You’d think that a salad at mealtime is a pretty virtuous choice, right? While a salad can be a great option for lunch or dinner, you have to be careful with some of the ingredients that go into a salad. Many of them are perfect choices, including veggies, lean protein and beans. However, some salad add-ins are too high in fat and calories to be a good option. Avoid these at all times so you can eat your salad without any guilt at all.
1. You Never Want to Douse Your Salad in Creamy Dressings
The creamier a dressing, the more fat you can assume it has. Why? Because these types of dressings are made with mayo, cream, full-fat milk and other salad downfalls. You don’t have to forgo the dressing altogether, but you’ll be better off choosing a vinaigrette because it will be lower in fat and calories. Stick to just a tablespoon or two to keep things under control.
2. Tortilla Chips Will Ruin a Salad
Tortilla strips are a common ingredient on Tex Mex and taco salads, but they are basically fried tortillas, so you know they contain more fat and calories than is healthy. The same goes for a salad served in a huge fried tortilla bowl. Skip the fried stuff and load up on the veggies and beans instead. You won’t even miss the crispy tortillas.
3. You Want to Skip the Full Fat Cheese
Traditional cheese is high in fat and calories and eating too much of it on your salads can quickly turn them into a less than healthy meal choice. You can still enjoy cheese, but opt for the low-fat versions and keep it to an ounce or two. This allows you enjoy the delicious flavor of cheese without having to feel guilty later.
4. Glazed Nuts Are a No-No
Many salads come topped with candied pecans or walnuts. While they do add a pleasant sweetness and a satisfying crunch to your salad, they are full of fat and calories so you probably want to skip them unless you’re having a cheat day. That being said, you can sprinkle on a small amount of plain roasted nuts to satisfy a craving.
5. Say “No” to the Croutons
Croutons are simply deep fried chunks of bread so you know they aren’t something healthy to toss into your salad. Most croutons are made with white bread, which means you’ll also be getting a load of refined carbs too. If you need something crunchy on your salad, try bell pepper strips or slices radishes. You get the texture you crave without the guilt that goes with it.
6. Stay Away from Dried Fruits of Any Kind
Dried fruit is loaded with sugar, even if it still is fruit. Skip the dried cranberries, raisins and other dried fruit in your salad and you’ll save yourself tons of grams of sugar and a load of calories. If you want that fruity sweetness on your salad, have sliced strawberries or mandarin oranges instead. Yum!
7. Fried Meats Are a Bad Idea
Meat is a good option for a salad because it’s loaded with protein. However, experts say you should be choosing grilled chicken breast, smoked salmon or lean sliced steak because you’ll get the protein and other nutrients without all the fat and calories in fried chicken or shrimp.
How do you keep your salad healthy? What are your favorite ingredients?