Fast Food Face-Off: Salads

Our next installment in the quest for healthy lunches is a throwdown between Saladworks and Così

Which leafy lunch will win this battle for healthiest meal?

A typical go-to option for a healthy lunch is, of course, a salad. But sneaky add-ins like croutons, bacon bits, crumbled cheese and creamy dressings can turn a smart choice into a huge setback. In the next installment of my mission to find the healthiest and tastiest fast food lunches around, I tried salads at two popular spots: Saladworks and Così. Here’s how they stack up.

I ordered:  The Autumn Harvest Salad, a little Thanksgiving garden including turkey, dried cranberries, carrots, corn, apple chips and sunflower seeds atop a bed of lettuce. I dressed it with light raspberry vinaigrette and added a wheat roll.

Calories: 535
Calories from Fat: 98
Total Fat: 21g
Cholesterol: 19 mg
Sodium: 520 mg
Fiber: 19 g
Protein: 20 g

Price: $8

Comments: The portion was large enough to fill me up but didn’t feel heavy. The apple chips added a satisfying crunch, but the turkey was so flavorless it could have been left out entirely. Also, like most salads, I found it absurdly overpriced.

I ordered: The Bombay Chicken Salad with fat-free balsamic vinaigrette: a mix of roasted red pepper, chopped cucumbers, red onion and Tandoori chicken. Plus a slice of whole grain flatbread.

Calories: 399
Calories from Fat: 38
Total Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 33 mg
Sodium: 807 mg
Fiber: 7 g
Protein: 28 g

Price: $8

Comments: The peppers were delicious, the cucumbers fresh and crunchy, and the Tandoori chicken a nice punch of flavor. And if you cut out the bread (tasty as it is), the salad weighs in at only 164 calories—a super guilt-free but totally satisfying lunch.

The Verdict
Così. At the same price and roughly the same size as Saladworks’ Autumn Harvest, the Bombay Chicken had fewer calories, less fat, and more protein. But the real reason it wins is that it delivered on flavor; Saladworks didn’t quite hit the mark. In the end, Indian spices claimed victory over the bland fall flavors.

Miss Kathryn’s sandwich showdown? Check out her Wawa vs. Potbelly competition.