100 Salads That Are Worse Than a Big Mac

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For American consumers, fried fast-food has long been the poster child for unhealthy eating. And if there’s one item that stands in for the entire category it is the Big Mac from McDonald’s.

But what if a Big Mac were a less-bad choice than, say, a salad? Or even a better choice than 100 popular salads? That’s entirely possible if the salad contains high-fat, high-cholesterol ingredients like processed meats, cheese, and creamy dressings, according to a report from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The group assessed the nutritional data on sales from more than a dozen restaurants and compared the results to the content of a Big Mac that delivers 550 calories, 29 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol and 970 milligrams of salt.

Not only did the Physicians Committee find more than 100 salad offerings that are worse for people than a Big Mac, they found one that is worse than two Big Macs. A Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad contains 1,430 calories, 96 grams of fat, 28 grams of saturated fat, 175 milligrams of cholesterol and 2,620 milligrams of salt. Here’s a photo of the salad in a take-out container.

chilis-salad
Source: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine/Brinker International Inc.

A quick glance through the list of these salads shows that 25 are sold at California Pizza Kitchen restaurants. Friendly’s serves 11 of the worse-than-a-Big-Mac salads while Applebee’s and Carrabba’s account for nine each.

Here’s the list of all 100 salads.

Calories Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Cholesterol (mg) Sodium (mg) Notes
Food Item: Big Mac
550 29 10 75 970
1. Applebee’s Fiesta Chicken Chopped Salad, Regular
900 45 11 95 1670
2. Applebee’s Fried Chicken Salad, Regular
1120 77 21 360 2590
3. Applebee’s Green Goddess Wedge Salad
550 52 11 55 1330
4. Applebee’s Grilled Chicken Caesar, Regular
800 57 12 165 1640
5. Applebee’s Grilled Shrimp ‘N Spinach Salad, Regular
1000 66 10 195 2990 Highest Sodium
6. Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad, Regular
1400 99 15 60 1630
7. Applebee’s Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad, Half
680 41 6 60 1540
8. Applebee’s Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad, Regular
1290 82 12 120 2160
9. Applebee’s Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad, Regular
1340 80 16 95 2630
10. Bob Evans Cobb Salad (no dressing)
517 31 17 318 1679
11. Bob Evans Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad (no dressing)
618 36 13 121 1463
12. Bob Evans Wildfire Fried Chicken Salad (no dressing)
712 34 9 89 1193
13. California Pizza Kitchen’s California Cobb Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing and Beets, Full
1070 85 20 335 1750
14. California Pizza Kitchen’s California Cobb Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing, Full
1030 85 20 335 1680
15. California Pizza Kitchen’s California Cobb Salad with Ranch Dressing and Beets, Full
940 72 15 315 1600
16. California Pizza Kitchen’s California Cobb Salad with Ranch Dressing, Full
900 72 15 315 1530
17. California Pizza Kitchen’s Caramelized Peach Salad, Full
900 62 13 50 980
18. California Pizza Kitchen’s Caramelized Peach Salad, Full with Grilled Chicken Breast
1100 67 15 145 1150
19. California Pizza Kitchen’s Caramelized Peach Salad, Full with Grilled Shrimp
960 63 14 120 1380
20. California Pizza Kitchen’s Caramelized Peach Salad, Full with Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon
960 67 15 55 1230
21. California Pizza Kitchen’s Caramelized Peach Salad, Full with Sautéed Salmon
1220 88 17 95 1120
22. California Pizza Kitchen’s Caramelized Peach Salad, Half with Grilled Chicken Breast
650 36 8 120 660
23. California Pizza Kitchen’s Chinese Chicken Salad, Full
790 36 5 30 2650
24. California Pizza Kitchen’s Classic Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast, Full
730 45 13 155 970
25. California Pizza Kitchen’s Classic Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Full
590 40 12 135 1200
26. California Pizza Kitchen’s Classic Caesar Salad with Sautéed Salmon, Full
850 66 15 110 940
27. California Pizza Kitchen’s Classic Caesar Salad with Sautéed Salmon, Full
990 75 16 115 1490
28. California Pizza Kitchen’s Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Salad, Full
1500 99 10 295 1380 Highest Calories
29. California Pizza Kitchen’s Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Salad, Half
750 50 5 145 690
30. California Pizza Kitchen’s Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad, Full with Avocado
1250 81 19 110 1800
31. California Pizza Kitchen’s Original BBQ Chicken Chopped, Half with Avocado
710 48 11 55 930
32. California Pizza Kitchen’s Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad, Full
1090 66 17 110 1800
33. California Pizza Kitchen’s Roasted Veggie Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast, Full
910 58 6 95 1080
34. California Pizza Kitchen’s Roasted Veggie Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Full
770 53 5 70 1310
35. California Pizza Kitchen’s Roasted Veggie Salad with Sautéed Salmon, Full
1040 79 8 45 1050
36. California Pizza Kitchen’s Thai Crunch Salad with Avocado, Full
1460 97 12 40 1570
37. California Pizza Kitchen’s Thai Crunch Salad, Full
1290 83 9 40 1560
38. California Pizza Kitchen’s Waldorf Chicken Salad, Full
1230 87 18 100 1860
39. Carabba’s Italian Cobb Salad with Chicken and Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
594 38 11 110 1383
40. Carrabba’s Caesar Salad
612 55 11 41 974
41. Carrabba’s Caesar Salad with Chicken
791 59 12 125 1513
42. Carrabba’s Caesar Salad with Shrimp
712 57 11 252 2064
43. Carrabba’s Italian Cobb Salad with Chicken
594 38 11 110 1383
44. Carrabba’s Johnny Rocco Salad
592 44 8 220 2148
45. Carrabba’s Mediterranean Salad with Salmon
893 71 12 121 1303
46. Carrabba’s Mediterranean Salad with Salmon and Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
673 45 7 110 1142
47. Carrabba’s Seasonal Salad: Harvest Salad with Chicken and Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
604 30 10 128 1610
48. Chili’s Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad
1040 72 15 140 3470
49. Chili’s Caribbean Salad w/ Grilled Chicken
720 28 4.5 110 1170
50. Chili’s Caribbean Salad w/ Seared Shrimp
620 26 4 145 1460
51. Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad
1430 96 28 175 2620 Worse than 2 Big Macs in all categories
52. Chili’s Santa Fe Chicken Salad
690 48 9 120 1720
53. Classic Wedge Salad
620 59 15 not listed 1140
54. Denny’s Avocado Chicken Caesar Salad
660 49 10 140 1860
55. Denny’s Avocado Salmon Caesar Salad
860 72 16 155 1470
56. Denny’s Fried Chicken Strips Cobb Salad
930 50 14 365 1810
57. Denny’s Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad
660 37 11 385 1560
58. Denny’s Prime Rib Cobb Salad
630 46 14 330 1210
59. Friendly’s Apple Harvest Chicken Salad- Light Balsamic Dressing
560 33 9 110 2590
60. Friendly’s Asian Chicken Salad- Ginger Sesame Dressing
750 33 5 280 1240
61. Friendly’s Boca Burger Salad- 1000 Island Dressing
920 66 17 60 2310
62. Friendly’s Burger Salad – 1000 Island Dressing
1000 76 21 140 1990
63. Friendly’s Caesar Salad- Caesar Dressing
720 56 15 50 1820
64. Friendly’s Crispy Chicken Salad -Honey Mustard Dressing
1020 69 16 280 1370
65. Friendly’s Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad- Caesar Dressing
880 61 16 140 2770
66. Friendly’s Grilled Chicken Salad- Honey Mustard Dressing
830 54 13 330 1650
67. Friendly’s Spinach Salad w/ GR Salmon- Warm Bacon Dressing
940 68 11 280 2140
68. Friendly’s Spinach Salad w/ GR TRKY TIPS- Warm Bacon Dressing
890 59 10 260 1970
69. Friendly’s Turkey Burger Salad- 1000 Island Dressing
990 80 21 130 2450
70. Friendly’s Turkey Tip & Avocado Salad- Bleu Cheese Dressing
890 64 19 150 1440
71. Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad (WITHOUT DRESSING)
590 39 14 not listed 1230
72. IHOP’s Chicken & Spinach Salad w/Crispy Chicken
1280 80 24 370 2450
73. IHOP’s Chicken & Spinach Salad w/Grilled Chicken
1030 69 22 395 2150
74. IHOP’s Citrus Chicken Pecan Salad
660 42 6 95 1070
75. IHOP’s Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad
1270 96 28 590 2980
76. IHOP’s Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad w/ Avocado
1350 104 29 590 2980 Highest fat and saturated fat
77. IHOP’s Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad w/Grilled Chicken
1130 89 27 635 2880 Highest cholesterol
78. IHOP’s Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
800 57 14 150 1910
79. Longhorn Steakhouse Caesar Salad with Sirloin
690 49 12 135 1400
80. Longhorn Steakhouse Grilled Chicken, Beefsteak Tomato and Bacon
1030 72 19 195 1990
81. Longhorn Steakhouse Grilled Salmon Salad (Caesar)
760 55 11 125 1250
82. On The Border’s Grande Taco Salad- Chicken Tinga w/o Dressing
780 45 14 not listed 1950
83. On The Border’s Grande Taco Salad- Ground Beef w/o Dressing
870 55 18 not listed 2020
84. On The Border’s Tex-Mex Cobb Salad w/Avocado Ranch Dressing
800 54 16 not listed 1380
85. Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cobb Salad, Crispy Chicken
850 52 24 111 1512
86. Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cobb Salad, Grilled Chicken
525 25 11 123 1062
87. Outback Steakhouse BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad
711 37 8 126 1534
88. Outback Steakhouse Blue Cheese Pecan Chopped Salad
664 47 13 20 1305
89. Outback Steakhouse Steakhouse Salad, Steak
950 66 18 91 1485
90. Outback Steakhouse Steakhouse Salad, Steak
660 39 16 315 1500
91. Perkins Restaurant and Bakery’s Chicken & Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
970 66 14 330 2400
92. Perkins Restaurant and Bakery’s Honey Mustard Chicken Crunch Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
1220 79 21 160 2320
93. Red Lobster’s Classic Caesar with Chicken
660 53 10 not listed 1400
94. Red Lobster’s Classic Caesar with Salmon
810 66 13 not listed 1610
95. Red Lobster’s Classic Caesar with Shrimp
640 53 10 not listed 1880
96. Seasonal Salad: Harvest Salad with Chicken
736 47 13 135 1685
97. Seasonal Salad: Harvest Salad with Sirloin Skewer
733 53 16 84 1339
98. Seasonal Salad: Harvest Salad with Sirloin Skewer and Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
600 36 13 76 1263
99. TGI Friday’s Chipotle Yucatan Chicken Salad
840 60 21 not listed 1560
100. TGI Friday’s Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad (add choice of dressing)
590 39 14 not listed 1230
101. TGI Friday’s Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad
1080 71 16 not listed 1650