Anna Gragert
February 03, 2016 4:13 pm

When you’re in a rush, trying to make healthy food choices, and a fast food restaurant is your only option, a game of word association tends to be really helpful. For instance, when you’re looking at a menu and see the word kale, you probably think healthy and – voila! – your quest is complete.

Unfortunately, such a mission isn’t always that sample. Take McDonald’s new “Keep Calm, Caesar On” salad, which contains a lettuce blend, crispy or grilled chicken, bacon, garlic focaccia croutons, shaved parmesan, and yes, kale. By itself, the crispy chicken version of the salad is 520 calories, consisting of 31 grams of fat and 1140 milligrams of protein.


However, when you add the accompanying Asiago Caesar Dressing, those numbers go up significantly: 730 calories, 53 grams of fat, and 1,400 mg of sodium. Registered dietician Shauna Lindzon tells CBC News, “Health-wise, I think it’s fat and sodium overload. By eating that salad, you’re getting your sodium [about 1,500 milligrams] for the day.”

Kripke Enterprises / Giphy

Now, let’s compare. CBC revealed that the “Keep Calm, Caesar On” salad has more sodium, fat, and calories than a Double Big Mac. Specifically, according to McDonald’s Nutrition Centre, there’s a difference of 50 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 60 mg of salt – but what else has fewer calories, fat, and salt than the seemingly healthy salad?

Surprisingly, a medium Triple Thick Milkshake pales in comparison to the caesar salad, with the shake having 720 calories, 18 grams of fat, and 430 mg of sodium. There’s also the decadent, regular-sized Cadbury Crème Egg McFlurry, a dessert boasting a lesser 630 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 260 mg of salt.

Deedle-Dee Productions / Giphy

Aside from the dessert section of the menu, it turns out that an entire Big Breakfast – hashbrowns, a sausage patty, english muffin, pasteurized egg, and butter – is a better bet if you’re counting calories because it contains only 640 calories, 36 grams of fat, and 1130 mg of sodium.

In addition, the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese incorporates 10 calories more than the salad, but loses in the fat and sodium department. The salad actually makes up for the difference with 10 more grams of fat and an additional 130 mg of salt.

HBO Independent Productions / Giphy

The takeaway: “kale” doesn’t always translate to “healthy.” Also, nutritional info is crazy informative.