Whenever I think of salads, I think of a big bowl of spinach, raw, crunchy vegetables, no croutons and little to no dressing. However, the salads on this list are not what any rational person would call healthy, not by any means. Whether it’s the iceberg lettuce (a plant that is really just water and cellulose), the creamy dressings, the aforementioned croutons and other artery-clogging condiments, these salads are actually very bad for you.
There are two components to these unhealthy salads, both of equal weight and value: the ingredients and the portion size. Normally, a salad is a relatively healthy affair, served up in a small bowl. Today, it’s made with ingredients that would make any registered dietician drop dead with shock, and the size of the salad is as big as the bowl it was prepared in.
Chili’s Chicken Quesadilla Explosion Salad
1,370 calories (801 of them coming from fat)
Chilli's alternative: the Caribbean Salad With Grilled Shrimp. It’s still 620 calories, but if I order my dressing on the side (and dip my fork into it instead of just pouring it on), I can make this meal not as bad.
AppleBees Green Goddess Wedge Salad
560 calories - this one is sneaky and before you know it, you will have added that many more calories to your already highly caloric meal (it’s bacon-cheeseburger sliders, for example, have 1,360 calories per plate). Here are it’s ingredients: a huge wedge of iceberg lettuce (no calories but not nutritionally sound), bacon, pecans and a lot of blue cheese dressing.
Like a lot of restaurant salads, this one won’t fill you up; in fact, it just makes you hungrier. Why do restaurants make salads like this? I will tell you why: it’s a profitable dish that makes you order more food. Also, when you eat an unhealthy meal (especially a lot of refined carbs), your body dumps a ton of insulin into your bloodstream to break it down. This makes you even hungrier (if you crave dessert after a meal, that’s why).
Invented in 1937 by Brown Derby restaurant owner Robert Cobb, this salad is delicious, but a dietary no-no. At the popular chain restaurant Red Robin, their take on this iconic dish has 728 calories
for a single bowl (with 333 calories coming from fat).
This comes as no surprise for two reasons: First, the ingredients are as follows: salad greens, bacon, egg, avocado, chicken, blue cheese (Roquefort to be exact), tomatoes, red-wine vinaigrette, chives and onions.
With an average of 790 calories per salad
, there is no way to make these salads healthy or even semi-healthy
TGI Fridays Strawberry Fields Salad
This “salad” has a calorie count of 810
, 495 of those calories coming from fat
Here are the ingredients: chicken breasts, red leaf and romaine lettuce, balsamic vinegar, strawberries, pecans, brown sugar and Parmesan cheese.
A staple at barbecues, picnics and other get-togethers, potato salad is tasty but lethal calorie-wise. Here’s why: potato salad is 379 calories per one-cup serving (most people say eat only half of a cup, but let’s get real – who eats only that much potato salad?)
The ingredients are potatoes, mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, etc. As with the steak salad, how can you make this one healthy? Even if you use only a fraction of the mayonnaise, more spices and less of the other fattening ingredients, it’s still a calorie bomb.
TGI Fridays Chipotle Yucatan Chicken Salad
850 calories per meal (not per serving, but per entire plate).
An outdoor function staple macaroni salad has a calorie count of 350 per serving (one scoop)
, half of it being from fat. Now, there is nothing wrong with fat (you need some “good fats” for the brain and body to function). However, a dish shouldn’t have that much fat in it. One single serving of a side dish should not contain more fat than you need in a single day; while fat needs vary from person to person, I can tell you right now that 117 is way too high.
Like potato salad, macaroni salad is absolutely delicious – the texture of the cream and seasonings in contrast to the al dente of the macaroni noodles is awesome. Like the other salads on this list, it is OK as an occasional treat, but that’s about it.
California Pizza Kitchen’s Waldorf Chicken Salad
Coming from California Pizza Kitchen, this salad may not seem so bad (chicken, greens, nuts, dressing), but at 1,370 calories
, it’s not health food.
With this many calories, I might as well order one of their pizzas and just eat only half of it (seriously, one half of their Margherita pizza has 665 calories). That’s still highly caloric, but it’s better than this salad.