When you think about fast food, a big, greasy burger with fries or maybe onion rings on the side probably comes to mind. Maybe something with a thick, cold shake to drink, something that really satisfies. It’s indulging in meals like that too often that leads many people to start exercising and trying to get rid of the extra weight they put on with too many burgers.
These days, fast food restaurants are offering all kinds of healthier options which are prepared with the usual alacrity. It’s difficult to say which the best fast food salad is without looking at a few examples though.
McDonald’s might be well known for their burger and fries mentality dating from the 1940s but they do have a few different salads to choose from too. They might not advertise them as strongly as the beefy Big Mac sandwich but then more people want Big Macs than want salads, so it’s understandable. If you’re a fan of Caesar salad they have a good option, tasty and fresh but nothing exceptional. The fried and grilled chicken salads give a couple choices with meat as well and they do tend to sell much better than the straight veggie salads. $4 or less will make it happen at McDonald’s.
While these two top fast food restaurant chains are constantly competing with one another over bigger and better burgers and fries, there is little action in the salad department. Not surprisingly, you get the same limited selection of salads for about $4 here too. While a standard Caesar or chicken salad might not sound like the best fast food salad around, there’s something to be said for tasty staple foods. Not all burgers are great but it’s still pretty great to get a burger when you do, right?
With so many crisp and crunchy vegetables in Chinese cuisine, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Panda Express has some pretty good salad choices. They might even have the best fast food salad but that’s probably a matter of personal taste more than anything. There are so many different choices to pick from it can be difficult for someone who hasn’t eaten their food previously. While the prices are a little higher than you might be used to for a fast food salad, the food is definitely fresher. $6 doesn’t seem like a bad price for something with meat in it, either.
Famous for their focus on chicken dishes, Chick-fil-A is also a little less famous for great chicken salads. They can fry it up or grill it as you desire but the ultimate result is the same – something that tastes great. As far as chicken salads go you couldn’t ask for a better one and you probably wouldn’t get it from a place that focuses on beef, anyhow. Food here comes at a reasonable price and for about $5 you can get more than enough to satisfy your hunger for a time.
While it might not be a traditional salad, the specialty bowl offered by Kentucky Fried Chicken with the mashed potatoes, corn and gravy mixed in is still delicious. It’s also about as close as you’re going to get to a chicken salad from a fried chicken place. There’s no lettuce in there at all so some people would probably say it isn’t technically a salad. It has meat, vegetables, cheese and dressing like a salad though, so there seems to be good reason for a comparison here. If you’re going for health and not taste, this one wins hands down.
They might be selling taco salad but there’s still plenty of lettuce, beans and other healthy stuff inside the salads at Taco Bell. It might not be the best fast food salad in terms of health but if we’re talking taste, the taco salads at Taco Bell are fantastic. Get them fresh with good cheese and crunchy tortillas for a fine dining experience that doesn’t cost more than $5. Also, because convenience is so important when it comes to fast food, it’s worth mentioning that Taco Bells are open late pretty much everywhere. The salads made at the end of the day might not be so fresh though.
Wendy’s isn’t known for their salads and they sure aren’t going to win any award for having the best fast food salad. Alternatively though, they do have baked potatoes. These can be prepared in such a way as to taste great but have next to no fat and very few calories when compared to a tub of seasoned fries cooked in beef fat. Even with some sour cream, cheese and a bit of bacon, the potato from Wendy’s is still significantly better for you than the fries from another burger place. It’s worth keeping in mind, especially since it starts at a buck.
Steak n’ Shake
While salads aren’t the focus of a place built around steaks and shakes, there’s no denying that something crisp and clean to cut into the grease in a thick chunk of meat is excellent. The salads at Steak n’ Shake aren’t anything special but they do a fine job of representing what a salad is at the usual burger joint – nothing special. For about $3 you aren’t getting the best fast food salad around and you shouldn’t expect as much.
Overall, it seems the best fast food salad is probably something from Chick-fil-A. They have a way with chicken that beef-centric fast food restaurants just can’t beat. As for taste, KFC takes the top with their amazing bowls. Those things are so good it’s kind of surprising they don’t advertise them more aggressively. The worst fast food salads probably come from McDonald’s. That’s not to say the salads are bad exactly, but there’s very little done to dress them up and it’s clear McDonald’s has no faith in their own product. The salads sure don’t sell as well as big, beefy sandwiches.