Here's Why This Burger King Salad Is So Concerning

We're going to go out on a limb here and speculate that if you're ordering a salad at Burger King, you're not doing it because you're desperately craving cold lettuce topped with chewy meat but because you're trying to eat healthy. This is no small feat at a fast food restaurant, where the tempting scent of fries sizzling in oil assaults your senses as soon as you crank open that window at the drive-thru. Unfortunately, calling a meal a "salad" does not actually make it nutritious, pointed out Sue Heikkinen, head registered dietitian for the calorie and nutrition tracking app, MyNetDiary.

In fact, in an interview with Mashed, Heikkinen explained why the Burger King Crispy Chicken Garden Salad is actually more of a calorie bomb than their Whopper. "This 870-calorie salad will eat into your calorie budget more than a Whopper," which has 657 calories, she explained, adding: "And a salad with 71 grams of fat in is a far cry from a light meal option." If you don't happen to have a calorie tracking app on your phone, you can look at the name of the entrée to try to deduce whether it's healthy. "'Crispy' in this salad name refers to the battered and fried chicken, not the veggies," Heikkinen explained.

Here's what to order instead of the Burger King Crispy Chicken Garden Salad

You were on the right track, seeking a salad with chicken, but that bird needs to be grilled, not fried. "Sadly, Burger King no longer offers a grilled chicken alternative," Heikkinen pointed out. You can use MyNetDiary or another calorie tracking app to hunt down a better option — and you might be surprised to discover that a burger is a better bet for dieters than a salad. "You would save more than 300 calories by ordering a hamburger, [which is] 241 calories, and the side salad," which has 322 calories, Heikkinen said. There's also no obligation that you clean your plate, she noted. "Only eat half the hamburger bun or dressing and you shave off even more calories," Heikkinen advised.

But what if you really do crave that Burger King salad, kind of the way the rest of us might want fries or chocolate chip cookies? Well, you can eat it, according to Heikkinen. "If you truly love the Crispy Chicken Salad, you can find a way to fit it in your eating plan," she said. That might mean an extra workout or going really light at dinner. Still, Heikkinen was skeptical that anyone would want to go to such lengths for a Burger King salad, of all things. "But chances are you decide it simply isn't worth the calories," she said.