Healthy Fast-Food Salad Guidelines

Make sure your fast-food salads are as healthy as you think they are with these simple salad guidelines.

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You may think that you're cutting calories and opting for the healthier option when you order a salad at a fast-food restaurant. But shockingly, many fast-food salads may be packed with fat and can contain even more calories than a cheeseburger and fries! Know to avoid the sneaky calorie traps hiding in your favorite salads with these easy fast-food salad guidelines.

Rule 1: Downsize
Many fast-food restaurants offer half-size salad portions that are still plenty big enough for one meal. If you're looking to halve your calories, just ask!

Rule 2: Swap your meats
Fried meats nearly always have way more calories and fat than grilled meat. Ask if you can swap out your fried chicken topping for a grilled chicken option.

Rule 3: Use the fork method
If you check the nutrition info on the package, you'll be surprised – dressing is often the major source of fat and calories in salads. To make sure you're not overdoing the dressing, try the fork method. Instead of drenching your salad in dressing, dip your fork in a little bit of dressing before each bite and then dive into your salad. Try not to use more than half the package of dressing, or swap it for a package of mustard, which is tasty and has few calories.

Rule 4: Pick the best lettuce
Always go for a dark green lettuce like spinach, kale, arugula or romaine. These have more vitamins and minerals than iceberg lettuce. If you like iceberg, ask for a mix of iceberg and healthier lettuce.

Rule 5: Choose bright veggies
The more colorful your salad, the more nutrients it likely has. Choose at least three brightly-colored veggies. Cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots are great picks to help you feel full.

Rule 6: Mix up your toppings
Toppings can really get you when it comes to calories – but they can also make or break a salad. Choose two toppings: one crunchy and one soft. Good soft choices are avocado, cheese or one whole egg. Nuts or seeds make a healthy crunchy choice.

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