People see the word salad and immediately think "healthy, light, easy to digest, weight loss, etc". It seems that if you add the word salad to anything it makes it sound more healthy. In many cases you are right, a salad is a great combination of protein, vitamins and fibers, but while many salads start off healthy many end up unhealthy. I often encounter people who are so keen on having a 'healthy salad' and I have often said "You might as well go have a burger".
I am not saying salads should be limited to cucumbers, tomatoes and a zest of lemon, but the toppings you choose play a big role in how healthy or unhealthy your salad will be.
So what should you add and what should you skip:
1. SKIP Shredded cheeses: It absolutely breaks my heart to say this and despite it being a great source of protein and calcium, but full fat varieties are high in saturated fats and calories. A half-cup of shredded cheddar cheese contains about 18g of fat and 225 calories and it can be deceiving to portion out pre-shredded cheese.
2. SKIP Crisp noodles: Adding those crispy noodles to your salad will give it a nice Asian-inspired crunch. The downside? They pack about 130 calories, 5g of fat, and more than 200mg of sodium per half cup serving.Water chestnuts are a much healthier way to get the crunch you want. The same serving of water chestnuts contains no fat, only 35 calories, and less than 10mg of sodium, while adding 2g bonus of fiber! Just saying!
3. SKIP Breaded chicken: a 3-ounce serving of skinless chicken breast provides more than 20g of lean protein. Order it breaded and fried, though, and you might as well order a deluxe cheeseburger and fries. Make that chicken breast grilled, and you’ll automatically trim 100 calories and more than 20g of fat. For extra flavor and virtually no fat, marinade your chicken in zesty blend of citrus, herbs and seasonings.
4. SKIP Dried fruits: Bits of fruit can add plenty of tang and crunch to your salad, but choose your fruit wisely. Dried cranberries for example seem healthy, but guess again. A serving of dried, sugar-sweetened cranberries is merely one-third of a cup, and with that you get 130 calories and over 30g of carbohydrates (the equivalent of 2 slices of white bread)! A smarter way to go: Chop up a whole medium-size green apple for bursts of sweet, fruity flavor and only 80 calories.
Finally, avoid having a creamy and rich salad dressing as they are also high in calories and fats, 1 tablespoon of ranch dressing is 73 calories and 8 grams of fat, whereas a vinaigrette dressing has only 43 calories and 4 grams of fat.
P.S: If you consider a McDonald's salad healthy this isn't for you, please go ahead and do have a burger.
Happy Healthy Living,
The Gymcess x