People typically underestimate the amount of fat and calories in a chef salad, according to a study published in the "American Journal of Public Health" in September 2006. These salads usually include ham, turkey, cheese, hard-boiled egg, tomato, iceberg lettuce and dressing. The ingredients and their proportions in this salad can vary, however, affecting the nutrient content of the salad.
Calories in a restaurant chef salad can vary from about 317 to 560, not including dressing. Lower-calorie salads contain reduced-fat cheese instead of regular cheese or smaller amounts of higher-calorie ingredients. The fat in a chef salad ranges from 16 to 43 grams, the protein content ranges from 25 to 32 grams and the carbohydrate content ranges from 12 to 21 grams. Saturated fat content varies from 6 to 11 grams, or 25 to 55 percent of the daily value, and fiber content varies from 2 to 4 grams, or 8 to 16 percent of the DV. Saturated fat can increase your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease, while fiber consumption can have the opposite effect.
These salads are all high in sodium, with 58 to 75 percent of the DV for sodium. Consuming too much sodium can increase your risk for high blood pressure. Chef salads are typically good sources of calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. You need calcium for strong bones, iron for forming red blood cells and vitamin A for healthy vision. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps heal wounds.