Waiter serving a large buffet table full of delicious food. Unrecognizable Caucasian male, professional in white apron and uniform. Remember when some iceberg lettuce — maybe with some shredded carrot and a slice of cucumber — and dressing qualified as a salad? Though American cuisine has come a long way since, plenty of questionable and unhealthy food combinations masquerade as salad these days.
If you’re trying to watch your calorie or sodium intake, don’t assume that a fast food salad is automatically a healthy choice. Many such salads are packed with extra calories in the form of crispy noodles, fried chicken, cheese, and sugary dressings. Here 17 other examples of healthy foods that are actually ruining your diet.
24/7 Tempo compiled a list of 48 salads you can buy that have more calories than an average slice of cheese pizza. While a single serving slice of pizza has 452 calories, all of the salads on the list have over 500 calories, and some have double and even triple that amount. Many contain more sodium than cheese pizza as well. In fact, some of these pre-made salads dish out more than the American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit of sodium of 2,300 mg.
When it comes to high sodium intake, which can increase blood pressure and risk of stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease, keep in mind that over 70% of the sodium that Americans consume comes in the form of packaged or prepared foods, and that includes restaurant salads.
Making your own salad with a simple oil and vinegar dressing can help you keep an eye on both your calorie and sodium intake. Salad portions at restaurants are often enough to feed two or three people, so if you must order one, remember to monitor your portion size. You can also order a fast food item that has few calories — believe it or not, they do exist.
To compile the 50 salads that are worse than a slice of cheese pizza, 24/7 Tempo reviewed nutrition information for hundreds of salads offered by dozens of restaurant chains. Only salads with more calories than a slice of cheese pizza were considered.