CHICAGO (CBS) — When you are hungry and on the run, it’s easy to dash into a fast-food restaurant.
Many of them are offering foods that seem healthier. So, what’s lower in calories, a salad or a burger?
As CBS 2’s Mary Kay Kleist reports, sometimes the answers will surprise you.
Fast-food chains are trying to shape up their menus. But, are those choices really healthy?
Take McDonald’s oatmeal.
“All of those toppings can really add up.”
If you get the oatmeal fully loaded with fruit, sugar and cream, it’s 290 calories — only 10 fewer calories than an Egg McMuffin, and more sugar than a Snicker’s bar!
“Instead of getting the cream and the dried fruit, knock those off, and then you’ll have a delicious bowl of whole grain oatmeal that will keep you feeling full,” registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner says.
Surely a salad is healthy, right? Blatner cautions: “Just because it sounds healthy, doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy.”
At Wendy’s, an apple pecan chicken salad weighs in at 580 calories. For the same amount of calories, you can order a double-stack burger and fries. The salad also has more fat than in three junior-sized vanilla Frosties.
Chick-Fil-A’s large carrot and raisin salad has almost as many calories, 390, as four Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
And three salads from Corner Bakery have more than 800 calories each.
“That’s more calories than all the sandwiches, all the paninis and most of the pasta dishes there,” Blatner says.
The veggie burger from Burger King, with 410 calories, has more calories and fat than a regular cheeseburger. BK’s Tender Grill Chicken Sandwich is even worse at 470 calories. It 1,100 mg of sodium, the same amount of salt in 117 Pringles or 220 Fritos.
CBS 2 got all of the nutrition information from the restaurants’ own websites.
You can do that too. But, if you forget to or don’t have time, remember to order dressings on the side and use them sparingly to make any salad healthier.
You can also cut out nuts, cheese, mayonnaise and bread to trim calories, fat and salt from just about any dish.