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ShopSmart puts 20 salads from eight national chains to the test

Posted Monday, April 12, 2010

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Plus, 8 Chefs’ Tips to Make Yummier, More Satisfying Salads at Home

Yonkers, NY — So you ordered the salad instead of the burger. Good for you—or maybe not! A new salad test from ShopSmart found that you’re better off with the burger in some cases. Featured in the April 2010 issue of ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, ‘The Best Salads’ article investigates the nutritional value and taste-factor of 20 chicken-based salads sold at eight major chains.

“Just because it’s a salad doesn’t mean it’s diet food! Add-ins can sometimes add up to amost as many calories as a bacon burger,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “Whether you’re dining out or at home, make smart choices with ShopSmart’s ultimate guide to salads. You’ll learn which salads are the healthiest based on the full nutritional information, easy ways to trim fat and calories, and tips to make great salads at home.”

When You’re Out: Top Healthy Choices at Major Restaurant Chains


  • Panera Bread’s BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad, with mild BBQ sauce, no dressing (350 calories)
  • On the Border’s Citrus Chipotle Chicken Salad, with Mango Citrus Vinaigrette (290 calories)
  • Panera Bread’s Asian Sesame Chicken Salad, with crispy wonton strips and almonds, no dressing (320 calories)
  • Panera Bread’s Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, with pecans, no dressing (370 calories)
  • Wendy’s Chicken Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken Fillet, with home-style garlic croutons, no dressing (240 calories)
  • Olive Garden’s Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, without Caesar dressing (430 calories)
  • McDonald’s Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken, without Creamy Southwest dressing (320 calories)
  • Burger King’s Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad, without ranch dressing (270 calories)
  • Sonic’s Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Salad, without ranch dressing (312 calories)
  • Chili’s Grilled BBQ Chicken Salad with barbecue sauce and ranch dressing (1060 calories) and Quesadilla Explosion Salad (1,400 calories)
When You’re At Home: 8 Expert Tips to Turn Any Salad Into a Tasty, Hearty Meal


  • Mix in whole grains, like brown rice, farro or spelt, to promote satiety with fewer calories.
  • Think sandwich fixings, such as good-quality bread, chunks of deli meat or chopped pickles, for a more substantial and more surprisingly delicious salad.
  • Serve it warm to make it feel more like a satisfying meal than an appetizer.
  • Turn up the flavor in home-made dressings, using good-quality oil, fruit juice or a sweeter and less aggressive vinegar.
  • Swap out mayo and cream for puréed avocados, low-fat yogurt or buttermilk to cut calories and fat.
  • Stock up on tasty condiments that add flavor, like zingy mustards, flavorful oils, chopped pickled peppers, garlic, chili and new varieties of salt.
  • Plan your leftovers to save cooking and prep time. Cook extra meat for dinner that can be chopped up into a hearty salad the next day.
  • Buy no-cook proteins for easy, ready-to-go add-ins, like canned tuna, anchovies, beans and nuts.
About ShopSmart magazine:
Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports’ celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this newspaper's web site.
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print Printer-friendly page
ShopSmart puts 20 salads from eight national chains to the test
Panera Bread’s BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad, with mild BBQ sauce, no dressing (350 calories)
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