Think healthy fast food is a contradiction in terms? Think again. Wendy’s new Garden Sensations Salads lineup offers four perfect choices for healthy fast food on the go.
Wendy’s Burger a Calorie Shocker
I stopped at Wendy’s hankering for one of their signature, square burgers. Wendy’s, however, now posts calories on the menu board, making healthy fast food much easier to find. There was just one problem – my burger had a four-digit price tag in the calorie department. Ouch!
Wendy’s Garden Sensations Salads
Hoping for a healthy fast food option, I checked out Wendy’s new Garden Sensations Salads lineup. There were four appealing choices, each one averaging around 400 calories for half size. I opted for Wendy’s half size Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, which came in at 420 calories with croutons and dressing.
Review: Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad
Presentation: Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad is served in a square, plastic bowl with a form-fitting lid. Garlic and black pepper croutons and lemon garlic Caesar dressing come in separate packets. Crisp, dark green romaine lettuce had been hand chopped into two-inch pieces. Four to five grape tomatoes stood out vividly against the lettuce. Shaved Asiago cheese was abundant and highly visible. Overall, the salad was visually appealing, looking fresh and colorful. For looks, at least, I’d found the healthy fast food jackpot.
Taste: The chicken in Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad is the same breaded chicken breast used in Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Spicy, in this case, means an abundance of black pepper. The vegetables were firm, crisp and seemed same-day fresh. Sweet tomatoes, creamy Asiago cheese and Parmesan Caesar dressing nicely balanced the peppery taste of the chicken. Grilled chicken – a much better choice for healthy fast food – is available, and if I’d known that when I ordered, I would have asked for it.
Croutons: I loved Wendy’s croutons! They were light, crisp and well-flavored. Not too oily, not crumbly or mealy, and no stale off-taste like I sometimes get with McDonald’s croutons. I’ll be honest here – I saved the croutons for last and ate them like a dessert. If healthy fast food tastes this good, I’m all for it.
Dressing: Wendy’s half size Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad comes with one packet of dressing, which is more than enough for the size of the salad. I used less than half of it. The flavor was intense, a bit too sour but fairly well balanced by creamy Parmesan.
Cost: $4.99 in a combo that includes a half-size salad and a fountain beverage.
Overall: 4 stars out of 5. There is such a thing as healthy fast food! Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad exceeded my expectations. I would order it again, though next time I think I’ll try Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad or the Baja Salad. Portion size was good, and if I’d ordered the full size, I’d have taken leftovers home. Good for low-calorie diets (go easy on the dressing), and for low-carb diets (go easy on the croutons). Price point seemed a bit high for what you get, but the quality was superb. This was a definite “win” for Wendy’s. We picked Wendy’s because the rest of the family wanted Frostys. Now, however, I’ll head to Wendy’s whenever I want a healthy fast food lunch.
Here’s the thing – healthy fast food has to taste good or people won’t eat it. Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad tastes great, and I didn’t even miss my burger. I was also surprised at how instantly the calorie content on the menu changed my food selection. Making healthy fast food choices is a lot easier when you can see just how awful that double bacon cheeseburger really is. Hopefully, this bodes well for the overall health and waistline of the American consumer.