These calorie-bombed beds of greens are anything but diet food. (Photo: TGI Friday’s)
Salads are good for you, right? Sure, if you make them at home. Head to these fine establishments, and it’s a whole ‘nother story. These ridiculous excuses for salads are loaded with fried chicken, refined carbs and sugar, tons of cheese and nuts—and they’ve got the fat and calorie counts to prove it. If you’re trying to eat clean, avoid them at all costs.
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1. Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad
Caesar salad is known for being bad for you. And when Wendy’s says that its Spicy Chicken version is the way Caesar salad is supposed to be, you can totally take the chain’s word for it: This behemoth rolls in at 780 calories, 51 g fat, and almost a day’s worth of sodium.
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2. Cheesecake Factory Grilled Chicken Tostada Salad
How do you pack a grilled chicken salad with almost 1,200 calories, 15 g saturated fat, and more than a day’s worth of sodium? Load it up with strips of deep-fried corn, avocado cream, and sour cream.
3. Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad With Beef
Seasoned beef, white rice, cheese, beans, and a smattering of lettuce and tomato—this is Taco Bell’s definition of a salad. But at 770 calories and 41 g fat, it’s actually almost five tacos’ worth of fatty filling piled in a giant crispy shell.
4. Burger King Chicken Apple & Cranberry Garden Fresh Salad With TENDERCRISP
TENDERCRISP is Burger King-speak for the kind of fat-laden, breaded chicken fingers that you haven’t eaten since you were 12. Throw 'em in a salad, and you’ve got yourself a 680-calorie meal with 42 g fat and 7 teaspoons of sugar.
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5. TGI Friday’s Strawberry Fields Salad With Chicken
You might think fruit, chicken, goat cheese, pecans, and greens can’t be that bad for you. But this diet derailer boasts 860 calories and 58 g fat—nearly as much as half a rack of baby back ribs. Strawberry fields forever? Hopefully not.
6. Subway Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt Salad
You might be surprised to learn that a salad containing the words “bacon ranch melt” is actually only 510 calories. But it’s still got 38 g fat, half a day’s worth of sodium, and 1 g trans fat—so don’t eat it.
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7. California Pizza Kitchen Thai Crunch
This salad is more fried noodle sticks than it is vegetables (plus an insane amount of avocado), so you know it’s gonna be bad. But 1,460 calories and 97 g fat? That’s just beyond. Seriously, you could eat an entire pizza instead.
8. Applebee’s Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad
You definitely won’t be eatin’ good in the neighborhood if you order this monstrosity of pecan-crusted chicken, mandarin oranges, honey-glazed pecans, dried cranberries, blue cheese, and honey balsamic dressing. (Oh, and some lettuce.) It’s got 1,340 calories, 80 g fat, more than a day’s worth of sodium, and 16 teaspoons of sugar. In other words, an appetizer, dinner, and dessert all rolled into one.
9. Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad
The name “salad” is a little deceptive, since the greens/chicken/creamy dressing combo is actually served on a bed of cheese- and starch-laden quesadillas. (Points for creativity, though!) The total damage? 1,430 calories, 96 g fat, more than a day’s worth of sodium, and 4 teaspoons of sugar. Explosion indeed.
10. Hardee’s Chicken Taco Salad
A crispy tortilla shell, cheese, chicken, sour cream, and a few veggies thrown in for good measure. At 900 calories and 48 g fat, you might as well have just splurged on a cheeseburger and fries instead.
By Marygrace Taylor
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