How healthy is your salad?

Salads are healthy right? Of course!

However, what you put in and on top of your salad predicts the out come of if it’s healthy or not.  This morning I read an article about the 7 worst salad offenders out there and thought you – my readers – would enjoy hearing about it.  So I summed up the article for you! 

Check out the worst 7 salad toppings out there:

1) Creamy Dressings
These are probably the worst dressings you can choose. Take ranch dressing, for example, one serving of two tablespoons has 140 calories — and 130 of those calories are coming from FAT. Other dressings like blue cheese, Caesar, parmesan, or chipotle all fall under this category of dressings to avoid. Not only are they loaded with fat, but they also have high levels of sodium and very little nutritional value.

Healthy Alternative: Stick to vinaigrettes — however, you need to be careful because these can also be high in salt content too.  I would recommend using a little olive oil with balsamic vinaigrette for your salads.  Now, are you still wanting, needing, can’t stop thinking about the yummy salad dressing you’re used too?  Have it – but not a lot.  Put some on the side and dip the tip of your fork into the dressing before you put it in the salad. 

2) Glazed Nuts
Nuts are a great addition to your salads – they are a perfect source of healthy fats.  But stay clear of nuts that have been kettle-cooked and glazed with sugar.  So many companies sell glazed walnuts and pecans and so many of you think they’re still okay to eat.  Stores and restaurants prepare salads to go and they include glazed walnuts and pecans sprinkled on top. that is, until they’re kettle-cooked and glazed with sugar. 

Healthy Alternative: Stick to dry-roasted nuts to save on calories. I like to add sliced almonds to my salads, but chopped pistachios, pecans, and walnuts are a good addition too. Remember to not go overboard.  An ounce will do.

3) Crunchy Tortilla Chips or Shells
Wherever Mexican food is sold, people always order something like a “Southwestern Salad” thinking that they’re making the healthier choice by not ordering tacos or other Mexican dishes. They couldn’t be more wrong! These salads are loaded with cheese, creamy dressings, and high-calorie tortilla chips — or worse — served in a tortilla bowl!! So please, just stay far away from these kinds of salads, and especially tortilla chips or shells, from now on.

Healthy Alternative: You can still order a Mexican-inspired salad, just make some modifications. Request balsamic dressing on the side instead of ranch and hold the tortilla chips and cheese, but keep the rest of the healthy goodies like black beans, corn, and tomatoes.

4) Fried Chicken or Shrimp
I always enjoy a serving of protein in my salads, and encourage you to do the same, but steer clear of anything fried. Adding anything fried to your salad just adds unnecessary calories and tons of sodium. It’s not just fried chicken I’m referring to here — this covers fried onions and fried seafood too… well really, anything fried!!  Adding these will turn your salad into one salad that would have the same amount of calories that you should consume in a day – I’m serious. Wouldn’t you rather save your calories for say… dessert? Oh please don’t make me go into healthy desserts! Haha!

Healthy Alternative: If you’re going to add some protein to your salad, choose grilled items only. Consider healthier protein options like shrimp, tuna, eggs, or a veggie burger.

5) Cheese
First let me clarify, cheese isn’t ALL bad. Daily servings of dairy products can boost your body’s fat-burning potential. Studies have shown that dairy-rich diets may help weight loss and the body’s ability to burn fat. Yet when some people add cheese to a salad, they really pile it on — and that’s why it’s on this list. But some cheeses are more nutritional than others, and there are HEALTHY ways to add them to your salad.

Healthy Alternative: Feta is a great choice for salads because it is lower in fat and calories than most cheeses.  If you really need cheese on a salad, buy the “Laughing Cow” cheese triangles and have one.  This helps with portion control.  However, in my opinion, you just don’t need the cheese!!

6) “Craisins”
Craisins, or dried cranberries, are a fruit, so that means they’re good for you, right? Well, not exactly. I know these are a popular item to add onto a salad, and many pre-prepared salads in stores like Walmart and Metro have these ingredients as a topping. But really, they have more sugar than you may realize. Craisins and raisins, are called “nature’s candy” for a reason! Though they are fat-free and relatively low calorie at 130 for a ¼ cup — they’re full of sugar — 29 grams to be exact.

Healthy Alternative: If you can’t give ’em up, I suggest counting them out and only adding 10 or so to your salad. Otherwise, why not add other seasonal fruits to sweeten up your salads? My favourite is adding a mix of diced apple with almonds!! It’s tasty – try it!

7) Croutons
Croutons are an easy way to ruin your salad by adding refined carbohydrates. Croutons from a popular brand are about 30 calories for just six pieces. Do most people put only six croutons on their salad? Not likely. These toppings can also have high sodium levels depending on how they’re prepared.

Healthy Alternative: There is no alternative – you do not need bread put on a salad, simple as that.

Hope you benefited from reading this and I hope you are enjoying your long weekend!!

Danielle

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