Not all restaurant salads are healthy choices

Published On: Feb 21 2013 09:17:05 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 22 2013 06:20:00 AM EST

When your meal involves a drive thru or dinner out, which is a better choice, a cheeseburger or a salad?

Consider this: a McDonalds’ Big Mac weighs in at 550 calories, 29 grams of fat and 1,000 milligrams of sodium, but this pales in comparison to these gut-busting greens!

Applebee’s oriental chicken salad sounds healthy, but the numbers don’t add up. Almost 1,400 calories, 98 grams of fat and 1,600 milligrams of sodium.

The calories in California Pizza Kitchen’s Moroccan-spiced chicken salad are more than two big macs.

When salads looks more like tacos things get ugly! The Baja Fresh shrimp tostada salad is loaded with everything, including fat and sodium. A better choice, but not a great choice: Taco Bell fiesta taco salad with beef.

At Outback, you can order an entire steak dinner for fewer calories and less fat than you’ll find in the Outback steakhouse salad.

Here’s proof that a good salad can go bad.

Here’s another one to watch out for: in restaurant-speak, “crusted” is code for fried. That’s what takes TGI Fridays’ pecan-crusted chicken salad to 1,100 calories and 71 grams of fat; and the sugar-coated pecans and cranberries will not help your waistline either.

WebMD's list of the best fast food salads:

All the salads on the list have no more than 5 grams of saturated fat, and most have less than 15 grams of fat total.  WebMD says those with more than 15 grams of fat on this list feature nuts, which are nutrient-rich and contribute "smart" fats (monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat).