13 Fast Foods Salads That Are Delish, (Sorta) Healthy, and Cheap

These fast food salads are surprisingly tasty and kind to your wallet.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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Fast food is often synonymous with junk food, but health fanatics frequently overlook the pros of major chains. Convenience and the ability to save money on dining out are two main factors.

These benefits may outweigh the lack of nutritional value for many busy households — especially with egregious food inflation. However, just because you’re eating fast doesn’t mean you have to eat badly. Keep an eye out for these salads during your next drive-thru trip.

Editor’s note: Prices are subject to change and may vary by location.

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Wendy’s: Cobb Salad

Courtesy of Wendy's cobb salad

Wendy’s has a wide variety of salads on its menu, including the popular Cobb Salad.

This salad costs $7.69 and includes lettuce, grilled chicken, applewood smoked bacon, crispy onions, tomatoes, eggs, shredded cheese, and ranch. It has 420 calories, and the ranch packet adds 250.

Wendy’s: Apple Pecan Salad

Courtesy of Wendy's apple pecan salad

Another delicious, healthier option at Wendy’s is the Apple Pecan Salad, which is made of lettuce, grilled chicken, roasted pecans, bleu cheese crumbles, apple bites, dried cranberries, and a pomegranate vinaigrette.

This salad also costs $7.69, and it has 450 calories for the salad and 90 calories for the dressing.

Wendy’s: Parmesan Caesar Salad

Courtesy of Wendy's parmesan caesar salad

The lowest-calorie salad at Wendy’s is their Parmesan Caesar Salad, which also costs $7.69.

The salad includes lettuce, a cheese blend, grilled chicken, crouton and parmesan crisp crumbles, and Caesar dressing. It has 290 calories, and the dressing has 240.

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Panera: Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

Courtesy of Panera Bread strawberry poppyseed salad

Panera is generally considered a healthier fast-food option, but its salads are great for those who want to be even cleaner with their eating.

Their strawberry poppyseed salad is a flavorful and affordable option. It costs $9.99 for a salad and a side. The salad includes lettuce, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, pecans, and a poppyseed dressing. 

The salad itself is only 240 calories, with the baguette side being an additional 180.

Panera: Greek Salad

Courtesy of Panera Bread greek salad

Panera’s Greek Salad is another healthier fast-food menu item, slightly higher in calories at 410 for a whole salad. It's also available in half sizes.

The salad comes with lettuce, tomatoes, feta, cucumbers, olives, red onions, pepperoncini peppers, salt and pepper, and a Greek dressing (plus a side), all for $9.69.

Chipotle: Salad Bowl

Courtesy of Chipotle salad bowl

The next time you’re at Chipotle, consider swapping out your burrito or tacos for a salad bowl instead.

You can customize your salad however you want, but the $10.75 bowl includes protein, rice, beans, several toppings and salsas, and a side of chipotle honey vinaigrette. 

What you opt for will also affect calories, with the lowest-calorie protein options being steak and sofritas, each 150 calories. The vinaigrette has 220 calories.

Taco Bell: Veggie Bowl

Courtesy of Taco Bell veggie bowl

Taco Bell also has a healthier Veggie Bowl menu item if you’re looking for a cheap but delicious fast-food salad.

The bowl costs $7.99 and includes lettuce, black beans, rice, purple cabbage, pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, and avocado ranch, which totals 420 calories.

Chick-fil-A: Market Salad

Courtesy of Chick-fil-A market salad

Chick-fil-A may be known for its chicken sandwiches, but they have a handful of delicious salads as well.

Their Market Salad costs $9.75 and includes lettuce, blueberries, apples, strawberries, bleu cheese, granola, almonds, grilled chicken, and an apple cider vinaigrette. It is their lowest-calorie salad, totaling 550 calories.

Chick-fil-A: Spicy Southwest Salad

Courtesy of Chick-fil-A spicy southwest salad

Another salad option is Chick-fil-A’s Spicy Southwest Salad, which costs $9.75.

This salad has 680 calories and includes lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, cheddar cheese, grilled chicken, tortilla strips, chili lime pepitas, and a creamy salsa dressing.

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Subway: Veggie Delight Salad

Courtesy of Subway veggie delight salad

Next time you go to Subway, skip the sandwich line and ask for one of their many salads instead, or make your own.

The Veggie Delight Salad, consisting of lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives, and red onions, is only 50 calories on its own and costs $7.09. You can add any number of dressings, which will bump up the calorie count,

Subway: Grilled Chicken Salad

Courtesy of Subway grilled chicken salad

Subway’s Grilled Chicken Salad is largely the same as the Veggie Delight, except for the addition of grilled chicken.

This protein boost bumps the price to $8.59 and the calorie count to 130. Red wine vinegar is the lowest-calorie dressing option, at zero, followed by buffalo sauce, at 10 calories.

Subway: BLT No Bready Bowl

Courtesy of Subway no bready bowl

Subway also offers most of their sandwiches in a No Bready Bowl option, replacing the bread with lettuce.

The BLT No Bready Bowl costs $7.99 and includes lettuce, spinach, bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives, and red onions, totaling 300 calories.

Dairy Queen: Crispy Chicken Strips Salad Bowl

Courtesy of Dairy Queen crispy chicken strips salad bowl

If you’re going to Dairy Queen, odds are it’s for a delicious ice cream or frozen dessert. You may be surprised that they also have salad options, giving you a healthy option.

The Crispy Chicken Strips Salad Bowl is $6.99 and includes lettuce, crispy chicken, tomatoes, bacon, and cheddar cheese for 430 calories. It also comes with a house-made ranch, which adds an extra 100 calories.

Bottom line

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Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Plenty of salad options at most major fast-food chains are affordable, delicious, and convenient.

If you’re trying to eat cleaner, you can still go out to eat more with family and friends without compromising your food goals or your bank account.

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Lucy Clark

Lucy Clark has considerable experience writing about real estate, as well as homes and gardens, home value, and more. She is savvy and resourceful, and she aims to ensure others can be, as well.