Nowadays most people hear the word “salad” and instinctively associate it with being healthy. Typically, a salad is meant to be low in calories and fats while high in nutritional value. However, adding a few of these deceptive ingredients can turn a healthy, nutritious salad into a health disaster.
Croutons and Bacon Bits- Croutons and bacon bits add no nutritional value to a salad, only hundreds of excess calories. A half cup of croutons has about 100 calories while a serving of bacon bits piles on 9g of fat. If you want to add some crunch and texture to your salad, add some almonds or chopped walnuts for healthy fats and fiber.
Iceberg Lettuce- Beyond acting as a source of water, iceberg lettuce has no nutritional value whatsoever. Instead incorporate darker greens into your salad like spinach, kale, and basil leaves. A general rule of thumb is the darker the green, the richer it is in foliates, vitamins and minerals.
Too Much Cheese- Although a great source of calcium and protein, cheese can be detrimental to your healthy weight loss goals. American cheese in particular is packed with 10g of fat per ounce and is heavily processed. As an alternative, try softer cheeses like feta or mozzarella which only contain about 5g of fat per ounce.
Fried or Processed Meats- Throwing a few strips of fried chicken on your salad will instantly turn it into a health nightmare. Processed and fried meats contain a lot of excess fat and calories that negate any nutritional benefits the salad provides. Try adding some home cooked chicken breast slices instead for added protein without the fat.
Dressing- Salad dressings are typically high in calories so it’s important to manage your portion size. A standard serving of salad dressing is merely two tablespoons, but this can pack on a whopping 200 calories. Rather than resorting to a high-calorie dressing, squeeze a fresh lemon or lime on your salad.
So remember, if you want a heart healthy salad you must pay attention to what you put in it. With a little research and self-control, you can have a nutritious salad that still tastes amazing too.