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If you’re looking to eat healthfully at your favorite restaurant, don’t automatically turn to the salad menu. Turns out, restaurant salads can often be as bad as—or worse than—any burger or steak on the menu. Sure, salads may contain a fresh produce base, but those leafy greens are too often weighed down with cheese, deep fried croutons, and high-calorie dressings. In fact, one salad from a popular chain restaurant contains over 1,500 calories! Surprised? Then check out this list of the Worst Salads in America, culled from the new book Eat This, Not That! 2010.

#6. Quizno’s Honey Mustard Chicken Regular Chopped Salad

920 calories

65 g fat (20 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)

1,685 mg sodium

The secret to this salad’s salacious calorie count is in the sauce. A general rule of thumb when you eat at Quizno’s: Serving sizes are often not what they seem. This “Regular Chopped Salad” accounts for nearly half your day’s caloric allotment. Even most of the small chopped salads pack over 500 calories. Unless you order the Pan Asian small, consider a salad at Quizno’s a meal unto itself, not a side dish. 

Bonus tip: Want to make sure your lunch doesn’t destroy your diet? Familiarize yourself with this indispensable list of the 30 Unhealthiest Sandwiches in America. It’ll help you keep your waistline from ballooning.

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Pan Asian Small Chopped Salad

270 calories

11 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 0 g trans)

1,190 mg sodium

#5. Romano’s Macaroni Grill Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Salad

960 calories

16 g saturated fat

1,990 mg sodium

49 g carbohydrates

Here’s a little menu magic for you: Anytime you see the words “parmesan-crusted,” assume the dish has been slathered in cheese and given the frying treatment. Which is probably why this Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Salad has nearly a full day’s worth of sodium and half a day’s worth of calories. One of the biggest problems with Mac Grill’s menu items—though we love it in general—is the sodium content. We’d say order the Warm Spinach Salad, but it’s packed with as much salt as you’ll find in five large orders of McDonald’s french fries. Your only smart salad side dish selection at this chain is the Fresh Greens or Caesar.

Bonus tip: Order anything from the 20 Best Restaurant Foods in America and leave the restaurant feeling satisfied with your healthy and delicious dish. Or lose your belly fat fast by making all your favorites yourself with the new book Cook This, Not That! Kitchen Survival Guide.

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Fresh Greens

320 calories

5 g saturated fat

300 mg sodium

20 g carbohydrates

#4. Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad

1,400 calories

88 g fat (26 g saturated)

2,370 mg sodium

This salad is explosive all right. Here’s a tip: At most Mexican restaurants, the salads are actually the absolute worst items on the menu. For example, with burritos and tacos, the amount of high-fat, high-calorie fillers is limited to what will fit in the shells. But there’s no built-in portion control with salads. So it’s no surprise that this Quesadilla Explosion Salad contains a full day’s worth of salt and nearly three-quarters of your day’s calories (it’s the caloric equivalent of 172 Cheetos, in fact). Unfortunately, Chili’s offers only three salads with less than 500 calories. Stick with the Guiltless Grill options, or the salad mentioned below.

Bonus tip: Corona may taste great with Mexican food, but is it the smartest beverage option? Read The 40 Best and Worst Beers to find out. (Otherwise it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between a bottle of beer with more than 300 calories versus one with just 100—knowing the difference and choosing the smarter swap can save you 20 lbs of fat a year!)

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Small Caribbean Salad with Grilled Chicken

490 calories

24 g fat (4 g saturated)

420 mg sodium

#3. Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad with Oriental Vinaigrette

1,430 calories

This salad starts out with a bed of “Fresh Asian greens,” according to the menu. Unfortunately, these greens serve as a bed for deep-fried chicken tenders and carbohydrate-heavy crispy noodles. Without dressing, this dish rings in at 840 calories—already more than in an Applebee’s hamburger. But factor in the super-heavy dressing and you’re adding another 590 calories to the mix. To put that in perspective, a lunch sandwich shouldn’t pack more than 500 calories, tops. At Applebee’s, the only salad that won’t sink your entire meal is the Paradise Chicken Salad, which cuts back on calories by using grilled chicken instead of fried and actual produce instead of noodles. (Note: Applebee’s refuses to disclose their nutrition information, so you just might be consuming days’ worth of sodium as well!)

Bonus tip: For full nutrition information for all of your favorite chain restaurants and thousands of foods, download the bestselling Eat This, Not That! to your iPhone. It’s like having your own personal nutritionist in your pocket at all times, and will help you avoid the caloric calamities and guide you to the best ways to lose your belly fast.

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Paradise Chicken Salad

340 calories

#2. Cheesecake Factory Caesar Salad with Chicken

1,513 calories

16 g saturated fat

1,481 mg sodium

23 g carbohydrates

The top three words you never want to see sharing a space with “salad” on a menu: tuna, taco, and yes, the mighty Caesar. Consider that tangle of romaine a hapless vehicle for the troubling trinity of croutons, Parmesan cheese, and viscous Caesar dressing. This Cheesecake Factory version is the worst; the elephantine portion yields a salad with more calories than 10 Twinkies! If you’re looking for a salad meal at Cheesecake Factory, choose from the Weight Management varieties—every other salad tops 500 calories.

Bonus tip: Save calories, time, and money with your FREE Eat This, Not That! newsletter. Sign up today and you’ll receive the free Eat This, Not That! guide to shopping once and eating for a week!

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Weight Management Pear & Endive Salad

479 calories

4 g saturated fat

1,509 mg sodium

31 g carbohydrates

#1. California Pizza Kitchen Waldorf Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing (full)

1,570 calories

30 g saturated fat

2,082 mg sodium

CPK is no stranger to the title of “Worst Salad in America”—in fact, last year’s Thai Crunch Salad from California Pizza Kitchen won this dubious distinction for having over 2,000 calories. CPK has since downgraded the Asian-inspired leafy disaster (to a more modest 1,399 calories). Unfortunately, the rest of their salad lineup is still sorely lacking in smart options. This Waldorf Chicken Salad takes the title this year—the blue cheese dressing certainly doesn’t help, and neither does the oversized plate this salad is served on. Believe it or not, your best bet at CPK is to order two slices of thin-crust pizza with any toppings you want. But if you’re set on a salad, choose a half-size of the Moroccan Chicken, below.

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Moroccan Chicken Salad (half)

412 calories

4 g saturated fat

309 mg sodium 

1,570 calories

30 g saturated fat

2,082 mg sodium

CPK is no stranger to the title of “Worst Salad in America”—in fact, last year’s Thai Crunch Salad from California Pizza Kitchen won this dubious distinction for having over 2,000 calories. CPK has since downgraded the Asian-inspired leafy disaster (to a more modest 1,399 calories). Unfortunately, the rest of their salad lineup is still sorely lacking in smart options. This Waldorf Chicken Salad takes the title this year—the blue cheese dressing certainly doesn’t help, and neither does the oversized plate this salad is served on. Believe it or not, your best bet at CPK is to order two slices of thin-crust pizza with any toppings you want. But if you’re set on a salad, choose a half-size of the Moroccan Chicken, below.

 Source: Yahoo! Mens Health

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