Salads often have a “health halo effect”, making it possible to consume way more calories and fat than you realize. A genuinely nutritious salad requires the right toppings to earn the title. Find out if your salad add-ins are accidentally sabotaging your weight loss efforts and health goals.
As tasty as ranch, Caesar, and blue cheese dressings are, they aren’t serving much of a purpose in terms of nutrition. Loaded with sodium, calories, and fat, these are the worst offenders. Instead, opt for some oil and balsamic vinaigrette to keep your salad on the healthy side.
Croutons and Tortilla Chips
While crispy additions to your salad may sound like a great idea, they don’t do you any favours in the nutrition department. Along with providing empty carbs, salt, and fat, they also pack a lot of calories for a very small portion, making it easy to tack on hundreds of extra calories without realizing it.
If you have the option of grilled or breaded meat, opt for the grilled kind to save on calories and fat. The breading adds unnecessary carbohydrates and the frying process just adds extra grease to your lunch.
Too Much Cheese
Cheese, in moderation, provides the vitamins and protein you need to stay healthy and fuel your muscles. Unfortunately, the cheese servings at a lot of salad chains are often out of hand, and certain types of cheese, like cheddar, are higher in calories and more fattening than feta or Parmesan.
Another food that has a health halo around it, raisins, dried cranberries, and dried apricots often sounds like a good idea because they are made of real fruit. Unfortunately, they are also calorie dense and loaded with sugar, offering little to no benefits in exchange. Skip these toppings next time and opt for fresh fruit instead to get your daily dose of vitamins and fibre.
While it’s easy to see the appeal of bacon bits when it comes to building a delicious salad, it’s hard to forgive the sodium and fat that goes hand-in-hand with this topping. If you’re longing for a smoky flavour in your lunch, you can ask for low-sodium smoked turkey instead. If its crunch that you’re after, ask for a few slivered almonds, chopped apples, or pumpkin seeds instead.
Nuts are already very calorie dense to begin with, and candied nuts take those calories to new heights. Since they are candied, they are also high in sugars, taking your otherwise nutritious salad and turning it into a candy bar. If you want the crunch and protein that comes from nuts, simply ask for plain, non-candied, non-roasted almonds or walnuts.
Source: Doctor Oz