Burger King announced plans to add new salads to its menu, which are said to be targeted to “health conscious fast foodies”. Sounds good in theory, but let’s be honest, who actually goes to a fast food restaurant for a salad? And even if they were healthy (which they’re not), this is really more of a PR move by them instead of a proactive approach to getting Americans to eat better.
The new Garden Fresh Salads include a Chicken BLT ($5.39); Chicken, Apple & Cranberry ($5.39) and Crisp Chicken Caesar ($4.99). Burger King’s current national menu is limited to Tendergrill and Tendercrisp Garden Salads with chicken and a small side salad. But none of these are likely to be good choices.
Take for example their current garden salad. If you opt for the creamy caesar dressing, it contains 250 calories, 23 grams of fat and 660 mg of sodium. Keep in mind, the Mayo Clinic recommends 44-78 grams of fat a day and no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day (1,500 if you’re over the age of 51). So, eating this tiny salad would give you a good portion of your daily allowances. Add their honey mustard dressing instead, and you come out with 300 calories, 25 grams of fat and 560 mg of sodium. Even if you choose their fat-free ranch dressing, you still consume 790 mg of sodium. You could always skip the dressing, but you’d still be left with a pretty nutritionally-void meal.
While their new salads are not listed yet on their nutritional menu, it’s safe to assume they won’t be any better. In fact, because they contain things like bacon and “crisp” chicken (fried?), they will likely be much worse.
But even if they were healthy, who is really going to eat them?
A recent study from food research firm Technomic which found that while Americans say they want healthier fast food options, we still choose burgers and fries instead. In fact, 47% of respondents claimed they would eat salads, but only about 23% actually order them–all of which leads us to believe that adding so-called healthier options (which we know they’re not) is really more of a PR move by Burger King and other fast food restaurants.
Not to mention the idea of eating their lettuce and other veggies is not appealing. Every time I’ve seen one of their salads, it’s complete with wilted iceburg lettuce (which does not have much nutritional value at all–one cup only has 3% vitamin C and 2% Iron) and a couple of tiny slivers of tomatoes. Who knows where this produce was imported from, how long it has been sitting around and how thoroughly all of the pesticides and other chemicals have been washed off.
There is probably nothing wrong with the occasional Whopper and fries indulgence, but as far as salads go, I think I’ll stick to making them in my own kitchen. How about you?