Oh how deceptive a salad can be.
One would think that ordering a dish in which vegetables are the main event would be a more healthful choice than say, half a rack of baby back ribs. But, for many chain restaurant menus, this is not the case. Once virtually calorie-free leafy greens are dressed to the nines with cheeses, meats, nuts and creamy dressings that really do add up.
A pecan-crusted chicken salad sounds innocent enough, but TGI Fridays' version contains more than 1,000 calories and 71 grams of fat and 1,650 milligrams of sodium. For some perspective, a McDonald's Big Mac contains 530 calories, 27 grams of fat and 960 milligrams of sodium. The Institute of Medicine recommends the average female adult ingest anywhere from 44 to 78 grams of fat a day -- Fridays' salad alone gets you there, and then some.
Listed below are salads from seven chain restaurants that absolutely tip the scale when it comes to calories, fat and sodium. Before you look, know there are a few ways to beat the system -- meaning you can order a salad and make it more nutritionally sound (sure, you'll have to be one of those pesky customers who asks for substitutions, but your stomach will thank you). For starters, request your dressings on the side. This move alone can spare you anywhere from 50 to upwards of 300 calories. Choose meat or cheese, and whenever possible, ask that the protein be grilled rather than fried. Okay, here we go, folks -- hefty, frightening salads: