When you order a salad at a restaurant, you get the impression that you are making a healthier choice. This is why it is shocking for many people to realize that their salads might actually be higher in calories, fat, and or sugar than some of the other “bad” menu items! Whether you are trying to eat healthier, add in more vegetables, or you just really enjoy a good salad, there are a few ways to make sure you don’t blow the top off your healthy eating for the day by making a few adjustments to your salads.
First, mind the toppings. Salads are usually a base of vegetables and lettuce — all of which are very high in vitamins and minerals and low in calories. When you add things to your salads like the dressings, chicken strips, candied nuts or dried fruit and fried tortilla strips, you are adding a lot of calories, fat and sugar to an otherwise healthy dish. If you want these things on your salad, that’s fine, but make the appropriate adjustments to the rest of your eating that day!
Second, add in more variety to your vegetables. Iceberg lettuce is a common salad base, so try to add in vegetables with a little more variety. Look for darker, more colorful lettuce blends and add some spice into your salads with peppery vegetables and lettuces.
Finally, ask for your dressing on the side. Dressing is often what takes a salad from a healthy dish to a not-so-healthy option. When you get your dressing on the side, you have more control over the amount that you add and will most likely find that you don’t need as much.