Are Salads at Fast Food Healthy?

Fast food salads have been in the spotlight for their health benefits, or lack thereof. Consumers are often confused as to whether they should opt for a salad or a burger, as they look at the menu. The answer is not always so black and white, however; there are many factors to consider when trying to determine if fast food salads are truly healthy.

When it comes to calories, fast food salads can range from being very low calorie to higher calorie than a burger. It all depends on the ingredients and toppings that you choose.

For example, if you get a grilled chicken Caesar salad without croutons or cheese and opt for light dressing, it will be lower in calories than a cheeseburger. On the other hand, if you add several toppings such as bacon bits, cheese, croutons and creamy dressing then your salad could end up being higher in calories than the burger.

Carbohydrates are an important consideration when determining the healthiness of a meal. Fast food salads typically contain more carbohydrates than burgers due to the inclusion of croutons, tortilla strips and other toppings. However, if you opt for leafy greens and no croutons then your carbs will be much lower.

The amount of fat in fast food salads also varies depending on what ingredients you choose. If you get grilled chicken instead of fried chicken and light dressing instead of full-fat dressing then your fat content will be much lower than that of a burger. However, adding bacon bits or cheese can significantly increase the fat content.


It is possible to make fast food salads healthy by opting for lean proteins such as grilled chicken and avoiding high-calorie toppings such as bacon bits and cheese. Additionally, choosing lighter dressings such as vinaigrette can help reduce the overall calorie count while keeping fat levels low. Although burgers may have more protein per serving than salads, it is possible to make healthy choices at fast food restaurants with careful consideration of ingredients.