not the healthiest thing they can eat. Some people, in an effort to opt for a healthier option, order a salad at fast food restaurants — but some fast food salads are just as bad (or worse!) than the other items on the menu. If you're ordering a fast food salad in an effort to be healthy, you need to know that not all salads are what they appear. These are the worst offenders. 

Chicken club salad from Burger King

Fast food salads used to be made of mostly iceberg lettuce, but that's not the case anymore. Take the Chicken Club Salad from Burger King. The base of the salad is a mix of green leaf lettuce, romaine, and radicchio, but even that isn't enough to offset the rest. This salad comes in at over 600 calories, 41 grams of fat, and 1660 milligrams of sodium. That's more than half of the amount of sodium you're supposed to eat in an entire day.

Taco salad from Wendy's

It might not surprise you that taco salads often aren't actually the healthiest thing on the menu, even though they are a salad. The taco salad from Wendy's is no different. The full portion of the salad is 660 calories, which is more than a Dave's Single or a Son of a Baconator, both of which you'd probably think would be a far poorer choice. Additionally, the full Taco Salad contains 1820 milligrams of sodium, way more than you need from any one meal and well on your way to the maximum that you should eat in a day.

Southwest chile lime ranch salad with chicken from Panera

Fast casual staple Panera is often touted by diners as a healthier option, but you can find unhealthy salads on its menu as well. The full portion of the popular chain's Southwest chile lime ranch salad with chicken clocks in at 650 calories. The salad also contains 1270 milligrams of sodium and 34 grams of fat. To be fair, some of that fat comes from the avocado, but still, combined with the high sodium and calorie counts, it's not the healthiest choice.

Chicken club salad with crispy chicken strips with ranch dressing from Jack in the Box

The Chicken club salad on it's own, with grilled chicken and without croutons or creamy ranch dressing isn't too bad of a choice, but when you sub crispy chicken for the grilled strips and add croutons and ranch dressing, well, the salad becomes very unhealthy very quickly. With all the add-ons, this salad comes to over 800 calories, way too much for a supposedly healthy meal.

Bacon ranch salad with buttermilk crispy chicken from McDonald's

McDonald's has long had a reputation for being unhealthy, like most other fast food chains, but the food isn't always as caloric as you might expect. The bacon ranch salad with buttermilk crispy chicken is fewer than 500 calories, for instance, and the bed of greens is an impressive mix of baby kale, romaine, red leaf lettuce, and baby spinach, plus carrot ribbons and grape tomatoes. But when you add on all the toppings, namely, bacon, cheese, buttermilk fried chicken, and ranch dressing, things take a bit of a turn, nutritionally-speaking. At over 1100 milligrams of sodium and about half of the calories being calories from fat, it's still probably not the best dietary choice you'll make during the day.

Cobb salad from Chick-fil-A

While the Cobb salad from Chick-fil-A is, compared to other fast food salads, relatively low in calories at 510, the dish is extra-unhealthy in other ways. It contains 1360 milligrams of sodium, which is more than half of the amount of sodium you're supposed to eat in a whole day. And that's just from your supposedly healthy salad.

Fried Cobb Zalad from Zaxby's

Zaxby's has several salads, which the chain call "zalads," on the menu, each of which you can order in a variety of ways. If you order The Fried Cobb Zalad, and otherwise order it with everything on it, your salad will come in at about 700 calories. While you might not be under any delusions that a salad with fried chicken, bacon, cheese, fried onions, and Texas toast would be really healthy, it's still a somewhat shocking amount of calories in a salad — and definitely more than you need in one meal.

Fiesta taco salad from Taco Bell

No matter which Fiesta taco salad you order at Taco Bell—the beef, chicken, or steak—it will be over 700 calories. The worst offender is the beef Fiesta taco salad, which is 760 calories. Between the meat, cheese, sour cream, and edible shell, it might not be shocking that it's heavy on the calories, but still, nearly 800 calories for a salad is an awful lot (and nearly half of the number of calories you need for an entire day). No one needs that.

Cosi Cobb from Così

As I'm sure you're starting to gather, Cobb salads often aren't the smart choice you thought they were. The Cosi Cobb from Così fits in with its Cobb counterparts from other restaurants. Between the bacon, Gorgonzola cheese, and egg, there are lots of places for calories, fat, and sodium to hide. The Cosi Cobb comes in at 739 calories, over 100 calories more than any of the other salads on their menu, and over 500 of those calories are from fat. The salad also contains 1316 milligrams of sodium. Yikes.

Chicken bacon avocado salad from Del Taco

The chicken bacon avocado salad from Del Taco is 590 calories, which may sound good, but 410 of those calories come from fat. You do have to take the avocado into account — not all of the fat is saturated fat. When paired with 1110 milligrams of sodium, it all adds up to a salad that isn't as healthy as you might think it is when you're getting ready to place your order.

Texas Po'Boy Salad at Chop't

With crispy fried chicken, cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing, it's probably not a shock that the Texas Po'Boy Salad at Chop't isn't the healthiest thing on the menu. The salad is 680 calories and contains the aforementioned ingredients, so you might want to consider another salad on the menu if you're trying to order something that's truly healthy.

Crispy Chicken Farmhouse Salad from Arby's

The may be known for meat, but Arby's does serve salads. Still, the Crispy Chicken Farmhouse Salad from Arby's isn't exactly the best you could do either. It's 430 calories, which, comparatively, is on the lower end of the spectrum for an unhealthy salad, but about half of those calories come from fat because of toppings that include bacon, cheese, and fried chicken. And while 1000 milligrams of sodium might not seem like that much, it is — so tread lightly.

Chicken and Bacon Ranch Salad from Subway

The chicken and bacon ranch salad from Subway has 540 calories, but 360 of them come from fat, which isn't great. With nearly 1300 milligrams of sodium, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, and nine grams of sugar, this salad really isn't doing you any favors, health-wise. The calories, sodium, and cholesterol in this salad are higher than they are in multiple sandwiches on the Subway menu. If you're aiming for a healthy option, this probably isn't it.

Fuji apple salad with chicken from Panera

While this salad isn't the worst choice you could make when it comes to a fast food salad, it's also far from the best. Panera Bread's Fuji apple salad with chicken has 570 Calories and 20 grams of sugars. Yes, there are apples in the salad, but still, 20 grams of sugar is probably more than you bargained for when you placed your order, especially if you chose it in an effort to make sure you were eating a healthy meal.