Food & Nutrition

8 Things You Should Know Before You Order a Salad at McDonald’s

You may think getting some greens at the fast-food chain is a healthier choice, but you might be better off ordering something else from the menu.

McDonald’s salads may have contained a dangerous parasite

RIMINI, ITALY - MAY 30, 2014: people waiting for the food service at Mc Donalds desk in the shopping mall " Le Befane " . The fast food company was founded in 1940 in San Bernardino, California.View Apart/Shutterstock

In July 2018, an outbreak of foodborne illness was linked to salads sold at McDonald’s. More than 500 people in 15 states—mainly in the Midwest—got sick with cyclosporiasis, and some were hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The condition is caused by a microscopic parasite that can cause stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. In response to the outbreak, McDonald’s stopped selling salads in 3,000 of its stores temporarily and released this statement: “Out of an abundance of caution, we voluntarily stopped selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier.”

Your salad may be a salt bomb

Sea salt on a black wooden backgroundStudio KIWI/Shutterstock

McDonald’s salads can also be high in sodium. Why? The chicken is highly seasoned. On top of that, several salads also include bacon and come with lots of cheese. Dressings can also contain a lot of sodium. “All of that together adds up from a calorie perspective but also from a salt perspective,” Brissette says. The Bacon Ranch Salad with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken, for example, contains 1,120 milligrams of sodium—nearly half the daily recommended amount. 

A salad isn’t necessarily the lowest-calorie option

Fried Chicken Fillet Stephen Tjipto Hartono/Shutterstock

You may think you’re saving a lot of calories by forgoing a burger at McDonald’s, but that’s not always true. The Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad packs 520 calories, with 25 grams of fat. By comparison, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese contains 530 calories and 28 grams of fat. “It’s surprising to people that a cheeseburger could actually be lower,” says Christy Brissette, RDN, founder and president of 80Twenty Nutrition. That’s in part because the chicken is deep-fried. Opt for the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad instead. Also, here’s a drink you should think twice about ordering at McDonald’s.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Reader's Digest