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10 Restaurant Salads That Are Deceptively High in Calories


Think you're being healthy by ordering a salad when eating out? Bad news: You may be getting more than you bargained for. There's nothing wrong with going for a salad, and depending on the salad you choose, it can be a great low-calorie meal. However, you need to check the restaurant's nutritional information first because you may be consuming above and beyond what you intended.

Restaurant Salads

Check out these salads from five popular chain restaurants. They might sound healthy, but many of them contain more calories than a burger, pizza or even a pasta dish. You can also see some lower-calorie alternatives that will fill you up and keep you on track.

1. California Pizza Kitchen

Watch out:
Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Full Salad (1,500 calories)
Caramelized Peach Full Salad With Sautéed Salmon (1,220 calories)

Better options:
Chicken Lettuce Wraps (610 calories)
Grilled Veggie Sandwich (650 calories)

2. TGI Fridays

Watch out:
Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad (1,080 calories)
Strawberry Fields Salad With Grilled Balsamic Chicken (820 calories)

Better options:
Spinach Florentine Flatbread (380 calories)
Sizzling Sirloin & Spinach (410 calories)

3. Applebee's

Watch out:
Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad With Dressing Regular (1,340 calories)
Oriental Chicken Salad With Dressing Regular (1,390 calories)

Better options:
Thai Shrimp Salad (390 calories)
Lemon Parmesan Shrimp (510 calories)

4. Chili's

Watch out:
Quesadilla Explosion Salad (1,430 calories)
Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad (1,030 calories)

Better options:
Mango-Chile Chicken (550 calories)
Grilled Chicken Salad (430 calories)

. Chevys

Watch out:
Chicken Tostada Salad Without Dressing (1,500 calories)
Sizzling Fajita Steak Salad (1,290 calories)

Better options:
Seasonal Veggie Fajitas (530 calories; does not include tortillas)
Mesquite-Grilled Chicken Taco Plates (590 calories)

Don't get me wrong — I'm not encouraging you to order nachos, buffalo wings or pasta, but I do want to show you that just because it's called a "salad" doesn't mean it's low-calorie.

I'm actually a big fan of all five restaurants because they list their menu's nutritional information online. It's convenient and helpful because you can choose what you want ahead of time and stick to your calorie budget. You don't want to be eating a 1,500-calorie salad while the person across from you enjoys a burger with half the calories.

Tip: Look for dishes that are higher in bulk and lower in calories; these will take longer to eat and keep you satisfied. If you do your homework, you can eat delicious food and stay on track when you dine out.

-- Rachel

Readers -- Do you check online menus before you go out to eat? Do you ask for nutritional information when you order? How do you stick to your calorie budget when eating out? Share your comments below and let us know.

Rachel L. Pires is a Boston University graduate and the author of “Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss.” She is a writer, weight-loss adviser and new mother. It is her mission to help people discover how easy weight loss and maintenance can be with the right approach.


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