Your favorite salad chain is a convenient way to pack veggies on the go, but don’t be misled into assuming every order is automatically healthy. Even though salad chains usually offer plenty of healthy options, many menu items can also be surprisingly high in calories and packed with added salt, fat, and sugar. In this article, we’ve identified the worst order at eight popular salad chains to help you identify these sneaky sources of calories.

While the following orders may not be the healthiest, they are generally better choices than typical fast food fare. According to the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, about 90% of the U.S. population doesn’t eat enough vegetables, so any opportunity to get more produce is a step in the right direction. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of overall calorie intake. Even if you opt for nutritious foods, consuming too many calories can have negative long-term effects.

To help you make healthy choices when eating out, we looked at eight popular salad eateries and identified the least healthy choices on their menus. We also laid out some nutritional qualities you should look for when identifying a healthy order. If you’re looking for something lower in total calories and more nutritionally balanced, you may want to choose a different option than these menu items on our list.

How we chose the healthiest orders at popular salad chains

  • Total calories: Even salad can quickly accumulate added calories and potentially even empty calories. When you consider the total portion size, all the toppings, and the serving size of the dressing, there are quite a few opportunities to pack in extra calories in your salad order.
  • Sodium: Adding salt is an easy way for salad restaurants to flavor their menu items, and salad orders can pack in nearly a day’s worth of sodium if you’re not mindful of the nutrition labels. The recommended daily intake for added salt is 2,300 milligrams, and some salad orders have that much or more.
  • Fats: Nuts, cheese, salad dressing, and any oil used to cook the protein can all contribute to the total fat in these meals. While fat itself is not inherently bad, large amounts of it can increase the calorie content and may come from less healthy sources like saturated fats from bacon, egg, or cheese on top of your salad bowl.

Read on to learn more about some of the unhealthier orders at these popular salad chains (as a side note, not all of the orders are salads. Some are wraps, soups, etc.). Then, check out The #1 Healthiest Order at 10 Major Chain Restaurants.

Sweetgreen Hot Honey Chicken Plate

Sweetgreen Hot Honey Chicken Plate

Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 855
Fat: 39 g (Saturated fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 998 mg
Carbs: 73 g (Fiber: 11 g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 49 g

Sweetgreen launched their “protein plates” at the end of 2023, with each plate featuring over 30 grams of protein, savory sauces, and a double portion of grains. While Sweetgreen’s Hot Honey Chicken Plate features healthy ingredients such as herb-roasted chicken, herbed quinoa, sweet potatoes, and veggie slaw, it also happens to contain 43% of your daily value of sodium and is the highest-calorie option at Sweetgreen, earning it a spot on this list. On the positive side, this protein plate offers a substantial 49 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, making it a balanced option that will likely keep you feeling full for hours. If you want to tweak this protein plate to be better for you, we recommend cutting back on Sweetgreen’s signature Hot Honey Mustard Dressing, as it is 120 calories per serving.

 The Best & Worst Menu Items at Sweetgreen

Panera Bread Bacon Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl

Panera Bacon Mac and Cheese in a bread bowl
Panera Bread

Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 1,180
Fat: 39 g (Saturated fat: 19 g)
Sodium: 2,640 mg
Carbs: 164 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 45 g

Panera Bread’s Bacon Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl is the least healthy option despite its comfort-food appeal. With 1,180 calories per bowl, 19 grams of saturated fat, and 2,640 milligrams of sodium, this menu item checks all the boxes we recommend limiting for heart health. Dropping the bread bowl reduces your calories here by 670 and 164 grams of carbohydrates.

 10 Unhealthiest Panera Menu Items

Tender Greens Happier Vegan with Baked Falafel

Tender Greens Happier Vegan with Baked Falafel
Tender Greens

Nutrition (Per bowl):
Calories: 1,449
Fat: 108 g (Saturated fat: 10 g)
Sodium: 2,582 mg
Carbs: 90 g (Fiber: 20 g, Sugar: 15 g)
Protein: 28 g

Despite its plant-based allure, Tender Greens’ Happier Vegan with Baked Falafel bowl packs a staggering 1,449 calories per serving, likely due to higher fat ingredients like the dressing and pesto. With 108 grams of fat, 2,582 milligrams of sodium, and 90 grams of carbohydrates, this vegan-friendly meal made with baked falafel, farro salad, hummus, pasta pearls, cherry tomatoes, baby lettuces, sunflower seed pesto, and sherry vinaigrette is less-than-balanced. We do love the 28 grams of protein and 20 grams of fiber here, but the trade-off doesn’t quite work out in its favor when you consider the whole nutrition label.

 The 10 Best Salad Chains In America

Chop’t Chicken Tinga Bowl

Chop't Chicken Tinga Bowl

Nutrition (Per bowl, with grains):
Calories: 760
Fat: 30 g (Saturated fat: 9 g)
Sodium: 1,588 mg
Carbs: 89 g (Fiber: 15 g, Sugar: 3 g)
Protein: 40 g

While providing a redeeming 40 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber (that’s over 50% of your Daily Value!), the Chop’t Chicken Tinga Bowl is the highest-calorie option on the Chop’t menu, making it one of the unhealthiest choices if you’re looking for a well-balanced option.

Despite its deceptive appearance as a healthier option with colorful veggies like kale, avocado, and beans, the Chicken Tinga Bowl packs a high-caloric punch, boasting 760 calories per bowl. With 9 grams of saturated fat from cotija cheese and 1,588 milligrams of sodium, over 50% of the daily recommended allowance, it might not be the best choice for those mindful of their heart health.

Just Salad Buffalo Chicken Wrap

Just Salad Buffalo Chicken Wrap
Just Salad

Nutrition (Per wrap):
Calories: 610
Fat: 44 g (Saturated fat: 11 g)
Sodium: 1,040 mg
Carbs: 49 g (Fiber: 37 g, Sugar: 4 g)
Protein: 39 g

The Buffalo Chicken Wrap—featuring romaine, cabbage, chicken, cheddar, crispy onions, and carrots all coated in a spicy buffalo ranch—appears to be balanced, but it is one of the highest-calorie options at Just Salad. With 11 grams of saturated fat and 1,040 milligrams of sodium, this choice delivers nearly half a day’s worth of each. However, with an impressive 37 grams of fiber, just 4 grams of sugar, and a considerable 39 grams of protein, this wrap is not an unhealthy choice overall—it’s just not your healthiest option at Just Salad. The “Hero Wraps” alone contribute 33 grams of fiber here. If you’re looking for a lower-calorie alternative, opt for the buffalo chicken salad instead to save on calories, fat, and sodium.

 The 6 Healthiest Fast-Food Wraps—and 5 To Avoid

Fresh & Co Chorizo Breakfast Burrito

Fresh & Co Chorizo Breakfast Burrito
Fresh & Co

Nutrition (Per wrap, chorizo):
Calories: 770
Fat: 40 g (Saturated fat: 18 g)
Sodium: 1170 mg
Carbs: 65 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 39 g

This Breakfast Burrito is one of the unhealthiest orders at Fresh & Co. With a hefty 770 calories per wrap, 18 grams of saturated fat, and 1,170 milligrams of sodium, you’ll hit over a day’s worth of saturated fat intake and nearly half a day’s worth of added sodium in just one menu item. We do love that this wrap delivers 39 grams of protein from chorizo, eggs, refried beans, and queso fresco, making it a more balanced option than most fast-food breakfast joints.

 The 9 Unhealthiest Fast-Food Breakfast Burritos

Saladworks Avocado Cobb Wrap

Saladworks Avocado Cobb Wrap

Nutrition (Per wrap, with Thousand Island dressing):
Calories: 900
Fat: 49 g (Saturated fat: 16 g)
Sodium: 2,150 mg
Carbs: 68 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 12 g)
Protein: 43 g

The Avocado Cobb Wrap with chicken, tomatoes, avocado, egg, bacon, and bleu cheese is one of the highest-calorie and highest-sodium menu items at Saladworks. With 900 calories per wrap, 78% DV of saturated fat, and 94% DV of sodium, the nutrition profile of this menu order is not as balanced as the salad chain’s other options. Plus, with 4 grams of fiber, you can find a higher-fiber, more nutritionally balanced menu item for lower calories.

Salad and Go Cobb Wrap

Salad and Go Cobb Wrap
Salad and Go

Nutrition (Per order):
Calories: 840
Fat: 46 g (Saturated fat: 14 g)
Sodium: 2150 mg
Carbs: 56 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 50 g

The Cobb Wrap at Salad and Go might seem like a healthy option, but when you consider that for 840 calories, you also get 14 grams of saturated fat and 2,150 milligrams of sodium, this choice is not the most nutritionally balanced. We can appreciate the 50 grams of protein, but we don’t love just 1 gram of fiber in this order.

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