The fast food industry has finally started offering more healthy eating options. For those of us that are always on the go and on some days (or most) have little or no time to prepare dinner, quick and easy salads have become a crutch to the fast-paced individual that is still looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I happen to be one of those time crunched, always on the run type of people and for a very long time, fast food has NOT been an option for me because of the lack of healthy choices. Not anymore! There are a couple of fast food restaurants that now offer salads that appear to be healthy and make consumers think they are making a good choice in choosing an entrée salad, as opposed to a burger, French fries and pop. My concern is, is choosing the salad actually a healthier choice when it comes down to cost, calorie intact and food content. That is what I am prepared to find out…
I have had salads from both Wendy’s and McDonald’s and once you get over the fact that you are eating a salad from a fast food chain, they are pretty tasty! Burger King also has a line of salads, none of which I have had the opportunity of trying, however, for the sake of being inclusive, I have included them in my comparison! I prefer Caesar salad and luckily for me, all three chains mentioned above have their own variation of a chicken Caesar salad.
In terms of taste, I personally have to give my top vote to McDonald’s. They use Rene’s Mighty Caesar dressing, which packs a zesty garlic punch, includes a respectable amount of cheese and bacon, and they add a seasoning sauce to their grilled chicken that adds delicious flavour to the salad as a whole. Wendy’s is also good, but I prefer more cheese and bacon on my salad than they ever add to the top. All three chains, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King, give you the option of grilled or breaded chicken, and croutons come on the side, which is a bonus because I avoid those carbs by not adding the croutons!
Because the entrée salad you order from any fast food chain is considered a meal in itself, the chain assumes you don’t require a beverage, or feels the need to gouge it’s healthy choice customers by requiring them to order a beverage, instead of including one within the entrée salad “meal”. This to me is slightly frustrating, as I am trying to make a better choice for myself, however, it has yet to stop me from ordering a salad as opposed to a burger combo. With that said, it is clear to me in terms of the cost of the salads themselves, Wendy’s has the most outrageous pricing. Here in Victoria a salad will cost $8.49, plus the additional 12% HST tax, to bring your salad to $9.51 without beverage. McDonald’s salads are much more affordable, at $6.99, for a total of $7.83 with HST taxes. Burger King is a little more affordable than McDonald’s and charges $5.99 and with HST taxes you are looking at $6.71. Again, what is most disappointing with these prices is the fact that you do not get a beverage with your salad.
Now, this is where things get interesting. McDonald’s and Burger King are in line with one another when it comes to calories – they are both between 230-250 calories per salad. Wendy’s has a whopping 740 calories! That is more than three times the calories of the others. Pretty high if you ask me… It’s also higher in fat, sodium, and carbs, by a long shot. With that said though, in Wendy’s defense, they are significantly higher in protein content, so you won’t be looking for a snack quite as quickly as after eating the McDonald’s or Burger King salad.
|McDonald’s Mighty Caesar||230||14g||480 mg||14g||5g|
|Wendy’s Spicy Caesear||740||49g||1860 mg||41g||37g|
|Burger King’s Tendergrill Caesar||250||14g||860 mg||8g||23g|
After all of the analysis and comparisons, my opinion really has not changed. The thought of a salad from Burger King is slightly frightening, and the Wendy’s salad has a huge number of calories for a high cost but doesn’t seem to come with as much satisfaction as McDonald’s. McDonald’s is my salad destination. In a pinch, on the run, or just because I want to, they have the best tasting, most reasonably priced salads and that’s where I will continue to eat.