Salads are simple and quick to make as a main entrée, side entrée or a snack for busy individuals or families. Salads can be a part of a nutritious meal plan depending on the serving size and ingredients.
Here are a few ways you may be ruining your salads and sabotaging your health:
1. Using cream-based salad dressing such as thousand island, blue cheese ranch, and buttermilk salad dressings. These salad dressings are high in saturated fats, sugar and calories. Switch to oil-based salad dressings like vinaigrettes or make your own with a little Dijon mustard, olive oil, wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
2. Adding a serving of protein to your salad is highly recommended by this registered dietitian nutritionist but stay from fried chicken or fried shrimp. Fried foods are loaded with sodium, fat, and calories. Healthier protein alternatives are grilled chicken, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, and beans.
3. Nuts are healthy fats high in fiber and protein that add a little crunch to your salad. You want to avoid sugar-coated or glazed nuts that will add way too many calories. Grab a handful of unsalted roasted pecans, walnuts, cashews, peanuts and almonds and sprinkle over your salad.
This colorful salad is packed with vital nutrients…walnuts, blueberries and veggies.
4. If you’re in a Mexican restaurant and you think ordering the “southwestern salad bowl” with or without the tortilla shell is a healthier option think again. These salads are loaded with cheese, creamy dressings, and tortillas chips. Moe’s Southwest Grill Crispy Salad Bowl can quickly reach over 1,000 calories and 56 grams of fat with all the ingredients you can choose from. If you’re on a 2,000 calorie-a-day meal plan this is half your calorie intake and most of your fat intake for the entire day! Forget the tortilla bowl, tortilla chips, creamy dressing, and cheese and choose healthier ingredients like vinaigrette dressing, black beans, and grilled vegetables.
5. Dried fruit is fruit so I can fill up my salad with these sweet treats, right? Well, not so fast. Dried fruit like craisins and raisins can increase your fiber and nutrient intake however these fruit are also high in sugar and calories. Just ¼ cup of raisins has 29 grams of total carbohydrate and 108 calories. That’s 7.25 teaspoons of sugar! If you insist on adding something sweet to your salad fresh strawberries and blueberries are full of antioxidants and add a burst of color.
Can you think of other ways you can ruin your salad? I would like to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.