The 5 Worst Fast-Food Salads for Your Waistline

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We analyzed the menus of America's 25 largest fast-food and fast-casual restaurants to identify each chain's salad menu item with the highest calorie count. Find out who fared worst.

Chipotle Mexican Grill boasts a menu based on “food with integrity,” as the company’s motto goes.

The national fast-food chain was the first to oust genetically modified ingredients, and was one of only two that earned an “A” for efforts to reduce antibiotics levels in meat in a recent report.

As Chipotle’s website puts it:

We’re all about simple, fresh food without artificial flavors or fillers. Just genuine raw ingredients and their individual, delectable flavors.

Just don’t assume that means Chipotle’s menu is always better for your waistline.

Even the salad can run you close to 1,400 calories. That’s hundreds more than the most calorie-laden salads offered by many of Chipotle’s competitors — and more than half a day’s worth of calories for most people. (WebMD reports that adults should consume 2,000 to 2,800 calories per day, depending on their height, age, gender and activity level.)

We analyzed the menus of America’s 25 largest fast-food and fast-casual restaurants to identify the five worst salads based on calorie count.

We’ve also included the worst offenders’ fat and sodium counts because, as it turns out, those numbers often surpass what anyone should consume in an entire day.

The Mayo Clinic, for example, reports that the average person should limit daily total-fat intake to about 44 to 78 grams, and limit daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams.

Keep in mind that these salads vary in size, which may at least partially account for why some salads have more fat, sodium and calories than others.

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s salad

For the salad, ordered with meat (carnitas option); fillings (white rice, black beans and fajita vegetables options); and toppings (roasted chili-corn salsa, sour cream, cheese, guacamole and vinaigrette options):

  • Calories: 1,365
  • Total fat: 83 grams
  • Sodium: 2,970 milligrams

Zaxby’s The Cobb

For The Cobb – Fried (comes with fried chicken), ordered with Mediterranean dressing:

  • Calories: 975
  • Fat: 60.5 grams
  • Sodium: 2,885 milligrams
  • More nutrition info:

Jack in the Box’s Southwest Chicken Salad

For the Southwest Chicken Salad w/ Crispy Chicken Strips, ordered with creamy Southwest dressing and gourmet seasoned croutons:

  • Calories: 770
  • Fat: 50 grams
  • Sodium: 2,110 milligrams
  • More nutrition info:

Chick-fil-A’s Cobb Salad

For the Cobb Salad, ordered with avocado lime ranch dressing:

  • Calories: 740
  • Fat: 54 grams
  • Sodium: 1,890 milligrams

McDonald’s Premium Bacon Ranch Salad

For the Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken, ordered with Newman’s Own ranch dressing:

  • Calories: 690
  • Fat: 45 grams
  • Sodium: 1,530 milligrams

Have you ever eaten or seen or heard of a fast-food salad that could top these in terms of calories? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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