A Surprise at Wendy’s

Wendy's Healthy Choice

June 9, 2015   25 Comments

A reader asked me to discover the healthy options at Wendy’s and report back.

I am usually up for a challenge so I decided to go to my local Wendy’s and see what was there. I seem to remember a salad bar at one point. Right now, I will admit to NOT doing any research (as I was confident that I could figure it out) before I got there.

Well, there isn’t a salad bar – but there was this sign:

In fact, there was a whole bunch of photos of salads around Wendy’s and they were serving organic green tea (wow). I was thinking – this is going to be easy! All I have to do is order a salad and I will have a healthy meal.

So, I picked the salad that I liked the sound of “Spicy Chicken Caesar” and paid my $6.50.

Boy, did I feel like an idiot when this showed up:

Who puts fried chicken on a salad? That is like ordering a hot fudge sundae and drinking a diet coke – it simply doesn’t make any sense. I assumed I was getting grilled chicken – duh.

Turns out I could have ordered the grilled chicken INSTEAD but I didn’t do my research so I was without a clue.

I did eat all of it without finding out until later that I ate 700 calories of fried chicken salad. Whoops! I will say that the romaine lettuce was very fresh as were the tomatoes. This was the best fast food salad that I have ever had in terms of crunchiness of greens.

Since I visited, I found that they have an app that allows you to look through their menu and determine the healthiest options. I think it is an excellent resource for navigating Wendy’s and if I was more together - I would have used it.

Here is the salad I should have ordered – though I will say that the sugar and sodium are too high for me to deem it "healthy".

Asian Cashew Chicken Full Salad

380 calories, 13 g fat, 2.0 g saturated fat, 33.0 g carbohydrates, 18 g sugar, 36 g protein, 1080 mg sodium, 7 Points+

You can order any of their salads in half portions – and that is going to keep the dollar amount you spend and the number of calories you inhale way down compared to something like a “Baconator”.

I believe I was the only one in the Wendy's that didn't order the Baconator that afternoon.

What do you eat at Wendy’s? Do you like their salads?


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First 20 Comments: [ see all 25 ]

I'm not a fan of the current oriental chicken salad...too spicy for me. But, the fresh strawberry salad (seasonal) is great!

on June 9, 2015

I usually get that Asian Cashew Chicken Full Salad, but only use one packet of salad dressing (they give two). A small chili isn't too bad. And that's about it at Wendy's for me.

on June 9, 2015

Hi love their strawberry fields salad, but I don't know how healthy it is.

on June 9, 2015

I usually have their baked potato (minus the sour cream and butter) with a small cup of chili. I dump the chili over the potato and enjoy. I know it's not the healthiest but it's better than other options. My question also is how healthy is the strawberry salad that's being advertised now? Thank you love your website!

on June 9, 2015

I have the Asisan Cashew Chicken salad with one packet of dressing or skip the dressing all together to lower the sodium a tad bit.

on June 9, 2015

Apple pecan salad all the way 😍

on June 9, 2015

I usually order a small chili 170 cal. baked potato plain around 170 cal. and a small garden salad so you're really full but not over eating

on June 9, 2015

CHILI!! Their chili is fantastic and easy enough to recreate at home. I usually pair it with a baked potato. I'm not a fan of fast food burgers (except maybe from Harvey's) since I find them to taste too salty. I'll usually pick up some extras from Wendy's or the like and bring them home to MY burgers. Unless we're going to Harvey's in which case I make my burger with tzatziki sauce (they have that now) and some red onion rings (they have that now too). Simple, light, and yummy ^_^

on June 9, 2015

I like the small chili 4pts+ and the apple pecan salad without the pecans and the dressing, the small is 5pts+. I love the strawberry salad which is seasonal and a small without the dressing is 6pts+. Wendy's has the best choices for healthy of the traditional fast food restaurants. Worth knowing when your on the road and don't have time for the more sit down restaurant.

on June 9, 2015

I will have to admit that there I times when I do really crave the spicy chicken, so I order the 1/2 salad so it's not as "bad." My other option is a small chili which I add to a plain bake potatoe and a small side salad with no dressing or a small side salad with a small chili (which I add on top of the salad, so I don't need dressing).

on June 9, 2015

I like the BBQ salad--I get extra BBQ sauce instead of dressing and a half salad is 8PP.
In the Cincinnati area you can buy a piece of grilled chicken so I have a dinner of a plain potato, a piece of chicken, and a side salad.
This is a healthy meal for a single person and I don't have to deal with leftovers.

on June 9, 2015

I really like the apple pecan salad, 1/2 order, with maybe a quarter packet of pomegrante salad dressing. It's still pretty expensive but I only get it occasionally.

on June 9, 2015

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for the review of McDonald's salad last week. I had a bad experience years ago (chunks of white iceburg) and had never tried them again. But I really enjoyed the salad. I'd love to hear/see what other fast food options I can keep in my pocket when I'm in a pinch. thanks!

on June 9, 2015

I haven't eaten at Wendy's in quite a few years. But when I did eat there it was always a small chili cup and baked potato.

on June 9, 2015

Poor, (delicious if it's real) old Caesar salad has become so far removed from the original recipe. Tomatoes are never in a Caesar salad.

on June 9, 2015

Haven't been to Wendy's in forever, but did see that they added a whole new line of salads? Could you have gotten some of the newer ones and eliminated some of the ingredients?
I do like that you said that you can order a half size, that is brilliant.
When I used to eat at Wendy's (before Weight Watchers) my "go to" was a TRIPLE with extra mayo and extra large fries..."Oh Yesssssssssss SHE DID!!!!!" What was I thinking???

on June 9, 2015

I used to get salads from the fast food places, but to tell the truth they tend to be worst off then the actual fatty meals. Even if you ordered grilled chicken instead of crispy on the salad the grilled chicken is already grilled they just cut it and put it on the chicken. So if I want a salad I make it myself. I make a Bomb Million Dollar salad that I picked up from Brenda Leigh Turner (YouTube)and then i just add my 4 oz of protein. But I do like there seasonal ice tea because it's usually fruit puree and tea they don't add sugar to it (usually). I remember one Season was a berry mix and I could tell that it had you know that syrup liquid going because of how it slurped through my straw. It wasn't bad, but I was like "How much sugar did I just slurp up?

on June 9, 2015

I had gastric bypass surgery in 1999. This meant drastic changes in my diet. I was to eat high protein foods,and Wendy's chilli was on the top of the list for fast food options. High protein, low fat & sugar.

on June 9, 2015

I love Wendy's salads. This time of the year it is the strawberry one I eat most. There is a chart on the wall at our Wendy's that gives the calories, fat content,etc. to help us make healthy choices.

on June 9, 2015

Wendy's has always been the best option for fast food places IMO. I love the apple pecan salad. and it's always a good idea to ask about the chicken when ordering. Even if it's not on the menu, they should be able to do a plain grilled chicken. No sense in getting extra calories, etc. when all it takes is a minute to ask!

on June 9, 2015

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