Believe it or not, food is either real or it's not. So even the Baconator is real.
But we get the idea: real food. Good ingredients, food that you want to eat.
The breakdown of ingredients doesn't come from a normal fast food setup: besides iceberg and romaine, we have "Baby Lettuces (red & green Romaine, red & green oak, red & green leaf, lolla Rosa, tango), Spinach, Mizuna Arugula, Tatsoi, Red Chard, Green Chard" in the salads.
And Wendy's hired fine dining chef Rick Tramonto to promote the salads.
The fat content is rather consistent, not just for fast food places but fast food salads as well. Anyone who has followed the fast food restaurant industry knows that salads come at a price: too much sugar and fat.
Now we have criticized the obsession with reducing fat to the point where you avoid fat at other costs. But the salads go to the other extreme — putting in too much fat.
Apple Pecan Chicken – 580 calories, 27 grams of fat, 1,590 milligrams of sodium
BLT Cobb – 670 calories, 47 g fat, 1,920 mg sodium
Baja– 740 calories, 47 g fat, 1,990 mg sodium
Spicy Chicken Caesar – 740 calories, 49 g fat, 1,860 mg sodium
Each salad exceeds the 1,500 mg maximum allotment for sodium. And these figures don't count the dressing.
In the ad I saw for the new salads — spotlighting the Apple Pecan Chicken, the guy says the salads have "real juicy chicken, real crunchy pecans" with an "all natural pomegranate vinaigrette" dressing.
Sounds good, though if you have to say "real" food — either you weren't serving real before or you're implying your competitors aren't serving real food.
But let's take a peek behind the "real food" in the salads at Wendy's.
Those pecans are roasted, surprised they didn't mention that. But the second ingredient in the pecans is SUGAR. The second ingredient (behind water) in the all-natural pomegranate vinaigrette is SUGAR. The dried cranberries in the salad has a second ingredient of SUGAR.
In a salad with apples and cranberries — plenty of natural sugar — the extra sugar is unneeded for taste and only adds calories. As the announcer points out, "That's a sweet apple." According to the other ingredients in the salad, the apple isn't sweet enough.
Wonder if Tramonto knows about the dominance of sugar in these salads. And of the four salads, the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad is the healthiest, relatively speaking.
For the nicer ingredients, you will pay a nicer price. Well, nicer for Wendy's. And as for fat content, you're a lot closer to the Baconator than you might think.
As long as you know about the extra fat and sugar, you could include these salads into your eating plan. But buying the salads as a "healthy" alternative at a fast food restaurant needs an asterisk or two.