9. Salt Content
If you are looking to avoid excess salt in your diet, a McDonald’s salad may not be the best choice for you. Salt makes its way into these salads through the chicken seasonings, cheese, and bacon ingredients. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your salt intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. Unfortunately, the Bacon Ranch Salad with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken comes in at a whopping 1,120 mg of sodium. This means one salad can use up half of your daily salt allowance. Skip these toppings and stick to a light vinaigrette if you are limiting your sodium intake.
The salads at McDonald’s may contain some healthful ingredients such as protein, fiber, and antioxidants. However, depending on the toppings and on your choice of dressing, they may also be high in calories. In fact, some salads may even be higher in calories than a burger. According to the McDonald’s nutrition calculator, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese contains 540 calories. Meanwhile, the Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad provides 520 calories without the dressing. While the low-fat Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing contains only 40 calories, a packet of ranch adds an extra 200 calories.
The carbohydrates in McDonald’s salads come from several sources. The side salad and Bacon Ranch Salad with grilled chicken contain only 3 grams and 8 grams of carbs, respectively. The crunchy buttermilk coating on the crispy chicken salads adds carbohydrates. The Southwest Chicken Salad includes additional carbohydrates in the form of tortilla strips. The Southwest Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken is the salad highest in carbs, containing 46 grams. To decrease the carbs in this salad option, choose the grilled chicken, and skip the tortilla strips.