Salad…whether you love it or hate it, you need to be aware that salad is not always a nutritious and healthy option. Don’t get me wrong, I love salads and eat them all the time. They can be good for you but, depending on what you put in and on them, salads can also be overloaded with fat, sodium, and calories. You need to be especially aware and savvy when ordering salads in restaurants or eating out.
Here are the top three things that can make your salad more fattening than a cheeseburger with french fries:
1. Salad dressing:
Bottled salad dressings have a huge list of ingredients which you probably can’t pronounce. All of these additives and preservatives are not healthy, and salad dressings often contain lots of fat, sodium and sugar. At the least, get your dressing on the side and dip before you bite – don’t just pour it on. Your healthiest option is to make your own salad dressing. Try olive oil and vinegar with a little bit of lemon, it’s surprisingly good!
2. High-fat toppings:
Some of the top culprits are cheese, bacon bits, croutons, and honey-glazed or candied nuts. A little bit of healthy fat – such as avocado, natural, unsalted nuts, and olive oil – is OK, but watch your portion size. Also, fried chicken or fatty meats are going to drastically increase the calorie and fat content of your salad.
3. Restaurants & eating out:
I am shocked at the high amount of fat and calories in most restaurant salads. Sadly, people often think they are eating “healthy” by choosing a salad, and then give themselves license to eat dessert or other goodies throughout the day. In reality, there may be more calories and fat in your salad than there would be in a regular meal. I’m not picking on any one restaurant in particular, because this is true most places you go. You must look at the nutrition facts so you know exactly what you’re putting in your mouth. Some of the figures I’ve seen:
Caesar Salad: 1,010 calories and 76g fat
Fried Chicken Salad: 689 calories and 50g fat
Goats Cheese Salad: 780 calories and 40g fat