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Your Comprehensive Guide to McDonald’s Salads: What You Need to Know Before Ordering

McDonald’s Salad: What to know before you order

McDonald’s, the iconic fast food chain, has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1940s. Over the years, the menu has evolved to meet the changing tastes and preferences of customers. While the classic burgers and fries remain favorites, McDonald’s has also introduced healthier options, including a variety of salads. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know before ordering a McDonald’s salad.

How many salads are there at McDonald’s?

McDonald’s offers three types of salads on its menu. They are the Bacon Ranch, the Southwest, and the Side Salad. The Bacon Ranch Salad is a meat lover’s delight, with a double dose of bacon and either grilled or fried chicken. It is packed with a variety of lettuce, tomatoes and garnishes. The Southwest Salad, on the other hand, has a Tex-Mex theme and features chicken, beans, tortilla strips, corn, lime, and a Southwest dressing sauce. The Side Salad is a simpler option with red and green lettuce, carrots, spinach, tomato, and kale.

When did McDonald’s start making salads?

McDonald’s added salads to its menu in 1987 in response to growing awareness of the harmful effects of fatty, fried foods. The initial salad options were Garden, Chef’s and Shrimp. In 2003, McDonald’s launched its Premium Salad program, furthering its investment in green, leafy meals. Over the years, the menu has evolved, and the Bacon Ranch and Southwest salads have become the company’s flagship offerings. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these salads were temporarily removed from the menu. There is hope for their return in the future, as McDonald’s salads continue to be popular internationally.

How much do McDonald’s salads cost?

The price of McDonald’s salads can vary slightly depending on the location, but generally the Bacon Ranch and Southwest Salads are priced around $5.49 each. The Side Salad, a smaller option, is available for around $1.49. It is worth noting that despite the availability of healthier ingredients, McDonald’s salads are among the best-selling items at the restaurant.

Nutritional information for McDonald’s salads

McDonald’s provides nutritional information for all of its salads on its website. The Side Salad is the healthiest option, with only 20 calories, 10 milligrams of sodium and no fat. The bacon ranch salad with grilled chicken has 260 calories, 9 grams of fat and 1,010 milligrams of sodium. The crispy chicken version of the Bacon Ranch salad has 370 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 970 milligrams of sodium. The Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken has 320 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 960 milligrams of sodium, while the Crispy Chicken version has 430 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 920 milligrams of sodium. It is important to note that these salads are relatively high in vitamins and fiber compared to other menu items.

What do McDonald’s salads taste like?

Taste is subjective, but reviews of McDonald’s salads provide some insight. The Bacon Ranch salad has received mixed reviews, with some finding it lacking in flavor despite the variety of ingredients. The Southwest Salad, on the other hand, has been praised for its generous size, crunchiness, and flavorful Tex-Mex elements. The Side Salad was described as a fresh and healthy alternative to French fries, although some criticized its portion size.
In conclusion, McDonald’s salads offer a range of options for those seeking healthier alternatives at the fast food chain. With choices such as Bacon Ranch, Southwest, and the Side Salad, customers can enjoy a variety of flavors and ingredients. While the taste may vary, McDonald’s salads offer nutritional value and are a popular choice among customers. So next time you visit McDonald’s, consider trying their salads and enjoy a lighter meal option.


Yes, McDonald’s salads can be a healthier choice than some other menu items. They tend to be lower in calories and fat and contain a variety of vegetables. However, it’s important to consider the dressing and toppings you choose, as they can add calories and sodium. Choose lighter dressings and watch portion sizes.

What types of salads are available at McDonald’s?

McDonald’s offers three major types of salads: Bacon Ranch, Southwest and the Side Salad. The Bacon Ranch Salad features bacon, grilled or fried chicken, and a mix of lettuce and garnishes. The Southwest Salad has a Tex-Mex theme and includes chicken, beans, tortilla strips and corn. The Side Salad is a simpler option with lettuce, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, and kale.

Are McDonald’s salads gluten-free?

While McDonald’s salads themselves do not contain gluten, cross-contamination can occur during the preparation process. Therefore, individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease should exercise caution and consider the potential risk of cross-contact with gluten-containing ingredients during food preparation.

Can I customize my McDonald’s salad?

Yes, you can customize your McDonald’s salad to some extent. For certain salads, you can choose between grilled or fried chicken and select your preferred dressing. However, please note that not all customization options may be available at every McDonald’s location.

What are the best dressings to choose for a healthier McDonald’s salad?

For a healthier option, consider lighter dressings such as balsamic vinaigrette, Italian or low-fat options. These dressings generally have fewer calories and less fat than creamy or high-calorie dressings like ranch or Caesar. You can also ask for the dressing on the side and use it sparingly to control the amount you consume.

Are McDonald’s salads suitable for vegetarians or vegans?

McDonald’s salads can be suitable for vegetarians, but options may be more limited for vegans. The side salad is a vegetarian-friendly choice, while the Bacon Ranch and Southwest salads contain meat. Vegans may need to modify salads by omitting animal-based ingredients and checking for hidden sources of animal products in dressings or toppings. It’s always a good idea to ask the staff for ingredient information to ensure your dietary needs are met.

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