A lot of people assume that anything with “salad” in the name is healthy, nutritious, and diet-friendly. While there are plenty of healthy salad recipes on the market, not all salads are created equal. In fact, there are a number of not-so-healthy salads out there that you may want to avoid if you’re counting calories and trying to stay fit. Let’s take a closer look at this controversial food item so you can make sure you are eating the right type of salad for your dietary goals.
What Is A “Salad”?
In America, we traditionally associate the term “salad” with a bowl of lettuce, topped with dressing, croutons, fruits, nuts, or other vegetables. However, a “salad” is any food item that consists of small pieces of food mixed with dressing, sauce, or similar covering. Good examples of other types of salads include macaroni salad, potato salad, and fruit salad. Most of these do not have the same nutritional benefits of a common green salad.
Not-So-Healthy Salad Ingredients To Watch For
Here are some common salad ingredients that won’t do your waistline any good:
- Heavy Salad Dressings (Ranch is a prime example – check the calories!)
- Mayonnaise (Used as a base in many non-lettuce salads and heavy salad dressings)
- Bacon Pieces
- Breaded Chicken
Considering the options above, a traditional Cobb Salad is far from a healthy food option, even if it looks healthy on the surface. This is what you have to watch out for when you determine what you want to eat. The green leafs in the background don’t necessarily indicate that it’s a good mean for you.
Healthy Alternatives To Unhealthy Salad Ingredients
Want to indulge in a tasty salad without filling your body with hard-to-burn calories? Check out these healthy alternative salad ingredients:
- Nuts (Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios add crunch and protein to a salad without the high-calorie impact of bread)
- Pretzels (Great if you need to add a salty taste to your salad)
- Vinaigrettes (Try making your own. It’s easy!)
- Dried Fruits (Raisins, dried cranberries, etc.)
- Low Calorie Cheeses (Opt for Parmesan instead of cheddar, bleu cheese instead of mozzarella)
- Grilled Chicken
Test out different combinations of ingredients to get unique flavors from every meal. That’s the best part about making a salad – you can add whatever you want!
For more inspiration, check out these amazing salad recipes from Healthy Fitness Meals to boost your energy levels, trim down your belly, and please your taste buds all at once!