Wendy's New Salads: A Healthy Choice or Fresh Marketing?Posted on Jul 13th 2010 3:00PM by Kristen Seymour
The fast food chain best known for square hamburger patties and the Frosty is promoting a new line of affordable Garden Sensations Salads (suggested price: $5.99, but that will vary by region), boasting fresh, tasty ingredients you'd expect to see in a more upscale establishment. But, as we all know, fresh and fancy doesn't always equal healthful and diet-friendly, so we dug a little deeper to see what these new menu items are really offering.
There are four new salads: Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, Baja Salad, Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad and BLT Cobb Salad. With all the fixings, they range from 580 calories and 27g of fat for the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad to 740 calories and 49g of fat for the Spicy Chicken Caesar Salads -- not exactly the lightest option, especially when you consider that you can get a Jr. Cheeseburger and small French Fries and keep it to 600 calories. (You can see all the nutrition information for these salads and other meals here.)
However, as we said, those numbers are with all the fixings, including dressing, cheeses, nuts and other "crunchies" (like croutons and tortilla strips). And that means you have a little more control over what you're consuming than these figures might lead you to believe.
"We're putting the dressing and the 'crunchies' in separate packets, so if you're looking for 'watch-outs,' you can really make the calories work for you or against you," said Denny Lynch, SVP Communications of Wendy's International. "I wouldn't take the shaved asiago cheese off myself, but these parts are under your control."
Over all, Lynch said that Wendy's believes these salads are a positive step. "Each salad has vegetables and protein, and can have fruits and nuts. You can get one to two cups of vegetables in your meal, depending on which salad you choose," he said. And for those opting for a healthy lifestyle, choosing a few hundred calories containing a couple servings of healthy stuff rather than an equal number of calories made up of fried foods is a good way to go.
Who exactly are they targeting with these new choices? "Well, we would love to tempt the hamburger and fries crowd," Lynch said, "but we're really targeting the salad lovers and the foodies who truly enjoy quality ingredients." Wendy's is making a big promise regarding freshness, saying all ingredients will be harvested and in stores within three days -- something made easier by the fact that the vast majority of the ingredients in these salads will be grown in the United States.
While these new salads might not take the place of the homemade salads we bring to work when we're counting calories, we do like the fact that a fast food restaurant is focusing on fresh, real ingredients, and making it easier for the consumer to cut down on the calories, fat and sodium by automatically putting the dressing and other toppings on the side.
Plus, any of these choices are a heck of a lot better than any of these 10 fatty fast food offenders!