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Salad Science

By ordering a salad you may not be eating healthy. As many salads may start out healthy, they often wind up almost anything but. Potato salad, caesar salad, taco salad, macaroni salad, bacon-ranch salad and the list goes on. Most of these salads have more calories, unhealthy fats, sodium and sugar than many of their fast-food counterparts. When making or ordering a salad, avoid these different toppings, which can easily turn a healthy bowl of greens into a calorific disaster.⁠

Try to avoid the following:⁠

Creamy dressings: Ranch dressing is 140 calories per two tablespoons. Not only are these dressings loaded in unhealthy fats, but they also have high levels of sodium and very little nutritional value.⁠

Try this: Stick to olive oil-based vinaigrettes. Try making your own creamy dressings with Greek yogurt and your choice of herbs and seasonings.

Glazed nuts or candied nuts: Nuts are healthy fats and a good addition, but not if they are kettle-cooked and glazed with sugar.⁠

Try this: Stick to dry-roasted or raw nuts to save on calories and sugar. Also don’t overdo the nuts. An ounce of nuts still has roughly 200 calories, so use in moderation.⁠

Excess cheese: Cheese isn’t all bad. It can have healthy fats and protein, but when some people add cheese to a salad, they really pile it on, and that’s why it’s on the list. Also stick to a grass-fed, natural cheese.⁠

Try this: Measure out one ounce of cheese or less. Healthy options are feta, goats, parmesan, cottage and fresh mozzarella.

Dried fruit: These are loaded in sugar with a 1/4 cup of raisins hosting 130 calories, with 29 grams coming from sugar.⁠

Try this: If adding fruit, choose fresh fruit. Better options would be any variety of berries as they are lower in sugar than many other fruits.

Crunchy tortilla chips, shells or croutons: These are essentially just buttered and fried breads which are loaded with excess unhealthy fats and calories. The Quesedilla Explosion salad at chili’s, which has tortilla chips contains about 1,360 calories with 88 grams of fat.⁠

Try this: If you’re looking for a little crunch, stick with an ounce of plain nuts.

By Rachel Scheer

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