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ShopSmart’s Best Salad Choices at Chain Restaurants

March 17, 2010

I worked from home today so I got to watch GMA and this story was awesome. I hate going to a restaurant and ordering a salad then finding out it had the same or more calories than a burger. Read the article below and you will never make my mistake.

ShopSmart’s Best Salad Choices at Chain Restaurants
Stay Healthy While Eating Out, Plus Tips on Making Your Own Healthful, Hearty Salad
March 16, 2010—
If you’re trying to eat healthy at a chain restaurant, you might think that a salad is always the best choice. But some salads actually pack more calories than a burger.
The food experts at ShopSmart magazine tested the nutritional value of 20 different salads at eight major chain restaurants. ShopSmart’s editor Lisa Lee Freeman shared the winners with “Good Morning America” along with advice on how to make a healthy salad at home.

Panera Bread: BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad (With mild BBQ sauce and no dressing)
Calories: 350Total Fat: 10 grams Saturated Fat: 1 gram Sodium: 610 milligrams Dietary Fiber: 6 grams Price: $7.59
The ShopSmart taster said this salad was “moist and tasty,” and you don’t need the ranch dressing in addition to the BBQ sauce. The dressing packs an additional 140 calories and 11 grams of fat, so stick with just the BBQ sauce.

On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina: Citrus Chipotle Chicken Salad (With Mango Citrus Vinaigrette)
Calories: 290Total Fat: 3.5 grams Saturated Fat: 2 grams Sodium: 840 milligrams Dietary Fiber: 11 grams Price: $9.24
This salad has corn, peppers, onions, tomatoes, jicama and orange pieces in addition to chicken and greens.

Wendy’s Chicken Caesar Salad With Grilled Chicken Fillet (With home style garlic croutons and no dressing or limited dressing) (I often order this salad top with balsalmic vinegar at home)
Calories: 240Total Fat: 7 grams Saturated Fat: 2 grams Sodium: 810 milligrams Dietary Fiber: 3 grams Price: $5.38
The chicken in this salad was “warm and delicious,” according to the ShopSmart taster, with “crunchy croutons.” The magazine says you can use up to 2 tablespoons of dressing, but not the whole packet because of the heavy calorie and fat count.

Panera Bread: Fuji Apple Chicken Salad (With pecans, no dressing or limited dressing)
Calories: 370Total Fat: 19 grams Saturated Fat: 5 grams Sodium: 570 milligrams Dietary Fiber: 5 grams Price: $7.19
This salad offers dried apple slices, pecans and Gorgonzola cheese, in addition to other ingredients.

Olive Garden: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad (without Caesar dressing)
Calories: 430Total Fat: 19 grams
McDonald’s: Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken (without creamy southwest dressing)
Calories: 320Total Fat: 9 grams
Burger King: Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad (without ranch dressing)
Calories: 270Total Fat: 9 grams
Build Your Own Healthful Salad:
Make it hearty by adding elements from your favorite sandwich. It makes the salad more substantial and delicious:
Roast Turkey Cheddar Cheese Bacon (A little goes a long way for flavor) Avocado (This tasty addition boasts “good” fat)
Make it fast by purchasing no-cook proteins:
Lean Goat Cheese Feta Cheese Canned Beans like Chickpeas or Cannellini (they’re nutrient-rich and satisfying without all the fat) Assorted Nuts (Nuts add crunch. Store them in the freezer for longer life) Rotisserie Chicken (Purchase at the supermarket and kept in the fridge) Tofu (A great add for vegetarians)
Make it healthy by making your own dressing. Dressings add flavor, but they also add tons of calories and fat. Skip the store-bought dressing and make your own with less oil:
Use good quality oil which has more flavor so a little will go a long way, cutting calories.
Look for extra virgin grade which indicates higher quality. Add fruit juice or a sweeter vinegar like balsamic or champagne vinegar.
Swap out mayo and cream. Turn pureed avocadoes, thinned with a little stock or water, into dressings. Low-fat yogurt or buttermilk are other good substitutes for mayo and cream.
For even more healthy salad choices and advice on making your own salads, pick up the latest issue of SmartShop magazine and visit
Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures

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