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The Top 10 Worst Restaurant Salads

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/5/2013 6:00 AM   :  370 comments   :  237,265 Views

Everyone loves a top 10 list and many of them provide a good chuckle or two. Today we bring you a more serious top 10 list that instead of a chuckle, may make your gasp. Why? Here are 10 seemingly innocent salads that contain more than 1,000 calories each!

Here is a top 10 list of some of the worst restaurant salads you just might be eating.

Number 10

Romano's Macaroni Grill Chicken Florentine Salad – 1,020 calories/17 grams/2,830 mg sodium

Number 9

Quiznos Chicken Caesar Flatbread Salad – 1,020 calories/69 grams fat/2,120 mg sodium

Number 8

Quiznos Roasted Chicken Flatbread Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing – 1,070 calories/71 grams fat/1,770 mg sodium

Number 7

Chili's Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad – 1,070 calories/77 grams fat/4,380 mg sodium

Number 6

Chili's Southwestern Cobb Salad – 1,080 calories/71 grams/2,650 mg sodium

Number 5

Ruby Tuesday's Carolina Chicken Salad – 1,129 calories/71 grams fat

Number 4

Baja Fresh Charbroiled Steak Tostada Salad – 1,230 calories/63 grams fat/2,380 mg sodium

Number 3

Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad – 1,390 calories/89 grams fat/2,710 mg sodium

Number 2

Chevy's Fresh Mex Grilled Fajita Salad made with Chicken, Carnitas, Shrimp or Steak - 1,450-1,620 calories/27-37 grams fat/1,570-2,530 mg sodium

And the Number 1 worst restaurant salad you may be eating is….

Chevy's Fresh Mex Tostada Salad with Chicken, Carnitas or Steak - 1,550-1,720 calories/37-47 grams fat/2,480-3,310 mg sodium

Sometimes you eat at restaurants that do not provide nutrition information for their recipes. You can evaluate how healthy a salad is based on the ingredients it includes to help you make a wise choice.

Be honest – which one of these salads have you had? Are there any on the list that surprised you? Are there others over 1,000 calories that we missed?

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  • 370
    I love the Chili's salad and I am not surprised that it is so high in calories. I will have to save that one for a "treat". - 6/7/2013   10:10:26 AM
    I make my own salad. I don't go out and buy salads. Glad I don't looking at all those calories. - 6/5/2013   11:45:31 AM
  • 368
    I love the quesadilla explosion salad from Chili's but four or five years ago I learned about the nutritional values and that was it for me. I can't eat a whole days worth of calories in one meal. - 4/28/2013   1:20:52 PM
  • 367
    I love the quesadilla explosion salad from Chili's but four or five years ago I learned about the nutritional values and that was it for me. I can't eat a whole days worth of calories in one meal. - 4/28/2013   1:20:51 PM
  • 366
    This is shocking to me. I don't eat at any of these places, but I used to be a regular McDonald's guest. I thought I was making the right choices. Now the only time I go to McDonald's is to stop for a black coffee. Personally, I have learned the best way to judge the healthiness of a salad someplace is to think about where I am. Chili's and Ruby Tuesday? Really? If you walk in those places, counting calories is the least of your troubles. - 4/19/2013   11:54:50 AM
  • 365
    I didn't see Taco Bell salad in there I love their salad I know their salad have to be up there but all them salad you all had there do sound good . - 3/24/2013   9:49:25 PM
  • JILLO137
    Omg...!! I never thought any kind of salad could have sooooo much calories!! - 3/17/2013   9:49:36 PM
    Gasp! - 3/17/2013   6:10:55 PM
  • 362
    I have never eaten salads at any of these places. I prefer homemade because I have to watch my sodium intake. I'm appalled at these numbers! - 2/11/2013   9:48:51 PM
  • 361
    Wish I had read this article before ordering the Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad today. Good news is that I didn't eat the Quesadilla's, had 1/2 the salad for lunch and the other 1/2 for dinner and only used a small amount of dressing on the side. I will make a wiser decision next time. - 6/24/2012   8:38:17 PM
  • 360
    Never had any of those salads, never been to any of those places, hooray! - 6/24/2012   12:30:46 PM
    I love the Chili's Quesadilla Explosion. But I do make changes. I don't eat the quesadillas (most of the calories are probably in the cheese and flour). I ask them to leave off any cheeses on the salad. I also ask for dressing on the side. This makes it more tolerable for sodium and calories. - 12/13/2011   10:01:32 AM
  • 358
    WOW!!! That is a shame!!! I look at this stuff and I am not surprised I am obese. I never knew how horrible SALADS could be before SP. Nowadays, I normally ignore foods I can't find calories on. - 12/8/2011   4:24:34 PM
  • 357
    Wholly cow!!! I thankfully, have never eaten one of these salads. I've never even been to any of the restaurants. - 12/8/2011   4:17:17 PM
  • 356
    Its these salads that cause people to say "you can't make healthy food taste good without making it unhealthy". Why can't restaurants understand that when we want a healthy option, we don't just want a "vegetable". If you deep-fry broccoli then cover it in cheese, it is not healthy anymore!
    That being said, these "unhealthiest salads" are calculated using the unhealthiest options available. I'm sure some of the toppings or dressings could be modified to make them at least reasonable as an eating-out choice. - 8/8/2011   12:30:11 PM
  • 355
    Once you start really looking at what you're eating at some these restuarants, it's shocking how much salt and fat is in the selections. - 4/10/2011   5:00:21 PM
  • 354
    Wow! I'm sad to say that I've eaten a couple of these in my past. (Not recently) I would typically only eat half of huge salads like this and get dressing on the side (fat free if possible), but even then, they are still far from being healthy with all of the 'toppings.' - 4/9/2011   4:43:55 PM
  • 353
    OMG! Most of these salads, would leave me with 200 calories or less left for the day. The #1 salad is actually more than my upper calorie level. - 2/5/2011   5:54:44 PM
  • SUNSET09
    When I eat out, I hardly ever select the salads as there are so many other good and healthy options ot choose from. I enjoy the normal lettuce, tomato, carrots, cucumber and feta cheese salads, real simple. Thanx for the knowledge! - 5/10/2010   7:45:25 PM
  • 351
    I use to eat the Quiznos FlatBread Ceaser. While on Weight Watchers, I saw how many points one of those would cost me I decided I would stick to simple garden salads. - 5/10/2010   2:08:00 PM
    This made me nauseous, 1000+ for a salad! If your dieting thats at least half your daily allowance, and for and oil drenched salad. I'd rather have a big mac if I'm going to be that unhealthy. - 5/10/2010   10:27:17 AM
  • 349
    I have to admit that I've never been a salad eater but I'm trying. I don't meat on my salads, just greens, and unfortunately I don't really like a lot of the veggies that go into salads so pretty much a salad for me is just lettuce, a little cheese and some egg with a fat free salad dressing. I used to only use Blue Cheese salad dressing but I've been good and have gotten away from using it. - 5/10/2010   9:20:37 AM
  • 348
    I've had the Chili's boneless buffalo chicken salad more than once. Unfortunately, it's delicious! I wish restaraunts would put calorie counts on everything. I would definitely think twice about something that kills my whole day's intake of calories! - 2/20/2010   3:05:40 PM
    These salads include their dressings right?
    I usually ask for the dressing on the side and then dip my fork in the dressing so each bite has a little added flavor. That usually makes the calories lower...BUT if these salads DON"T include their dressings and they are still 1,000 calories i'm in big trouble. eek. - 2/11/2010   7:13:22 AM
  • 346
    Ok the 1,000+ calories gets my attention but check out that fat grams on most of these!!! - 1/7/2010   2:26:57 PM
  • 345
    Never had one and never would. Why does a "salad" need all that junk? - 1/2/2010   1:31:12 PM
    Has anyone ever tried the salads at IHOP? I eat there all the time and I don't whats in that salad. By the way they're delicious. - 12/26/2009   5:59:38 AM
  • 343
    Oh No! I eat the chili's cobb salad all the time. who would have thought it could be so bad?!? - 11/6/2009   5:09:09 PM
    From the name of those salads itself, it really means it has a lot of ingreadients.I still believe that if we want to monitor the calories that we eat,we should be the one preparing it bec the lesser the oil, the healthier it will be.I guess Ceasar's & Vegetables Salad is still the best for me.Not to forget " a teaspoon of Olive oil a day is like an apple a day keeps our doctor away" . Its like being responsible and aware of the foods we want to eat.But if u really cant avoid it...once in a while will be alright....bec sometimes we have to have a cheat day, since our body also needs some of it. ;) - 10/28/2009   3:32:30 AM
    I'm not suprised at all the the top 10 list although I've never heard of Chevy's. Especially seeing 2 of the 10 salads are from Chili's. Chili's I believe is up there on the list with the most fattening restaurant chains. I'm very aware of the ingredients and their nutrion value and when I go to a restaurant, I have a pretty good idea of 'how much' I'm getting of each nutrient in the food that I order. I believe a lot of the fat is coming mostly from the dressings and whatever ingredients that were added to the foods to make them worse than they actually are such as hydrogenerated butters and massive amounts of sodium. You have to take into consideration too of the salads that come prepared with salad dressing on the salad. A serving size of dressing is typcially 2 tbsp. and if you're ordering a 'dinner salad', that could have anywhere from 5-10 servings.

    Sorry this was so long, but as a Health Promotion major in school, I really enjoy learning about living a healthy lifestyle.

    Brian - 10/27/2009   12:16:24 AM
  • 340
    I try not to eat out simply because I do not know what I'm eating calorie and quality wise. - 10/24/2009   2:44:28 PM
  • 339
    I agree with post 338. How about someone rewrites this article, adds photos of the salad and the ingredients and where all the calories are and how we can eat that salad in a healthy manner. Like was all the dressing actually included. I always get the dressing on the side and barely use any. I also exclude croutons now that I am gluten free and I have asked for no cheese or on the side. I was once allergic to dairy and once I could eat cheese again they put way too much cheese on everything. Before that I could not have enough cheese and that is a ton of calories. - 10/22/2009   11:40:05 PM
  • JWENZEL723
    Let's get an article like this telling us the 10 BEST salad choices at restaurants! - 10/21/2009   10:18:28 AM
  • 337
    Wow!! Having knowledge is so important when deciding what to order. Those salads are more than I eat in a day! - 10/20/2009   4:22:34 PM
  • 336
    I think I may have eaten one of the ones at chilis maybe the explosion one? but im a vegetarian and have them take the meat out. still its a lot even without it. didnt know it was that much! - 10/20/2009   10:38:37 AM
  • 335
    OMG! These salads are crazy. I have actually never eaten any of them, and don't plan to in future. Just think how naive I was before Sparkpeople. - 10/20/2009   2:45:25 AM
    I'd ask what the BEST 10 are, but I think that's self explanitory. Just yummy assorted greens & various fresh veggies & fat free dressing. What could be easier? - 10/19/2009   11:33:56 PM
    I'm vegetarian and about 9 outta 10 times, those really bad fattening salad's have meat in them. How bout go for the side salads instead? - 10/19/2009   5:18:25 PM
  • 332
    I can honestly and happily say I've never eaten any of these salads. I make yummy salads at home for myself with fake chicken (I don't eat real poultry of any kind), cheese and half an avocado, and it only costs me 400 calories. This is one of the main reasons I don't enjoy eating out anymore, unless I know ahead of time what the damage is. Chefs can't be trusted not to load everything with fat and salt! - 10/19/2009   3:24:55 PM
  • 331
    I just had the Ruby Tuesday Carolina Chicken Salad the other day. As soon as it arrived I knew I had made a mistake. Should have read the list of ingredients more closely. The chicken is coated and fried of course, I should have asked for grilled. That would have helped. But the extras included in the salad are what added up. Fortunately, they did bring the dressing on the side and I was able to use a minimal amount. Not able to eat the whole thing either so that helped some too. - 10/19/2009   10:27:55 AM
    What a bummer.........I went out to dinner at Chili's today after church....picked a Buffalo Chicken Salad.....I went over my calories for the day....and I haven't even eaten dinner....but that's okay because I am not hungry...only thirsty from all the stinking sodium.....I went over calories all week because of eating salads out.....I have learned my lesson today.....thank you for all the good information.... - 10/18/2009   6:23:52 PM
  • GRACED24/7
    Wow! This is why I don't eat out as much since joining SP and I cook more meals at home. Thanks for the info!! - 10/17/2009   8:32:26 PM
  • 328
    You know this is probably why a simple side salad is the way to go when out to eat. Also goes to show you that you can't trust others to prepare your food. Diligence is hard at the hands of someone else. - 10/17/2009   7:25:26 PM
  • 327
    I'm a vegan, so I've never had any of these salads. But because I'm sometime restricted to the salad section of the menu when I eat out, I will say that each of these menu items absolutely ruins the very idea of a salad, which is healthy greens, fresh veggies, some lean protein (like beans), and some light dressing. I don't know how anyone can find, let alone taste, their vegetables when they're buried underneath that much meat, cheese, croutons, and heavy dressing. But perhaps that's the point... - 10/17/2009   2:24:08 PM
  • 326
    Thankfully I've only had the Ruby Tuesdays Carolina Chicken Salad. Won't be eating that anymore. Thanks for the list! - 10/16/2009   7:08:18 PM
  • BRINA71902
    I absolutely loooove the bbq chicken salad at buffalo wild wings! i would love to see a calorie count on that one. hopefully its not too high cuz i don't wanna give it up! - 10/16/2009   3:16:15 PM
  • 324
    OMG a whole day's worth of calories in one sitting! - 10/16/2009   11:51:18 AM
    Haven't tried any. I love homemade salads so much I don't usually have salads out. Also we don't have too many of those in Canada. - 10/15/2009   11:47:31 PM
  • 322
    I have a little trick about the salad dressings. I have a little bottle tucked away in my car, 2 ounces of my dressing-zero calories,fat and stuff. I do the salad bar or order a garden salad or whatever without dressing...and wala I feel better.Even a chicken salad with chicken breasts pass the calorie test,fat test and the usual. Another tip to WATCH out for...Many of the things on the menu are deceiving for calories...They will list the item, say hot wings, and give the calories,fat,carbs,sodium, and then the last entry sometimes says 1,2,3 or 4..which means very innocently how many servings each one is...Most places consider chicken wings 3 triple what you see...Bad Bad and sneaky to boot...Check it out...and somewhere like On the Border has tinsy little writing that says."Sides and sauces not included in the counts" the dressings,fries ,added cheese slices and mayo,and whatever else you see is xtra counts...and big time add on's...
    - 10/15/2009   6:59:50 PM
  • 321
    umm well I don't know most of them
    but now I have an idea of what to avoid lol
    thanks - 10/15/2009   6:29:58 PM

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