McDonald’s Salads Are Going Downhill

February 6, 2018   32 Comments

McDonald’s salads could be a life-saver when you are on the road and looking for a healthy meal.

McDonalds Salads

I certainly have turned to them when I am out looking for something fast. Last year, McDonald’s added a bunch of new salads – some of them had edamame and kale!

I was excited that McDonald’s had decided to add more vegetables to their menu because they feed so many people every day. You are probably wondering why a healthy food blogger (me) spends any time talking about McDonald’s as it is the home of some the most unhealthy food on the planet.

My goal is to find a way to eat there because they are in every town and sometimes multiple corners in the same town. You cannot miss the place and I keep hoping that they will get on the healthy train.

I stopped into McDonald’s last week to discover there are only two salads on the menu – Bacon Ranch and the Southwest Salad. What happened to kale?

I decided to go with the Southwest Salad instead of the Bacon Ranch because it sounded much healthier. Does bacon ranch sound like a healthy choice to you?

With the grilled chicken the nutrition facts for the bacon ranch salad are:

320 calories, 14 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 9 g carbohydrates, 4 g sugar, 42 g protein, 3 g fiber, 1230 mg sodium, 6 Freestyle SmartPts

The sodium is off the hook. The above nutrition facts are without dressing! Keep that in mind when you order it.

Below is my salad. I chose the grilled chicken since deep-fried breaded chicken is not a healthy choice.

I did not use the dressing on the salad because it already has a “cilantro lime glaze” and they give you a fresh lime to squeeze on it.

Do you know what blows my mind about this salad (other than the cheese which is unnecessary)? These slices of Doritos!!

Does anyone want Doritos in their salad? YUCK! I’ll eat Doritos from a bowl by themselves but I don’t think they should be mixed into food (as they are not food).

The nutrition facts for the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad are:

350 calories, 11 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 27.0 g carbohydrates, 9 g sugar, 37 g protein, 6 g fiber, 1070 mg sodium, 8 Freestyle Smart Pts

(For the Weight Watcher’s members – I took out the chicken and other zero point foods when I calculated the points.)

I should have gone with the Bacon Ranch without the ranch! Wow!

I still did better than the Big Mac (540 calories, 28 grams of fat) but I am not impressed. My salad was not good. The chips, cheese, and glaze were strange. There was this sweet flavor – 9 grams of sugar is almost 2 teaspoons.

Now I know why the other salads failed at McDonalds. If you want something healthy, these are still bad choices.

Have you tried the salads at McDonald’s? What did you think?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 32 )

I won't eat McDonald's anymore unless I absolutely want a breakfast burrito. The last time I went and ordered a Yogurt Fruit Parfait, there was no fruit in it. Instead, it was fruit flavored yogurt WTH! We also have those two types of salads and the side salad.

Plus, they're adding in kiosks where you order your food instead of the checkout line. I suppose it's supposed to be faster. It's not! I still waited 10 minutes for my food.

McDonald's is crap food.

McDonald's is the last place on earth that I would go to for a meal so I have ZERO expectations from them. I am obviously not their target customer based on their offerings. During the summer we may stop by for an occasional ice cream cone as a sweet treat but thats it.

A Bottle of water and a grilled chicken sandwich without mayo and with only half the bun, is the healthiest quick meal choice if you must go !

I won't eat at that place at all.

I Make home cooked meals at home.

Why does everyone always bash McDonald's when it comes to fast food? They're all bad! Same for most restaurants too! People say they're too busy to cook but maybe if they'd put their phones down, they'd have time.

I like the Chick-fil-a Grilled Market salad with just a touch of dressing.

i’d rather starve to death than eat at a mcdonald’s.


I love all your savvy readers Lisa! Have you ever heard someone say "there's no one worse than an ex-smoker?" An ex-smoker abhors the stench of cigarette smoke on someone's clothes or EVEN in the fresh air! That's me. Only with fast food. The stench of frying potatoes and cheap meat & "bread" is my anathema. Just like smokers today look back and say ''what was I thinking?", so it will be one day with fast food. As McD’s goes down, our health consciousness goes up!

I like the egg McMuffin and a large seltzer water, though the cheese should probably be taken off ;-p McDonalds should consider bringing back edamame as a side, as they’re easy to keep frozen and just steam up in the microwave when needed. I’m sure they’d add some weird salty sugary glaze though - heh

I like McDonalds. We go there a lot. I do eat their salads, sandwiches etc. Wish they werebetter for us but they must have some nutrition in them. Baked chicken, lettuce greens? Doubt that I will stop eating there. IT still taste good to me. There does not seem to be anything that is nutricious anymore no matter how hard I try. the heck with it. Enjoy what you eat!

A commenter talked about the kiosks where your order on a screen. These are actually great because you can customize your meal (add and remove ingredients). This is how I found out that there are things you don't even realize being added to your food (like butter for example) and you can select to remove them from your meal. So If you'd like, you could have an Egg McMuffin, with no butter, no cheese, and TWO eggs in it! Give it a try and you might be pleasantly surprised how you can customize their food to make them not as bad. We all know McD is not the healthiest but it could be a lot worse and on the rare occasion we do go there it is very convenient (especially with kids).

I like their salads but we often go to McALister's. They primarily have sandwiches, soups and salads and everything is customizable. Their roast beef is not like deli but like fresh roast beef. Their salads are large and delicious. They have take-out. Even Subway has better choices. Choose someplace better than McD's.

I do order and recommend their Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad but you can easily have them hold the chips and cheese. No big deal and you then get some lean protein and some vegetables and decrease the fat. Customize is the name of the game!

Those Dorito things used to come in a packet on the side. Wish they'd go back to that . I use a small amount of the salad dressing. Who ever decided that huge package of dressing was a single serving?

I haven't walked into McDonalds in over 10 years. Even as a vegetarian I couldn't eat there, not even the fries because they seem to be flavored with beef. Wendy's is a far better choice for me. I can have a plain baked potato with plain broccoli. At least I feel as though I've eaten real food.

I haven't had McDonalds' "food" since I was twelve years old. Salads probably didn't sell well with lots of waste. People go there for junk food.

I am shocked by your 1st sentence. “ McDonald’s salads could be a life-saver when you are on the road and looking for a healthy meal.“ Seriously?? I will pull in a Kwik Trip & buy a banana & Apple with a water first. There is nothing remotely healthy at McDonald’s. Their salads have never been good. I love salad but what they serve is certainly no salad. It is crap.

According to the new restaurant guide on the WW app, McDonald's Southwest salad with grilled chicken, with cilantro dressing is only 4 freestyle Smart Points. I think it is quite good, but of course too much salt. You can also order it without the chip strips.

I usually avoid McDonald's because it's mostly junk food. It's a shame their salads are high in sodium, because otherwise I could get one there since they seem to be all right.

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for Paula C - -I think "shock" is an overstatement. I am shocked by the endless violence in the world not McD's food.

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